How I got here: Elastic’s Utsav Panchal on Switching to Tech After Graduating with a Communication Degree

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Yes, a degree in communications can lead you to a career in technology.

Utsav Panchal is originally from Chicago and now lives in Philadelphia. He joined the Elastic team two years ago after deciding to leave his experience in an agency where he was focusing on B2C projects.

As global head of search marketing for the Mountain View, Calif. Based software company, Panchal heads the search engine marketing department where he is responsible for Elastic’s marketing operations at sites such as Google and Bing. Panchal holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and corporate communication from University of Northern Illinois. Some of his hobbies include trying new recipes, traveling (he visited Japan before COVID-19), and more recently has started throwing axes.

Below, check out the Campus Philly interview with Panchal on his career path, what it’s like to work in the role, and why Philly.

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With a degree in communications, your career can take many different directions. What made you decide to focus on paid search?

Like many other recent graduates, I started out without knowing what I wanted to do. Having a specialization in marketing and communication, I expected however to go in this direction. I started working in a social media agency as a project manager, and quickly moved on to a startup position in the paid search industry. It was a whole new adventure for me, so I just took a leap of faith and joined a growing agency where I learned the basics of paid search, and started working on my first accounts.

Tell us about your role at Elastic. What does a typical day look like for a global search marketer?

I joined Elastic two years ago, coming from an advertising agency. Switching from the agency side to the client side was difficult, especially since I was also moving from B2C (business-to-consumer) to B2B (business-to-business), as well as in the world of technology.

A typical day for me is to check the performance of the day before and the week before, make adjustments, and work with the teams needed to improve our search and display ads. I work a lot with our content marketing and product marketing team on implementing new keywords, landing pages and updating and updating our ad copy, highlighting our new features .

What’s your favorite project you’ve worked on so far at Elastic?

One of my favorite projects was one of the first things I worked on at Elastic. The Google Ads account wasn’t exactly in the best place, and I took it upon myself to restructure the entire account. I removed what was not working well and built around what was working, while adding any missing pieces, such as product keywords and ad copy, redirecting to favorite landing pages and expanding the account into the machine it is today. We ended up with a very robust account that is segmented in all the right ways to help it run more efficiently.

Prior to your position at Elastic, you worked in New York City for many years. What made you decide to move to Philadelphia?

My wife and I wanted to move out of the New York area, where we met and lived for about seven or eight years. Honestly, we chose to move to Philadelphia just for a change of scenery, but it was really kind to us. We found a great community, lots of things to do, and of course, some delicious food.

If you could share one tip for a student interested in pursuing a career in tech, what would it be?

The technology is innovative and always on the cusp of something even more exciting. Always continue to be a student and absorb as much information as possible to be successful!

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