Alumni News

20 Questions with Christina Kothari, MBA ’11

By Nicholle Cardinal

Christina Kothari, MBA ’11, is the head of global marketing campaign strategy and operations at Facebook. In this role, she is responsible for measuring the effectiveness of Facebook's advertising campaigns in order to meet brand goals and positively impact public opinion. It is a position that requires much creativity, strategic focus, and adaptability.

Before joining the team at Facebook four years ago, Kothari worked with other well-known brands, including Verizon, Microsoft, The Clorox Company, and Fitbit. As a result, she has earned a great deal of experience and a unique understanding of consumer-focused industries.

Recently, Kothari was recognized in Ad Age’s annual 40 Under 40 list, which spotlights trailblazers in the marketing landscape who are leading change across the industry, many of whom are giving a voice to people in communities that are often underrepresented.

In an effort to share more about her work, background, and the things that inspire her on a daily basis, Kothari agreed to answer our 20 questions. 

You were recently listed in Ad Age’s ‘40 Under 40.’ What were you recognized for and what does it mean to you?

I was recognized as a key leader in a campaign about Facebook Groups called “More Together.” Specifically, it was a chapter of the campaign where we highlighted various groups on our platform that come together to discuss their identity and how that intersects with other interests in their life. It was an honor to be recognized by Ad Age for work that meant so much to me in terms of shining a light on underrepresented communities.

What’s the best part about your job?

I love wearing many hats when it comes to marketing. But of the many hats I wear, I love being close to the creative process with my internal and external creative teams. 

How did you choose a career path in marketing?

It’s something I discovered when I was a freshman in undergrad. I had an interest in psychology but I knew I wanted a career that involved problem solving in a team environment. I later discovered a commercial psychology class around consumer behavior, and that class really helped me to decide where I wanted to take my career.

Do you have any mentors in your professional life?

There’s so many people whom I can call on for guidance. From my family to old bosses and old co-workers, and even old friends from the Ross School of Business. Whenever I have a challenge, whether it’s deciding on a new job or making a big decision at work, I never feel like I am at a loss for who to call.

Who inspires you?

I have an incredible group of women whom I am honored to call my friends here in the Bay Area. Many of them have very accomplished careers in banking, tech, consumer goods, and education, and many also balance that with their children and personal hobbies, like writing and art. Their success is a big source of inspiration for me.

First album/CD you bought?

My first CD was Grateful Dead’s American Beauty. My older brother introduced me to the band and I was a big fan in my younger years. I also recall having an MC Hammer and a Black Sabbath tape that I listened to, but I can’t remember if I bought it.

Most-cherished Ross experience?

I cherish all the friends I have made. I am still very close friends with many of the Ross students from my year and have gone to their weddings and we’re all raising our kids now. One of my favorite memories is definitely the excitement of Go Blue Rendezvous.

The thing you learned in business school that you’ll never forget?

I remember learning about change management in Managing Organizations with Professor Maxim Sytch. I have used some of the principles we learned when needing to make a big cultural or process change within an organization and thinking through how to influence.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their career?

Focus on uncovering what types of work give you energy and what types of work drain you, and follow your instinct to work on the things that give you energy.

Favorite comfort food?

Chips and salsa.

Business or charity you wish more people knew about?

I am on the board of directors for a nonprofit called Centro Legal de la Raza. We focus on providing legal services to low-income residents in California to assist with issues such as immigrations, workers rights, and tenants rights.

What’s your pet peeve?

People who are unreliable.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I remember writing an essay in fifth grade about becoming an archeologist. I am not sure if this was around the time Jurassic Park came out, but I remember being fascinated with not just dinosaur bones, but ancient civilizations and Greek mythology. 

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Someone gave me advice 10 years ago that stuck with me. He told me to use my 30s to focus on learning as much as I can and then to reap the rewards of that learning in my 40s. That really stuck with me and I feel I have taken roles that would allow me to learn the skills I need to be successful later in my career.

What’s your favorite spot in Ann Arbor?

Zingerman’s is so delicious. I make sure to get a pastrami sandwich and other goodies whenever I am back on campus.

Favorite show to binge/stream?

I love a good binge! I am a sucker for a lot of the Netflix reality shows, but I also love a feel-good comedy like Ted Lasso or Schitt’s Creek.

What’s your most-used apps on your phone?

I use the notes app a lot. I keep notes on restaurants I want to try, movies I want to see, books to read, and also a lot of to-do lists or shared lists with my husband.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

Hiking, yoga, and trying new restaurants around the Bay Area.

Favorite holiday destination?

Probably a tie between Japan and Italy — both are gorgeous countries with great food and art.

What was your first job?

My first job was working at the movie theater in concessions. It taught me so much about working with people and operations and I even managed people at one point. I also loved the perk of going to free movies and eating unlimited popcorn.

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