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Spotlight on: Lucy Cao, T'18

September 17, 2018 | By Sabrina Hao and Cole Zaharris

Lucy Cao is a Marketing Analyst at Applied Predictive Technologies, a Mastercard company. As a Marketing Analyst, she is responsible for helping develop go-to-market solutions for Mastercard’s business software, service, and data solutions.  She works to expand the relationships and the value add of Mastercard’s solutions through lead generation, industry expertise, and brand building, primarily in the media and travel verticals. Prior to that, during her sophomore and junior summers at Duke, she interned at Ogilvy & Mather and McKinney as an Account Management intern. A young alumna, Lucy graduated from Duke University in 2018 with a Bachelors in Psychology and Economics and a Certificate in Markets & Management Studies (MMS). Interested in consumer psychology, as an undergraduate, she completed research at Fuqua in at the Marketing Behavioral Lab. In addition, Lucy was the CMO of Duke University Union and involved in the MMS Steering Committee, Duke Marketing Club, and the Standard, in addition to many other organizations. She currently serves as the BOW alumni ambassador for Washington D.C.

LucyCao

Why did you decide to join BOW, and how has it influenced your career trajectory?

At Duke, I really wanted to find a community of strong, ambitious women who shared similar interests in business.  BOW seemed to be the perfect fit for that, and I really owe a lot of my pre-professional development to BOW. Getting exposure to C-suite level executives from Fortune 500 companies across all industries at BOW functions not only inspired me, but also opened my mind to new opportunities and career paths I never would have learned about otherwise.

We would love to hear about your interest in behavioral economics. How do you apply your research experience/studies at Duke to your current role?

I studied psychology and economics at Duke, but actually gravitated towards consumer psychology more so than behavioral economics.  I worked in Fuqua’s behavioral research lab for two years, which taught me to ask questions that tie human behavior and choices to revenue and equity.  Funnily enough, now I work for a tech firm that specializes in business experimentation, so I still get to think about variations of those ideas very often.  Having worked in a behavioral lab, I now approach projects and problems at work with the mindset I would use as an experimenter. It’s allowed me to become more analytical in isolating and solving problems.

What drew you to marketing? How did your past internships lead you to your current job?

I was drawn to marketing because it was a field that tied the human experience into business strategy.  I previously interned at two different advertising agencies, McKinney and Ogilvy & Mather, before I landed at my current job.  Working in advertising helped get me really excited about the strategy behind advertising and marketing, because I saw how a client’s strategy manifested itself in a compelling execution, and I wanted to be behind the scenes.  I found my current job in B2B marketing because I wanted to see a different side of marketing and learn in an analytical role.

What is the hardest part of transitioning to being a full-time hire?

One of the more difficult parts of transitioning from college to working full-time is figuring out how to budget your time, which feels a lot more precious now that I’m in the office more often than not.  A big part of that is finding a routine that prioritizes the things you want to do with the things that need to be done, and I’m still figuring out how to order less Postmates and try new recipes.

What advice do you have for members who are trying to choose their majors/courses of study?

Try everything once--even subjects you don’t think you would be interested in.  Then, choose a major that interests and engages you. As long as you feel like you’re working your brain every day and learning new skills and information, what you study in school does not need to determine your future career.  

How has mentorship factored into your career path?

I’ve been lucky enough to have fantastic mentors, who happen to be amazingly successful, intelligent women.  They have guided me not only by inspiring me to work hard and dream big, but also by providing me with honest feedback that allowed me to leverage my strengths and reflect on my weaknesses.  I owe so much of who I am--personally and professionally--to wonderful female mentors. I can’t wait until the day I can return the favor to my own mentees.

What advice do you have for those searching for internships or full-time jobs?

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  It always amazed me how willing everyone I met in the intern and job search process was willing to help me, as long as I reached out and asked, especially Duke alumni.   

List what you like to do in your free time.

Currently, I spend a lot of time exploring D.C., which is where I live now.  I’ve been taking advantage of the great museums in the area. Other than that, I enjoy kickboxing, yoga, running, and reading.