Melinda Tran

Melinda Tran

Shortly after graduating, Melinda Tran was confronted with a decision most alumni must face at some point in their nascent careers – where do I go from here?

Tran was sure she wanted to work in the field of marketing but was admittedly not sure what that entailed. With a sister living in the San Francisco area, she decided to take a chance and relocate to the West Coast in order to kickstart her career.

“If I didn’t take that big leap of faith, I don’t think I would be where I am today,” Tran explained.

Where she is today, specifically, is at Facebook. Based in Silicon Valley, she works in content marketing, specializing in media partnerships. “I work closely with external media partners to help them develop audiences on our platforms,” she said.

Tran originally began her career as a media strategist in traditional media in the San Diego area before moving into digital media. “I worked on television buying at an advertising agency in order to learn the ropes,” she explained. “I then moved over to digital media because I saw that was where the industry was moving.”

Initially working on product marketing, branding, and voice, Tran found her niche when her work began to coincide with her interests, specifically that of entertainment culture.

“I get to work with live sports, award shows, and serialized shows on Facebook Watch” she said. “I am involved with shaping the current cultural conversation around social video.”

In order to shape said conversation, Tran utilizes the data analysis skills she honed as a marketing student. “Day-to-day data analysis is a large part of what drives marketing,” she explained. “The difficult part is looking at the data and being able to turn it into a story in order to bring about meaningful decisions.”

Among the most meaningful decisions made by Tran was one made early in her education at Virginia Tech. “Initially I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school,” she explained. “I was originally a biology major and I wanted to go to med school.

“Unfortunately, I found that chemistry was much more challenging than I remembered it being in high school.”

She tried studying economics, then business information technology, but nothing seemed to fit. Tran stated that she had always had an interest in marketing, but she needed to convince her parents that the switch would be in her best interests.

Essentially, she needed to market marketing. In doing so, she discovered that she was a natural.

“Once I started studying marketing at the end of my sophomore year, I found that I was much happier, and everything finally clicked.”

That happiness has extended to her profession. Tran says that she’s not sure what the next step in her career path will be, as she is too focused on enjoying what she’s doing right now. “It’s hard to say where my career will take me,” she said.

“My current role didn’t even exist a few years ago.”

Written by Jeremy Norman