I took a marketing elective course called Pricing Strategy during my MSc in Management & Strategy at LSE. This was the most applied course I took, and as a data scientist doing revenue forecasting and product analytics for Twitter, Inc. in San Francisco, I draw on what I learned in the class daily. The reasons for this are threefold: Fluency, Framework, and Friendships.
When I entered LSE, it was not my intention to exit into a career at Twitter, in AdTech more broadly, or in tech even more so. However, it would not have been possible to do so without having taken Pricing Strategy. At times at work, I feel like I have to swim through an alphabet soup of acronyms – CLTV, CPE, eCPE, qCPM, DAU, MAU, UAM, to name a few – and behind each one is a core insight to the future of our product strategy.
Without prior industry experience, nobody I interview now is expected to be familiar with any of them. But, being able to walk into my interview with some fluency definitely gave me a leg up. In the spirit of the course, one might say I was differentiating from a group of otherwise homogenously-qualified applicants.
My day-to-day work is essentially the continuation of a marriage between Pricing Strategy and my Econometrics class. The LSE Management department in general, and Pricing Strategy specifically, endows students with a rigorous framework with which one can analyze a host of questions critical to successful business strategy. In fact, the first thing we did in Pricing Strategy is fundamental to the work I do currently – opportunity sizing.
Professor Narasimhan handed out a case study where we were supposed to derive the value and price of an innovation in chicken farming. I had never done anything like that before, so I gave it my best shot, but my output was lacking at best. The following class we went over how to structure one’s thinking about the exercise and similar problems in the future; I still return to notes from that class in my current role.
In Pricing Strategy, you’ll be exposed to different models used to ascertain the optimal price for a given product, and how to derive its value to the company. I don’t directly use a conjoint model in my work, but through studying and understanding the empirical and theoretical foundations of the models, one builds a mental framework through which to attack new questions.
I have to communicate to a broad range of stakeholders. Every Tuesday morning, I meet with Product Managers for our Mobile App Install ad offering to provide updates on revenue performance and present opportunity sizing analyses on potential product launches. That afternoon, I’m preparing for executive-level meetings to provide insight on how much revenue from our broader efforts is truly incremental versus cannibalized from existing products (the most memorable has been work I did on our Live initiative; we started streaming events like NFL games, Wimbledon, and the US presidential debates for free, in the app and our desktop site, in order to solidify our market position as the best place to find out what’s happening in the world right now).
I end up presenting to people across our Engineering, Sales, Finance, and Product organizations. The people are as different as you might expect; thusly, I have to tailor my communication style to each one. I practiced doing exactly this in the group project that is part of the Pricing Strategy syllabus – I was meeting with everyone from interns to business analysts during the project, and presented the final analysis to the executives. And, the project forces you to collaborate with your classmates (something that did not occur as often in the other classes I took at LSE).
I cannot overstate how important this was – my former classmates are all cooler and smarter than I am, so getting to learn from them was a blast, on top of being enormously beneficial to me in developing my skills. As a result, I have friends in Germany and India that can vouch me personally and professionally, and I’m confident that we will both have and take opportunities to work together again in the future.
Forgive me, but some things just don’t fit into 140 characters.
The Pricing Strategy elective course is available as part of LSE’s MSc Marketing programme.