Alum of the Month - January 2024

Polina Melamed

A significant challenge in my career was overcoming the perception of being too young for leadership roles. One of my superpowers today is building high-performing teams by empowering people to push beyond the status quo.



  • Programme studied: MSc Management, Organisations and Governance
  • Year of Graduation: 2013
  • LinkedIn profile

Polina discusses what she learnt on her journey to becoming a marketing polyglot since graduating in 2013, which included working with some of the most recognisable global tech brands such as Google, eBay, and Nokia, as a media strategist at Essence. This has culminated in her securing her current role as Vice President of Brand Marketing at Choreograph. It's her professional mission to make complex ideas simple by marrying data-driven consumer empathy, with tasteful design.

Current job title and description of what this role entails:

As the Vice President of Brand Marketing at Choreograph, I lead a team of marketers and creatives tasked with growing the Choreograph brand as the leading insights SaaS platform for brands and agencies. In close partnership with our CEO, we shape Choreograph’s overall competitive positioning, messaging and go-to-market approach. 

Tell us about your career journey since graduating from LSE.

My journey since graduating from LSE began in the trenches of digital media strategy, learning the nuts and bolts of the industry at Essence (now known as EssenceMediacom). Today, EssenceMediacom is one of the most valuable and innovative agencies in the world with 10k+ employees. But when I joined, we were just a young and hungry 200-person startup with a unique data-driven approach to digital marketing. In my first week there, I was handed a multi-million-dollar media budget to launch Google Play into seven new markets in Eastern Europe. So, I had to learn fast! 

The leap from the fast-growing agency environment to the brand side at Choreograph came after working with some of the most recognisable global tech brands such as Google, eBay, and Nokia. Over time, the media landscape became too fragmented with too many walled gardens, and the emergence of consumer privacy concerns, meant everyone in the industry had to innovate fast. This led to my team’s close collaboration with cutting-edge data products and incredible teams at Tableau, Looker, and Google Analytics, to try and come up with custom solutions together.  

Eventually, it occurred to me - together with Choreograph’s founding team - that we could build an in-house analytics and insights platform tailored to global advertisers. If properly packaged and marketed, it could deliver real value to our clients. This became my role, where I am tasked with bringing the brand promise to life. 

How has the programme you studied helped your career since you graduated?

The programme was instrumental in giving me the confidence I needed to take on seemingly disconnected roles that added to my generalist skill set in product marketing, customer success and media planning. It enabled me to see connections, patterns, and trends in place of discrete facts and details, and taught me to embrace my purpose as a “context translator”. 

The programme also provided me with numerous managerial frameworks that bring clarity to “gray areas” and provide the framing to global macroeconomic and social dynamics, which are crucial in understanding consumer behaviour, and cultural shifts.  

But even more importantly than theoretical knowledge, LSE’s emphasis on real-world application and its close ties to the start-up and venture capital community in Europe helped me land my first role with one of the portfolio companies of Rainmaking VC. This experience not only honed my marketing skills but also ingrained in me an entrepreneurial mindset that I carry into every aspect of my work today. 

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received?

Throughout my career, I've been fortunate to have guidance from exceptional friends, managers, coaches, and mentors. The most impactful piece of advice I've received was to look at every change as an opportunity. This mindset has been my north star during times of industry disruptions, company mergers, and my relocation to San Francisco from London. It has encouraged me to view changes and challenges not as setbacks, but as chances to innovate, learn, and grow. 

What’s the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

A significant challenge in my career was overcoming the perception of being too young for leadership roles. I started working early, working hard and growing fast, leading me to first become the youngest Director and then again, the youngest VP before turning 30 at WPP. In a world where age often equates to experience, I faced tacit, as well as explicit scepticism about my leadership capabilities and initially struggled to establish authority and credibility. 

To counter this, I embraced my youth as a license to question the status quo and brought in approaches from agile product management to marketing operations.  One of my superpowers today is building high-performing teams by finding people with a palette of diverse experiences from unexpected places and empowering them to push beyond the status quo.

What are your hopes for the future?

On a broader scale, I am excited to be witnessing the emergence of AI as a major player in all aspects of marketing. It has incredible potential to take personalisation-at-scale to a completely new level in advertising - delivering both cost efficiencies, as well a better consumer experience through better ads.  

I aim to continue developing as a brand builder, fostering an environment where creativity and data-driven strategies go hand-in-hand. Branding has reached an exciting milestone where truly anything is possible: you can collaborate with illustrators, photographers, musicians, and AI to create real-world, as well as digital and virtual experiences, so I am excited to see the continued blurring of boundaries between art and commerce. 

Ultimately, my goal is to leave a lasting, positive imprint on the industry, inspiring future generations of marketers to innovate and push boundaries. 

Share with us your fondest memory of the Department of Management.

I met my future husband at the LSE at the first lecture I ever attended. We celebrated our 10-year anniversary this September, and now have a wonderful 1 and a half year-old daughter together, so this is my fondest memory! 

If you would like to be our Alum of the Month or if you would like to nominate a Department of Management alumni, please email dom.alumni@lse.ac.uk.