MA Innovation Management Alumni

Katerina Symiakaki

Katerina graduated from MA Innovation Management in 2000. For the last two years she has been working at Chivas Brothers, Pernod Ricard Group as Marketing Manager, Innovation.

What did you do before coming to CSM to study this course?

Before coming to CSM I was working in Marketing in Athens for 7 years, focusing on branding, marketing management and advertising for coffee brands. I had been working on 360 marketing (advertising, PR, packaging, promotions etc) and I was ready for a new challenge. I found MA Innovation management an interesting course that was completely new.

In your experience, what was the best thing about the course?

The best thing about the course is that has given me a new perspective of the world through meeting new people from different backgrounds. The multidisciplinary nature of the course that brings such a diverse pool of people together, has offered me a unique opportunity to think outside of the box. At the same time I got the opportunity to expand my knowledge and start a career in innovation.

What would you say your biggest personal achievement as an MA Innovation Management student?

My biggest achievement as a MA IM student was developing my ability to manage uncertainty. Before the course I was working in Brand Management in large organisations where everything was well structured and planned. During the course, as we were given various project briefs, I often felt we were 'shooting in the dark' and had to find our own way around defining the scope of the projects, before even thinking about a solution. That was somewhat scary at the beginning but exciting as the course moved on. Experimenting with managing uncertainty was definitely a very useful skill to develop in anticipation of my future career.

What do you do in your current job? Please could you describe your work?

Pernod Ricard is one of the biggest spirits companies globally and Chivas Brothers is the brand owner for whiskies and gins. I am a Marketing Manager Innovation for Ballantine's whisky and my team's key responsibility is to develop new products that recruit new consumers, and revitalising the brand. That involves starting from a white piece of paper, developing an all-inclusive marketing campaign and ending with a successful product launch. At the same time, my team and I are responsible for creating experiential innovation concepts for our consumers that further engage them with Ballantine's. 

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I really enjoy the fact that my job is very creative and I can come up with crazy ideas and have the space to make them happen! 

In what ways does your experience of MA Innovation Management help you in your work now? 

The MAIM course has opened up the doors of innovation in marketing which, for me, is really fascinating!