Tuesday, May 10, 2016

7:20 AM

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Sharon Markowitz ’04S (MBA)
Global Marketing Lead, Intuit, Inc.

When Sharon Markowitz landed at Intuit, she fully expected to take on the challenge of creating growth strategies for the QuickBooks educational market. What she didn’t know was that in a few years, she’d spend five months in Australia learning how to expand Intuit’s global reach.

“When I started at Intuit, they were shifting from desktop to cloud computing, which required greater sensitivity to customer needs, given the evolution in the industry and the need for relevance,” says Markowitz. “I helped grow our educational business in high schools and colleges, and I needed to understand the drivers of the business.” To that end, she did lean testing with small groups of customers to learn how they intended to use QuickBooks Online, resulting in a marketing strategy that could ultimately scale the business.

Her next challenge was expanding Intuit’s global market into the UK, Canada, Australia, India, and France. “I took a two-pronged approach,” she says. “First, I talked with country managers to understand their perspectives. Then I used LinkedIn to reach out to global marketing managers who were not with Intuit to learn how they marketed globally and to create external references as benchmarks.”

When Markowitz spent time in Australia she learned the differences between Intuit’s “champion” market role in the US and its “challenger” role in Australia. “I was struck by the strong relationships the team built with our customers, given the competitive nature of the market,” she says. “As a small team, they integrated their personal lives into work, which was a balanced approach, and made it easy to walk in their shoes for a bit.”

After earning a finance degree at Boston University, Markowitz worked for a few years in investment banking and at a startup. She believes that time was key in helping her decide why she wanted to go back for an MBA and what she hoped to get out of the Simon program. After earning her MBA, she set her sights on running a business within the confines of a larger company, managing many household brands at Del Monte, Mars, and Safeway.

Markowitz enjoyed the small-school environment of Simon and the easy accessibility to administrators. “With the support of former dean Mark Zupan and alumni relations personnel, I built a team to reinvigorate the Bay Area alumni organization and create a calendar of events that brought record participation,” she says.

Coming from a finance background, Markowitz also valued a fact-based learning approach. She especially liked the real-world, group-based projects required by Sanjog Misra and the theoretical classes taught by Cliff Smith.

“I loved the international culture at Simon and have friends around the world. Over Thanksgiving, I spent time with a former classmate in Peru, where we hiked Machu Picchu. Last year, I did a homestay in Guatemala, practicing Spanish for five hours a day,” she says. “I was an adopted member of the Latin American Student Organization of Simon and continue to enjoy learning about the culture first-hand.”

In her free time, Markowitz uses Duolingo to learn Spanish. She also enjoys getting outdoors and traveling, and is currently seeking to become involved in the homeless issue in the Bay Area.

“I urge students to see their careers as journeys,” she says. “Your first job may not be perfect, but it can be a stepping-stone to move on to the next. I’ve found great success by remaining flexible in fast-changing environments and embracing learning as a lifestyle.”?


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