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MCS Alumni Elliot Talbert-Goldstein with Data & Marketing

New Up & Coming MCS Class & Professor

By: Elena Kim


The MCS department has very exciting updates for the upcoming fall semester. Not only will there be a new elective, MCS 370: Data in Marketing, but the MCS department will also be gaining a new professor who happens to also be a UMBC, MCS alumni, Elliot Talbert-Goldstein. I have the privilege to introduce Professor Talbert-Goldstein and share about his journey after graduating and about the new MCS elective that I hope will be insightful for you, MCSers.  


Elliot Talbert-Goldstein graduated from UMBC in 2011 as a MCS major and a Sociology minor, and currently works in digital marketing at UMBC. He shared that his fun fact is that he really enjoys cooking and nerds out on tahini (for those who do not know tahini, I googled it for you, and its said to bea Middle Eastern condiment made from toasted ground hulled sesame often used in hummus). Professor Talbert-Goldstein is also looking forward to finishing up coursework for his PhD and teaching the new MCS elective. I split the blog into two sections: the first part is about Professor Talbert-Goldstein and his journey with MCS and post-graduation, the second part reveals exclusive details about MCS 370: Data in Marketing coming out in the fall semester. 

How has MCS impacted you and your career path?


Understanding the media landscape is incredibly important in this day and age. That includes both theoretical and real-world knowledge. If you can apply what you learn to your work, in conversation, and to interpret the world around you, you will go far.

Communication is incredibly important, whether between you and your friends, family, teachers, coworkers, or between governments, companies, and leaders. Having a rigorous understanding of those skills will help set you up for success in any role. Applying this to professions like marketing, public relations, and management is also great. But being an excellent communicator regardless of what you're trying to do, and expanding that skillset, especially in conflict management, has always been a great way to break down barriers and find the things you're looking for. My mantra (I like this word, a 'sacred utterance') has been "things always can be communicated better," I think about this in every conversation, email, blog post, research paper, advertisement, whatever: how can I communicate this better?

MCS prepared me for a more in-depth understanding of how people communicate in any setting, professional or personal, and study more complex problems academically.



What is/are the careers(s) that you have worked on post-graduation.

First I did a lot of freelance/contract marketing for NGOs & nonprofits, especially in digital. In 2013-14 I did my master's degree in international conflict resolution & mediation. This was a great mix of international relations, management, and communications. I'm now an instructor in this program, teaching mediation in a UN certified workshop to graduate students.

I worked for a few years as an account/project manager supporting international companies to create digital marketing tools including interactive applications, VR, training tools, mobile apps, and websites. I also did a little bit of technical work at a startup before coming to work at UMBC.

I'm currently the director of digital marketing strategy in the Division of Professional Studies, and a PhD student in the information systems program. I oversee all of our digital marketing and marketing technology in this division, and work with lots of people on campus on those topics.

What did the position(s) entail?

I have done a lot of technical project management. I was never a *great* designer, programmer, or copywriter, I'm much better at bringing all those people together to make really cool projects. In my master's I learned a lot about supporting cooperation and managing healthy conflict, which has been super important and something I have focused on as my career has grown.

I'm also a PhD student in IS, studying software engineering and cybersecurity. I really like the communication and cooperation aspects of these studies, and I'm learning a lot about how people need to work together to create technology that meets user's needs and protects their privacy. Learning about computing academically is also rewarding. I like to say that I'm studying "Technology Conflict & Cooperation."




What is MCS 370: Data in Marketing?

The goal of the data in marketing course is to give students a look at how data is used everyday to create and sell products and services. Whether you work in marketing, or are just curious about how companies use your information, this course will be very informative. We will look at a lot of the major tools and approaches that are typical of modern marketing departments large and small, and use a research methods approach to identify best practices. We will also look critically at the marketing industry and learn what is concerning to consumers and regulators, e.g. ethics and privacy.

For example, what information is important for an advertiser to sell you a car, a local government to promote public health, an influencer promoting a product, or a VR company trying to reach new customers?

The original title of the course was "Data-Driven Marketing" but we wanted to make sure it included some critical components and that students who weren't necessarily planning to be marketers could enjoy it as well. What this means is that students who are curious about how to conduct social science research, use data in their daily lives, and who want to be informed consumers will have a lot of great takeaways.  The plan is to have active and applied coursework that can be used immediately in the real world.

How can it be useful outside of the classroom setting?

Students will get hands-on experience and anyone interested in pursuing marketing/communications work would be able to use this information from day 1 to day 3000 of their career and beyond. Because we are looking at fundamental research methods approaches, this will also be a good course for those interested in the basics of research in any social science. Students will learn skills such as data storytelling, data analysis, and ethics, as well as popular tools to do this work. Students with an interest in how digital media works regardless of their career will have a greater understanding of how data is collected and used by companies, what your rights are, and how you can make informed decisions about what types of data you want to share, as well as when, and where you share them.

Is this a skill the marketplace is looking for at the moment? If so, why?

Being able to collect, analyze, use, and share data are incredibly important skills for anyone in their career. Whether it's conducting interviews, sending out surveys, using Excel, or digital advertising, being literate with data is always in demand. We will also look at industry standard platforms so that the first time you hear about them isn't in your job interview.

In my work we heavily regard data analysis skills and we expect our team to be prepared to interpret data, whether it's quantitative or qualitative. Being able to read charts and graphs, interpret feedback, and convey that information to your peers and superiors is a skill everyone needs, and with the right experience, will look great on a resume.

What can I expect from MCS 370: Data in Marketing?

Students can look forward to learning about the daily tasks and processes that companies go through when they think about data in their marketing efforts. On the flip side, it will also cover the things we need to think about to be informed consumers. We will review the basics of modern data use, from granular topics like pivot tables in Excel to broad theories like surveillance capitalism. This includes research foundations, software tools in use, critical thinking and ethics, as well as relevant laws and regulations. We haven't finalized the coursework yet, but students can look forward to work focused on practical applications and performing tasks in the real world.

What are you most excited about being an MCS alumnus to teaching an MCS class?

As a former student I'm very excited to come back and show what I've learned over the years and bring it back to the knowledge I gained in the program. I still think back to the terms and concepts I learned throughout my degree and I look forward to making those connections for the next generation of students.


Posted: August 4, 2022, 2:15 PM