IMBA Grad Starts His Online Marketing Career With Canadian Tech Company Kobo


Think you have to go to Silicon Valley to start your career with a young, fast-growing technology company?

Not if you work at Kobo, the Toronto-based company that produces Kobo eReaders as well as eReading applications for the BlackBerry, BlackBerry PlayBook, iPad, iPhone, and Android devices.

Ryan Smith, a recent York University International MBA grad who was hired as the company’s Online Marketing Manager in August 2011, actually worked as an Account Strategist at Google for the first year after completing his MBA, but he ultimately wanted to get into the international side of online marketing.

“Since Kobo is still growing quickly, new grads can make a serious impact on a company that will continue to grow its presence in the tech world.” —Ryan Smith, Online Marketing Manager, Kobo

“Kobo is one of very few Toronto-based international tech companies,” he says. It looks like he made the right career move because, within the first 2 months of working at Kobo, he was able to take part in a number of product and country launches.

“I have never worked for a company where I’ve had such a personal impact on such a large organization,” he says. “Since Kobo is still growing quickly, new grads can make a serious impact on a company that will continue to grow its presence in the tech world.”

First thing’s first: The Kobo hiring process

Ryan says he saw a Kobo job ad online, applied, and then the application and interview process was a blur.

“I was referred for the position on a Tuesday, was called by HR later that day, brought in for 3 interviews the following Monday, and was offered the position that evening.”

So, why did Kobo choose him? He credits his technical skills and experience in online marketing, his friendly, entrepreneurial and hardworking personality, and his international focus. After all, Kobo has dominated the eReading marketing in Canada and is now expanding globally.

The day-to-day of an Online Marketing Manager at Kobo

When Ryan first started, he was encouraged to learn by doing and seek out information about Kobo and the eBook industry from his colleagues. “Kobo is a great place to learn by getting involved, since there’s a lot to get done.”

Now, on a day-to-day basis, he is involved in a number of dream-job marketing activities, including:

  • putting together online marketing reports
  • meeting with other teams
  • planning online marketing strategies
  • creating campaigns
  • working in online web marketing tools
  • interacting with agencies

“In general,” he says, “I make sure everything on the web is performing well.”

He describes the work environment at Kobo as friendly, fast-paced and even chaotic (in a positive, start-up kind of way). “It’s a great place for entrepreneurial-minded people, since there’s an infinite amount of work to take on,” he says.

Ryan’s Top 3 career tips for students and recent grads

  • Don’t look for just a job. “Find something you’re passionate about and pursue it,” he says. “People can see passion, so it will come across in your interview and will keep you excited and focused on doing the best job possible.”
  • Bring new ideas to the table. “Many obvious ideas have not yet been approached, and people tend to be open to hearing suggestions of new ways to approach our business.”
  • Join Kobo now to get in on the action! “It’s a fast-growing company in a fast-growing industry and was just bought out by a world leader in eCommerce, so it will soon be a truly global force. Now is a very exciting time to join Kobo.”


Kobo jobsJoin the eReading Revolution! Kobo is hiring for various positions in many departments. See if there’s a job open for you!


About the author

Cassandra Jowett is TalentEgg's Content Manager. She joined the team as a student intern in the summer of 2008, and since then her heart has never really left the Egg Carton. Cassandra is a recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Journalism, where she earned a Bachelor of Journalism with a focus in writing and editing for newspapers. She has also written and edited for The Globe and Mail, The National Post, t.o.night newspaper and other publications.