Having been born and raised on the East Coast, Andrea Alfonsi Fuller became eager to get away from the cold winters and seek a new lifestyle. Before she made the trek across the country, Andrea followed her love for performing arts and pursued a Bachelor’s in Music. She later decided to obtain her Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing to grow her skill set. Ten years ago, Andrea decided to follow her dream of moving to sunny San Diego to work in a marketing analytics role in the pharmaceutical industry. After taking time off to care for her family, Andrea wanted to get back into the workforce with a fresh new career opportunity. Her diverse background eventually led her to MK Decision, where she is now one of our esteemed Project Managers.
Where did you grow up? How long did you live there for?
"I was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or as we locals like to call it, 'Philly'. Specifically, I grew up in South Philly, which was the quintessential Italian American neighborhood. I lived in New York for two years before moving to San Diego ten years ago.
How do you like San Diego?
"San Diego was my bucket list place to live. My first trip here was during my first job out of college. When I got off of the plane, I immediately felt that I needed to live here. San Diego is my happy place, and I will never move back to the East Coast. I love the weather, the lifestyle, and the people. I have found great happiness, satisfaction, and life fulfillment here."
What do you like to do on the weekends?
"In my free time, I love to cook, garden, and volunteer for the Red Cross."
Where did you go to school?
"I finished my undergrad at Temple University as a Vocal Performance major, where I earned a Bachelor of Music degree and minor in Music Education. The degree focused my career toward academia or performance."
"I started my MBA at Drexel University. My focus was on Marketing, which aligned with my career at the time. Going to school and working simultaneously was quite an adventure. Drexel was one of the pioneers in the work-study program before anyone had ever heard of it. It gave me a real-world perspective. The courses were taught by professors actively working in the industry. The program was absolutely incredible; I loved it."
What’s your career background?
"From the beginning, I had my heart set on being a performer. I had always written songs, played the piano, performed opera, cabaret, and musical theater. I wanted to pursue performing arts as a career but felt it took some joy out of performing."
"I was recruited into a family-owned and operated business a few years into my career. When I started, they were about the size of MK now, and when I left ten years later, they had grown to a $58 million company. We grew roughly 33% every single year. My experience there was unmatched until I joined the MK team."
"I worked at a few different marketing research consultancies after that and soon became burnt out. To channel my inner passion, I taught first aid CPR classes for the Red Cross and spent five years in their training services division as a Territory Manager, where I ran operations for five different states."
Why was MK an attractive company and why did you decide to apply?
"I was looking for a project management position, and I had never worked in tech before, let alone FinTech. There was something about how the job description was written; I immediately knew that I would apply. The more I spoke with Molly and Guru Dharam during the recruitment process, I was utterly convinced, and still am, that MK is the place I want to be."
Your background is very diverse. How did you start with music and translate your experience into Marketing Analytics? Overall, how did that influence your decision to become a Project Manager?
"My career started with healthcare data. You will find that many healthcare professionals are musicians. Music has a technical/analytical side which I learned from studying music my whole life, and that easily translated into my love for data."
"The performing aspect is interesting. One of my mentors saw the performing arts skills as an easy skill transfer to client-facing responsibilities. He saw a very linear shift in teaching me the art of focus group moderating and depth interviewing to collect data. I have always worked in a client-facing role, doing analytics and data collection."
"I love forging new territory so working as a project person has always thrilled and deeply satisfied me. That is my propellerhead data person and my performer client person integrating. I love being in project management, I love being client-facing, and I love working with our internal team. The technical aspect is just working with data in a whole different way."
What are some of your responsibilities as a project manager?
"As a project manager, I need to understand the clients’ business objectives and requirements for their projects. To provide a highly professional level of service and ensure the client’s needs are met, I must facilitate clear communication skills, provide high-quality deliverables, and act as the interface between the client and the Engineering team. I often review customer requests to proactively solve problems by adding new features or furthering the development of products that we currently offer."
Do you have any advice for people who want to be a Project Manager at MK Decision?
"My advice would be to always wear a customer lens and stay highly focused on their implementation. Always think, ‘this is my business. This is what the end-user is going to see and touch'. It has to be of the highest quality and meet the business needs. Understanding how our client wants to do business should be driving how we develop new products and features."
How would you describe MK in one word?
What has been your experience working at MK?
"MK offers an organic growth experience with a true team culture of success. Everybody pitches in and works as a team."
How did you know MK was the right fit for you?
"There are a number of things about MK that are superior to my experience at prior companies. One of my mottos is ‘The Relentless Pursuit of Excellence’. In order to truly do that you need to be working in an environment where there is a culture of growth and change. The spirit of MK allows you to thrive both personally and professionally. I love that about MK."
What is your proudest moment at MK?
"My proudest moment was last Friday! I had the opportunity to conduct my first user training. I conducted hands-on training with one of our customers to ensure that each user understood how to use the platform. Our users have different access permissions on MK’s platform depending on their position at the financial institution. This is a security measure implemented by our team."
"To ensure our customers felt confident in the platform, I knew I needed to provide detailed, high-quality client training. We broke our training sessions into two days. Our team learned from the first session, identified how to improve our delivery, and gave a strong training session. We were even able to conduct practice orders with the client and walk them through the process."
"I was so proud of our team! This created tremendous value for our organization and is an additional service that our Sales team can bill for regularly."
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
"The question, ‘what new challenges can I face today?’ I know I cannot control what the universe throws at me, but I can certainly control my actions. My actions are to get into action."