COMM alumna excels in career thanks to IMC degree

Ashley Hanania
Ashley Hanania

Florida State University School of Communication alumna Ashley Hanania credits the Integrated Marketing Communication program and its graduate certificate in project management for the success she’s found as an associate director at MECLABS, a research lab focused on helping business leaders get better use out of sales and marketing technology and resources.

“Looking back, had it not been for the IMC program, I wholeheartedly believe that I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Hanania said.

When entering FSU as an undergraduate, Hanania didn’t have a clear direction of what her career would look like. She thought marketing and the College of Business would provide a realm of opportunities.

“A marketing focus was broad enough that I didn’t have to feel pigeonholed and I was able to be creative as well,” she said.

With a solid foundation in place with her undergraduate degree, she began to research graduate opportunities, including the School of Communications’s IMC graduate program. She was immediately impressed by the support CCI offered.

“When I was looking into the program, I spoke to the associate dean and I spoke to the professors and really got a sense of what the program offered,” Hanania said. “And just the mere fact that these individuals, who are very busy day to day, would take the time to meet with someone who hadn’t even applied yet was really telling of how they would be throughout your program, and to that note, I saw that throughout the program no matter what it was.”

Hanania also appreciated how versatile the program was, allowing students to be as broad or narrow in their studies as they wanted with the various tracks offered.

“If it hadn’t been for that broad sense of knowledge of what the opportunities were as well as the opportunity to dive deeper into the one I chose, I couldn’t imagine knowing that I had a skill in project management and knowing I had a skill in account planning, like I do know, if it hadn’t been for that experience,” she explained.

With the project management certificate, Hanania saw the possibility to gain specific skill sets she could apply at any organization.

At MECLABS, she has put those talents to good use managing more than 15 people working 15 to 20 projects at any given time for a Fortune 50 company.

“I would have to credit the project management certificate, and going through that program at Florida State, to where I’m at today, because those were key skills as I was managing individual projects throughout the last three years here,” Hanania said.

In three years, Hanania has moved up quickly at MECLABS, starting as a research analyst, then working as a research manager and a senior manager, before being promoted to her current position as the associate director of services operations.

While Hanania doesn’t manage each individual project at this point of career, she must teach others the skills she gained at FSU, such as “being able to juggle multiple projects, foreseeing where there are going to be bottlenecks in the process, and adjusting accordingly.”

Hanania said the transition from IMC to MECLABS was easy, as the opportunity to learn about various areas carried over from one to the other.

“What MECLABS offered was a unique style to how they conduct business, given a research institute paired with data, paired with creativity, and then validated through testing,” Hanania said. “Coming to the interview and seeing how it all kind of meshed and paired together, it was almost like a duplication of the IMC program in a way because you get little tidbits of everything in the program and that same sort of idea was showcased here at MECLABS. I didn’t have to be perfect at the data analysis piece, I just need to have the skills to learn how to apply and to think through the eyes of the customer.”

MECLABS is currently looking for candidates with a capacity to grow, explore, question and change things. If you’re interested joining the team, check out MECLABS’ job openings.