Transitioning from Marketing to Finance with Fernanda Lopez | Humans of Ladder
Ladder is filled with thousands of students & new grads from all walks of life trying to navigate their careers together. On Humans of Ladder, we highlight a member on the platform each week to share their story and journey.
This week, we chatted with Fernanda Lopez, a Northeastern student and marketing enthusiast, who is an active user of our marketing and sales and finance community!
Give us a little background about yourself
I was born and raised in Mexico and lived there all my life. Growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to do in terms of my career, but knew I was very interested in marketing or design and loved working with people.
For school, I came to Northeastern (NE) to study marketing with a minor in psychology and completed a co-op as a full-stack marketer, where I learned lots about SEO/SEM and bench marketing. After that, I led a startup incubator to help entrepreneurs scale ideas, which then helped me for my second co-op with BounceX. It had to end early because of COVID — I was pretty devastated, but then saw this past summer as an opportunity to do something I’m passionate about, like working with student founders and communities.
When an opportunity at Ladder came to me to do something like this, I was so excited to be a leader of these conversations with the Marketing and Sales Community. I met so many people and even benefited from the Finance community, which helped me land a private equity (PE) job later on!
Backtracking a bit, what got you interested in Marketing and Sales?
I loved how collaborative the people are, and how they’re not afraid to be creative and pitch their ideas to others. The way to attract a new lead or bring out a piece of marketing content is to always learn what are other people doing and how they’re doing it better. I’m personally really passionate about driving value to the end user and understanding how to solve problems people experience on a day to day basis.
What’s a marketing project you worked on that you’re proud of?
I think a lot of my marketing comes from being the Head of Marketing at a non-profit organization called “The Loop Network.” I’ve helped plan events that introduced people into marketing and branding, and through this we got to meet tons of cool influencers and chat about personal branding.
Learning how to market yourself is so important, and is something people don’t prioritize enough. This was always a topic of conversation with other Ladder users — how we can boost each other’s personal brands, and how to authentically highlight the value each person has.
And how do you feel like Ladder has helped you develop your branding?
The community taught me not to be scared about pitching myself to others and to always share opportunities with others.
There’s also something really powerful about being on Ladder, and seeing other students grow their careers. Things feel less intimidating when you know that everyone is working towards gaining more knowledge, and isn’t afraid to jump into new industries. In college they teach us to go into the field we studied and to stay in that field, but at Ladder no one does that.
You also mentioned you joined the Finance community because you wanted to pivot out of Marketing, what sparked that interest?
I knew that after working with lots of student entrepreneurs, I was much more interested in VC and didn’t want to stay on the startup side of things. The company I applied to was specialized in the PE side of things, and I didn’t know a whole lot going into it. I ended up turning to discussions on the Ladder Finance community for help, and felt so much empathy when I saw how other users discussed how you don’t need ton of experience in that field to do well in the career.
Another thing that kept the momentum going for me was, not only were people giving tips on how to understand Finance careers, but also giving tips on interviews, resumes and how to best showcase your skills and ability — this helped me a lot!
After scrolling through these discussions, any that stuck out to you?
Yes! There was one discussion about following up after connecting with someone that changed the game for me.
For the longest time, I thought the whole point of coffee chats was to meet someone and then move on afterwards. But I remember someone on Ladder made a point of how important it is to keep that relationship going. Identifying the people you click with and keeping up with those people are things I never really thought about, but now I realized how important it is to take advantage of that, especially in virtual times.
How did you navigate this transition from Marketing to Finance?
They were very different industries, but when I did a co-op last semester, something I learned was the importance of having transferrable skills, especially soft skills.
A lot of times we put a stronger focus on technical skills, but in reality, the skills that really matter, are things like being a team player, communicating well and having good follow through. It’s a mentality I carried from my Marketing to Finance role, and something that set me apart from others. I definitely felt very challenged at this role, but I knew it was all a part of career growth.
Who were some of your support systems during this transition?
Ladder and NEU WISE were definitely some of them. These communities were ones that helped me talk through imposter syndrome, ones I could be fully transparent with, and ones who were there for me through the ups and downs.
One of the users on Ladder who definitely made an impact on me was Jamie Cho — she was leading the Marketing and Sales Community with me and we still catch up from time to time.
And as someone who’s still growing their career, do you believe your major determines your career?
Not at all! You don’t have to study marketing to get a marketing job and do marketing things, life should be about exploring your passions and combining it with something you’re good at.
Don’t be scared to follow a non-traditional path — just because things have been done a certain way in the past, doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it. Make sure you give yourself a chance to try a lot of things, don’t be married to a single industry or career because as humans we have so much more to offer.
Join Ladder for access to more opportunities to meet amazing students and recent graduates like Fernanda!