In Conversation With Prakriti Sharma, the Regional Winner of Google Online Marketing Challenge

In August 2017, Prakriti Sharma along with her teammates Raghav Shadija, and Ankita Grewal were declared as the Asia-Pacific Regional winners of GOMC (Google Online Marketing Challenge) – a renowned and coveted competition on a worldwide scale. They were felicitated at the Google Offices, in an all-expenses-paid trip to Singapore. We had a quick chat with Prakriti, where she told us the nitty-gritties of competition and her learning experience out of it.

Q1. What are you doing currently?

I graduated from Maitreyi College with a B. Sc in Physical Sciences. I was offered a job through college placements but I resigned within two months. In the meantime, I did freelance projects for clients of different levels in varied domains. I was also offered jobs from CVent, OYO, and other startups, but they didn’t pan out because I felt that I should not rush into another job and be patient. Later, I was offered a job at Gartner for the role of a Marketing Analytics Specialist, which I readily took. Being a fresher, this is the best opportunity I can get.

Q2. How did you come to know about this competition? How did you go about it, whilst managing college?

I got to know about this competition through regular Google surfing. I decided that I wanted to take part in this as I was interested in marketing, despite being a student from the science background. The competition was about Google Adwords, and understandably, it was necessary for us to study extensively. Since I’m very active on LinkedIn, I contacted the previous global winners of the competition and sought advice on how to choose clients and what kind of a business the client should be engaged in. Soon, we developed a strategy according to the finalised client, but because of this, we had to miss internals and classes, something which I was habituated to by then. (laughs)

After submitting a pre-campaign report with the background of the company, we were supposed to run a 21-day campaign on a limited budget. Since the semester exams were coming close, we had to manage exams alongside the campaign. Following an amazing experience of 3 weeks, we had to compile all results in a post-campaign report. It involved mentioning our strategy, weekly reports, results, how much were we able to fulfill, and our learning component out of the competition.

Q3. What was your learning experience from this competition?

I worked with people whom I had never known, and this opportunity was the biggest I’ve ever gotten. Since the platform was Google Adwords, we could not have gotten hands-on experience on it otherwise. We had to work and collaborate with clients and stay within a budget constraint.

It was an amazing experience where I put theory into practical use as I could point out the many loopholes in AdWords by the end of this competition. At the end of the first week’s campaign, we couldn’t fulfill our targets. But, we searched and devised our own optimization tricks and tiny things we would not have noticed otherwise, to get the results to vary drastically. Like this, we discovered many tricks and we finally achieved the desired result by the end, which exceeded our estimations by a huge margin. I’m now able to implement this concept and make sure of the loopholes in my freelancing projects.

Additionally, I’ve learned Facebook PPC and LinkedIn advertising as well, and now I’m involved in company branding. I realised my love for marketing because I tried my hand in so many related activities in my first year in college. Even in my job interviews, I was mainly asked about my role in the competition and the interviewers judged my resourcefulness and interpersonal skills, the campaign problems and how I overcome them.

This also helped me majorly in applying and subsequently getting in b-schools, as I cracked IESE, Spain and was the youngest applicant to clear for their deferred program.

Q4. How did DU help you in this experience?

In DU, I definitely got a lot of exposure in varied activities. I participated in an umpteen number of competitions and grew personally through every opportunity. If you are active, some teachers do support you in the process. I got to represent my college in a Himalayan conclave in the 2nd year,  that was funded by DU. I also founded a society called Vaigyanik in college to bring all the projects of science students under one umbrella. Many teachers questioned and resisted, but there were many at the same time who helped me and supported me despite my absence in classes. This number of opportunities is certainly not available in other universities.

Q5. Do you have any piece of advice for freshers?

Google has scrapped this competition, but AdWords digital training and video courses and certifications are currently available on the GOMC website for free. Many such online marketing and case study competitions keep happening, for which you have to surf on your own, as such provisions are not provided by DU. I would advise students to go for as many startup events, corporate conferences, and case study competitions as possible. It helps immensely if a student is active on LinkedIn and is able to network and connect, as it helps in personal branding and profile building. Summer schools are also a good option, provided the budget is sufficiently available for that. Subscribing to newsletters and websites can assist one’s search for international events and competitions on a global scale. It only helps if students keep an eye out for as many opportunities as possible.

Q6. How was your experience at the Google Office, Singapore?

We were invited to stay at Singapore for a week’s time in January, where we were felicitated with google merchandise and official recognition as the regional winners of GOMC. After the presentation round of our campaign reports and journey as a team, we were acquainted with the Google office and given umpteen office tours. Sessions were held, and we interacted with Google employees who had been working with Google for the past few years. Soon after that, we began with the much-awaited Singapore tour. All in all, It was a brilliant experience to be a part of.


Feature Image Credits: Akarsh Mathur

Interview by Vijeata Balani


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