Rick Neuman, BCom ’05, started at the DeGroote School of Business thinking he would end up in the world of finance, but after his third year internship at State Street Bank, his career path took a sharp turn. “I realized that I needed to be in a creative environment and that finance was not for me.”
Neuman filled his academic calendar with entrepreneurship, marketing and humanities. It was the marketing courses that sparked his interest and he applied to participate in the first MARS Apprentice competition. “MARS Apprentice was so important. It was the first year of the competition and it really shaped the course of my life. It was an opportunity for me to try before I buy, to see if I would be successful in marketing and it got me hooked. I knew that I needed to find a career in marketing.”
After winning MARS Apprentice, Neuman secured an internship with Jan Kelley Marketing. “I learned customer service and how to be a good customer. That has proved useful to me even today.” With the shift of technology becoming more prevalent in the workplace, he saw an opportunity for himself to take his marketing experience and merge it with his obsession with computers. “I was a computer geek my entire life and made the plea in a cover letter to Canadian Tire to take a chance on me,” he shares. They hired him and his work in digital marketing began. He had two positions with Canadian Tire, one as a site coordinator and the other in email marketing. Neuman fell in love with the technical side of email. Email marketing uses data to make decisions by bringing email data and behavioural data together. By merging these two things, results start to increase and customers got what they were looking for.
When Neuman started at Walmart Canada he worked on site promotions, merchandizing and analytics, but with the main focus of site development. “We have had triple digit conversion growth since I started at Walmart Canada. It has been an exciting ride with so much opportunity and traffic. The customers have responded very well, and it is the creative environment that I always wanted to be in.” He has since taken on a new role at Walmart Canada as its CIO / SVP Technology and will work to continually build the best team of individuals and take on the changing role of technology in business.
Neuman has some advice for DeGroote students: “Learn data. Learn analytics. Learn how to make data driven decisions, and tell stories with the data. Dig into database management. Have respect for ‘garbage in / garbage out’ and what that means. If you can understand that concept you will get a lot further in a digital world.”
From finance to marketing and now a senior vice president, taking control over the course of his career has put Neuman in the fast lane.
Rick Neuman, BCom ’05 is CIO/SVP Technology at Walmart Canada.