Alumni Spotlight - Coco Chen
Bio: Coco graduated from Duke in 2019 with a BA in Psychology and double minors in Economics and German. Upon graduation, she joined Accenture Strategy in Boston for 1.5 years, then pivoted to Product Marketing at Meta/Facebook in the Bay Area. While at Duke, she interned at Procter & Gamble's Amazon Customer Team, participated in DukeEngage in Seattle, and studied abroad in Berlin. In her free time, she enjoys playing tennis, hiking, and finding the best croissant in the city.
Thinking back, what led you to join BOW?
I joined BOW my sophomore year. Even though I was already part of other business groups that offered great opportunities, I couldn't help but notice the amazing events that BOW hosted. I was also looking to build a strong community that will help me to navigate the professional world as a woman, and BOW was the perfect fit!
What is your coolest accomplishment from Duke?
Graduating without taking a math class. Jokes aside, I was most proud of working with Professor Fitzsimons on my Psychology thesis. I was initially intimidated to reach out to a Business School professor and start a thesis without much prior research experience. After a few rejections and a lot of nagging, I finally found my path in Fitzsimons' lab by working with a PhD student and studying the effect of positive emotions on brands.
What led you to pursue a career at your current firm?
Currently I work at Meta (formerly Facebook) as a Product Marketing Manager (PMM). I had no idea what PMM was, so like most Duke graduates, I started my career in consulting. While at Accenture Strategy, I worked on a project that involves translating customer needs into product development, which made me realize that I feel most fulfilled when I can make direct impacts on a product. Therefore I transitioned to a product-focused role.
What is the most difficult obstacle you have faced in your career?
The most difficult obstacle is learning how to say no. Especially in my earlier career days, I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to prove myself. However, I learned that I need to prioritize my physical and mental wellness, and ruthlessly prioritize my work. When managers or teammates ask me to do something, I ask myself: does this contribute to my development? Is there someone else better suited for this task? Then I will make the evaluation, either take on the opportunity or recommend someone else.
Did BOW experience help you in your career?
Definitely! I made amazing friends through BOW, and learned so much from BOW alumnae through the mentorship calls and speaker events. Most importantly, being part of BOW helped me to build confidence in myself, because I know I always have a reliable and supportive network to lift me up.
What is something interesting you’ve learned along the way?
I learned that influencing is an important skill in the corporate world. Influencing others doesn't mean you have to be the loudest person in the room, but you need to develop empathy by understanding others' goals, finding common grounds, and building collaborations. It's an art and a science - since my audience is often the product team, I find influencing decisions with data-driven stories have been most successful.