Alum manages marketing campaigns at MTV

In the last few years, Jaz Nsubuga ’11 has become an expert on the following:

  • Men’s shaving habits,
  • Digital and social marketing campaign strategies,
  • Women’s facial cleaning products,
  • Credit card habits of wealthy people, and
  • Coca Cola, among other things.

As manager of integrated marketing at MTV, Nsubuga knows that the best way to market a company or product is to understand it inside-out. And, as a history and Africana Studies major, that’s the part of her job she loves the most – the research.

Nsubuga was on campus in mid-September for a Career Conversations event with the College of Arts & Sciences Career Development Center, sharing her strategies for networking and career success with students.

Nsubuga is still riding the waves from her latest success, a Coca-Cola campaign she created for MTV’s Fandom Awards and Fest in July that generated buzz with a Tumblr social media effort that brought in 28 million votes. She also designed campaigns for Apple and American Legacy that aired during MTV’s Video Music Awards in August.

She joined MTV in January of this year, after starting out in account management at Grey Advertising and at Digitas and then working with the men’s grooming division of Birchbox.

“I become our team historian,” Nsubuga said of the role she’s played at her various companies. “I always want to know the brand a little better than the clients do.”

This deep knowledge involves hours of reading, researching, scouring the Internet for obscure resources and sorting through mounds of data.

“As an historian, I learned how to be objective about my subject matter so it helps me to understand these various types of consumers and relate my messages to them,” she said. For Grey,Nsubuga actually created an onboarding program to help teach new employees everything they needed to know about men’s shaving – from the pricing strategy for shaving tools in Brazil to why shaving habits are declining in North America to cultural rules about shaving in India.

Her Cornell classes allowed her to “dabble in so many different things,” Nsubuga said. She supplemented her liberal arts education with strong internships.

Nsubuga was also involved in the Teszia Belly Dance troupe and Slope Media, started a group for East African students at Cornell (her parents immigrated from Uganda) and had a campus radio show, Traffic Jam, which featured new music and faculty guests.

“I was an eager beaver and used so many of Cornell’s resources,” she said, from Career Conversation events starting as a freshman, to career fairs and networking lunches. She also connected with alumni in advertising and marketing for numerous informational interviews, prepared with some key questions about their company or specialty. While working with the Cornell Annual Fund, she also met alumni who were willing to give advice.

She landed summer internships in hospitality and non-profit management, then a key internship with the McCann Erickson agency before her junior year, where she worked on campaigns for Kohl’s and Clean & Clear.

“I used my history major as a selling point,” she said. “I’m intellectually curious, I know a lot about global policy and economics, I’m able to do strong analysis and research and I can write a 40-page paper at the drop of a hat.”


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