There is no student with too little or too much experience to join us. Yes, even a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) has room to learn new skills.
In France, Matthieu Bonenfant has worked for Stormshield, a European cyber-security company for nearly 10 years. In the first three years at the firm, Matthieu worked as the Product Marketing and Product Management Director and then moved up to his current CMO position. Though he’s in the C-Suite, that’s not stopping him from continuing to educate himself in the marketing field.
In 2017, Matthieu began a new adventure as one of our online Marketing certificate students. He learned to manage four different worlds—his role as a CMO, a working student, home life and even being a band’s lead guitarist!
After a few months into the program, Matthieu’s schedule was booked and busy. However, he knew it would all be worthwhile when he began to use many of his new marketing skills at Stormshield and even in his personal life.
Let’s dive deeper into where it all began.
Matthieu, tell me about your role as CMO.
I currently manage 20 different marketing portfolios. In tech companies, the CMO has to cover a large spectrum of responsibilities, including technical fields like product management and product marketing.
I have to jump from long- to short-term activities, from strategic to operational marketing. With my teams, we are dedicated to the brand and the offering. We provide active support to our distribution channel and our sales force.
What led you to join our marketing certificate program?
Before becoming a CMO, I had gained many marketing skills on the job. But I decided I wanted to consolidate my practical skills and acquire academic skills that were missing in order to be strong in my position. My goal was to be more credible in my role.
In France, UC Berkeley is well-known, so of course I wanted to have the “Berkeley” experience. Aside from this, the marketing program is fully online, which allowed me to learn on my own time. The content itself was aligned with what I was looking for. I knew it would be beneficial to receive a certification from such a world-renowned university.
What courses did you take and which stood out to you?
I focused a lot of my learning on strategic marketing management, analytics and digital/social media. The Marketing Strategy course stood out to me the most. It was very interesting and corresponded with my work at Stormshield at the time.
I needed to come up with a strategy for the company for the next five years. So this course really helped me brainstorm this need. I was able to share this new strategy to the entire company, our partners, customers and shareholders. It is amazing to see the skills I gained in the program move into the workplace.
I am even using some marketing concepts I learned in my personal life. I am a part of a French heavy metal band called The Losts. In May 2021 we released a new album, Mystery of Depths. Many of the marketing strategy skills prepared me for this launch and I have been able to promote it digitally to the public on behalf of our PR agency and our distribution label!
How was your overall experience taking these courses?
The entire experience was very unique. I enjoyed the flexibility of being a remote student. I could easily organize and manage my academics with my home and work life. Although there weren't physical interactions with other students and instructors, there were always continuous discussions in the online classroom. I appreciated the diversity of the program. I was able to learn from peers who were from all over the world. It was interesting to see how the cultural and economical differences influenced students’ answers.
My time in the program taught me that you really cannot have just one point of view. There were always different perspectives regarding marketing concepts. I realized how important this is in both business and marketing—you want to integrate these different cultural views into your work.
Why do you think other students should be interested in this program?
The program is very well-developed. Not only are you learning academic knowledge, but also practical skills. I enjoyed the mixture of readings, discussions, group work and case studies. Also, I found that the courses can be beneficial for any type of student. You are able to learn a lot of new skills and clear up concepts that perhaps you weren’t as familiar with beforehand. Even if you are new to the field, it is not too difficult to follow.
Overall, the program requires commitment but it is manageable!
What advice would you give to a future student on how to best succeed?
The marketing certificate is quite time consuming. It is important for students to commit five to 10 hours a week to be successful. You should also remain curious! Always consult the resources provided by instructors such as the books and links within assignments. Reviewing these will fully maximize the benefits of the program. You will get as much out of your learning as you put in it.
The program is a great opportunity, especially for international students. The format allows for a lot of flexibility. You can join courses at your own pace, which works well with the time change.