Marketing with Mavericks

Master of Business Administration student, Shantanu Chandra, graduates this May. His focus will be in MarTech, ideally product management. If that doesn’t work out, he says with a smile, “Then I’ll start my own business.” However, it’s not so easy to start-up a company as a non-U.S. citizen. There are many legal issues through which to navigate. Shantanu was born and raised in northern India. His background is in technology. He went into software engineering after majoring in computer science as an undergrad. He discovered that his role in software engineering had no sounding board. The upper management where he worked wouldn’t listen to his ideas, let alone allow him to pursue them. His initiative and creativity were being thwarted. Shantanu began investigating his personality type and homed in on what area of business appealed to him most. Then he began applying to graduate schools, finally landing upon the Raymond A. Mason School of Business at William & Mary.

Shantanu also has his own podcast, Marketing with Mavericks, which discusses the latest industry trends and asks people in the marketing field what they think is on the horizon. His podcasts are accessible on nine media platforms: Google, Castbox, Anchor, iTunes, and Stitcher to name a few. Shantanu interviews people and asks them: Why did you pursue marketing? Where do you see the future of marketing headed? What should an MBA grad be learning? What is the book you are reading right now?” Interestingly, he notes, most of the books people say they are reading in the field of marketing have a futuristic tilt. Shantanu admits he’s not much of a reader. He does, however, love listening and watching – he’s an observer. Self-admittedly, “I’m a big-time YouTube binger. I listen to this Marketing School podcast by Neil Patel and Eric Siu every night before I sleep. It has great content – it’s short and simple at just 7 minutes.”

Prior to creating his podcast, Shantanu needed to get into the habit of asking people if they would mind being interviewed. Shantanu says he gravitated toward photography because “I was a shy guy. A camera was my go-to object to interact with the outside world. I was pretty reserved back then. Photography has helped me express emotions, capture emotions, and understand people’s fear of emotions. Weddings, baby showers, maternity, portrait—everything has a different emotion.” In 2013 as an undergrad student in India, Shantanu bought a camera with his first paycheck. He was diligent and for the first 100 days, posted pictures to help himself understand various techniques. With time, his skills improved to the point of selling his work on Shutterstock (schandra) as well as being hired for portraits, baby showers, reunions and farewells. “When interacting with people I don’t see it, but when I play it back on my screen, I have time to take in the different emotions. The camera helped me [tap into] my extroverted side and reach out to people about my podcast.” When Shantanu arrived at W&M, he took on some freelance photography assignments for the School of Business for a semester and in 2018, he started his podcast.

When asked what the podcast has done for him, Shantanu says it helps give him access to CMOs and other notable individuals in the industry. It also grows social capital through networking and establishing an online presence. He points out, whereas finance is defined with numbers, marketing is broad and “net worth” is measured differently, often in terms of visibility on various social media platforms.

Shantanu’s advice to other students, present and future, is practical: “Build your own network while you’re in grad school. Once you have a job, you won’t have as much time.”

Ideally, Shantanu would like to stay in the U.S. for at least another two years, if not more. As for Williamsburg, he loves this time of year when nature is on the cusp of spring because of the different colors starting to bud. Back in India, “We don’t have the same trees.” In terms of life philosophy, Shantanu is profound. It does not sound like a cliché when he says it. “Live and let others live. Do what makes you happy. People in this world are not happy because they’re just doing things to get someplace. Do what makes you happy in the present and the future will take care of itself.”