Senior Associate at Dentsu
An Interview with Mike Fluent
Please Note: This is an interview we conducted with Mike, a fellow that completed the SkillBank program in the Spring of 2022. This testimonial was transcribed from an interview we conducted with him.
What is your current role?
I am a Senior Associate with Paid Search with Dentsu X, and I recently just got a promotion, so that’s a testament to SkillBank. With the company, I work with a regional furniture business. They are in 14 market areas in the northeast U.S. Even though they are regional, they are the 11th largest furniture company in the U.S. Their ad spend is a large budget, with a large account, and lots of moving parts but, I am dedicated to one client within an agency and I absolutely love that.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background prior to joining SkillBank.
While I was at SkillBank, I was actually active duty military the same month I finished SkillBank. As far as education, I’ve been going to school on and off, I’m a little older, I’m in my mid-40s. I finished my degree around the same time I finished SkillBank. I finished my degree and transitioned out of the military and SkillBank was a big part of that transition.
What sparked your interest in digital marketing/paid media? Why did you choose to pursue a career in digital marketing?
One keyword for that, and that’s family. I knew coming out of the military, I wanted to do something that tapped into both my technical knowledge and talent. I knew I didn’t want to be a full-stack developer because that’s not the way my brain is wired but, I knew I wanted to do something creative. The number 1 thing was that it had to be remote for me to work for someone else.
I heard Mehak, the CEO, on a podcast and then I was like okay, let me check this thing out because I really liked the business model of SkillBank. It had a lot of investment and success in the fellows, so I really appreciated that, and so I gave SkillBank a try. I got hired at Dentsu in my last couple of weeks going through the Skillbank learning process and I’ve been there for 7 months now.
How would you describe your experience with the paid media course?
I really approached my time with SkillBank as a job as a profession. There were tasks given and I tried to lean forward on those tasks as much as possible. I really feel that's what has helped me succeed in professional areas such as driving my calendar and staying ahead on tasks. So I approached those tasks by getting them accomplished early, specifically the certifications. We were able to complete those at our own pace, and doing them in conjunction with the course material helped greatly. Also, identifying a hurdle and then figuring out how I can get through that hurdle by myself and not floundering for too long.
The agency I am with is completely supportive of all open questions. They much prefer that we come to them with a question and we get training than trying to figure it out on our own, spend a lot of time, or do something wrong, so the course material was definitely set up in a way that mirrored what will happen or could happen in an agency or in a paid media job.
The highs were building the creative, building the customer segments, and building a creative pitch for a company. I really enjoyed that quite a bit. I’ll say I don’t do that quite as much now, mainly because I work on one client. I’ve looked at the possibility of pitching clients at Dentsu and I look to do that in the future, but I really enjoyed that at SkillBank.
Difficulties: Some of the concepts, I wouldn’t say were extremely challenging but, it was a whole new vernacular, a whole new set of acronyms, and a whole new set of thinking about problem sets. It’s not difficult math, but understanding how to do that math, and how it all connects together with Key Performance Indicators, I think was the most challenging part for me.
Are you applying the skills you’ve learned at SkillBank?
Absolutely, everything that I learned at SkillBank was applicable on day one on the job. I still draw upon the knowledge, the terms, the vernacular, and everything that we were learning. During your time at SkillBank, if you’re not 100% sure what that term means, nail it down and then go to the instructors, and ask if it is correct.
What advice do you have for prospective fellows who want to join SkillBank?
I definitely attribute some of my success at SkillBank and within Dentsu, to things that are outside of the curriculum. This is a career that can take you anywhere you want to go, both in terms of professionalism and growth in the industry. Salary caps are almost uncapped, and it really needs to be approached with the intent that I am going to master this skill.
SkillBank will definitely set you up with all of the technical sides, we as the fellows need to hone in on those professionalism pieces. SkillBank will give you the skillset, and it’s up to us to expand upon that skill set, both showcasing what we know and all of the other intangibles, such as the professionalism pieces, outside of that skillset.