Mehak is a Senior Product Manager at Amazon in Munich, Germany. She manages the Amazon Dash program, a strategic initiative of the Alexa Smart Home ecosystem, across 5 European countries: Germany, UK, France, Italy and Spain. Mehak is passionate about solving business problems and creating memorable consumer experiences. She concluded her MBA from the National University of Singapore with an exchange semester at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, United States.
QX: Mehak, you describe yourself as an “Innovative Marketer, Strategy Consultant and Analytics Geek” with the career goal “to find the balance between data driven decisions and creative storytelling to have the greatest business impact.” How does that translate into your day-to-day work and life?
Mehak: I think of myself as equally “right-brained” as “left-brained”. In university, I studied Economics and Statistics with English Poetry and Literature. I worked 3 years at Disney, one of the world’s most creative companies, learning the fundamentals of creative storytelling. At Amazon, I dive-deep into big data to find answers to everyday business problems. I started my career as a marketing and communications professional. As I advanced in my career and started solving business problems at an organizational, regional and even global level, strategic consulting became a passion. As a part-poet and part-quant, irrespective of the role, organization or challenge, I focus on the analytics while finding creative ways to make a business impact.
QX: Where are data driven and creative approaches to solve business problems overlapping or mutually reinforcing, and when are they rather conflicting?
Mehak: I have never come across a data analytics challenge that doesn’t need a creative approach for solving. Sometimes it is difficult to obtain the data you need to answer a business problem. At such times, I have taken a creative approach to piece together the various information one has to build an analysis. While poring through millions of rows of data, I have been creative in my methodology to decide where to begin the analysis and where to stop. Lastly, just numbers mean nothing to business leaders. Analysis needs to be interpreted creatively to tell a story.
On the other hand, in pure creative situations, data can sometimes be a hindrance. I have been in situations where data would tell us that a certain product would be definite hit with the customer because similar products have succeeded in the past. This can be an obstacle to experimentation and innovation. The key is to find the balance between data driven decisions and fuelling a culture of innovation.
QX: As a marketing expert, you are continuously pursuing the creation of memorable consumer experiences. What is – from your perspective - the “ideal” consumer experience?
Mehak: According to me, an ideal consumer experience delivers value to a consumer that she wasn’t expecting. Most often consumers have little idea what they want, or what would add value to their everyday lives. An innovative brand anticipates these needs and delivers on them to delight the consumer. Additionally, an ideal consumer experience is consistent across channels, platforms and touchpoints. In today’s day and age, consumers should have the same experience if they are interacting with a brand either online or offline.
QX: You have been living, working and studying in Asia, Europe and the United States. In times of globalisation and digitalization, does the region remain an important variable for consumer experience and branding strategies?
Mehak: That is a tough question to answer. In my career, I have seen social media make the world an extremely small place, even for brands. With a single viral video, a brand can reach a billion people all over the world. Having said that, I have also seen successful brands enter new markets such as India and China and fall flat on their face because they failed to localise. ‘Be Global and Think Local’ is key here. I would encourage brands to keep thinking on a global scale for their core branding strategy and use local influencers and levers to translate the core strategy through tactics at a regional level.
QX: “Kaizen”. What is it about? And how does it affect your personal work and life approach?
Mehak: “Kaizen” is a Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement. I adopted this philosophy almost 10 years ago as a way to become a better version of myself, always. The way it affects me in my personal and professional life is that I constantly seek to improve the way I am doing things or my skillset. After all, the only thing constant is constant change. Usually I set goals for myself – be it learning a new tool, language or life-skill or improving an existing process or methodology.
QX: We had the pleasure to meet you for the very first time at the MBA World Summit 2016 in Miami. What impact did the Summit have for you personally?
Mehak: The MBA World Summit 2016 was a phenomenal experience. I made so many new lovely friends, who I continue to meet all over the world! Additionally, I had the opportunity to conduct a workshop on Marketing 2.0 which was a very enriching experience. The Summit also gave me the opportunity to network with my current employer Amazon!
QX: Next to all the work, how is Mehak spending her off-time typically?
Mehak: During my off-time, I am usually travelling, spending time with my family or writing on my blog www.mehakchadha.com
QX: And what’s on your bucket list for 2017?
Mehak: Nest in Munich and call it my home after living out of a suitcase for 2 years! Learn German :)
QX: Tell us about your personal Vanity?
Mehak: I love nature. I can spend hours staring at stars, swimming in the ocean and climbing snow-capped mountains. I live for good food and good conversation. I constantly seek new culinary experiences and long intellectual discussions about business, life and love.
Thank you for the talk!