Mark Graham on Embracing a Corporate Career Path

In Chapter 9 of 17 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, digital media executive Mark Graham answers "How Are You Learning to Work Across a Corporate Organizational Culture?"  Graham shares how he has learned to embrace working at large corporations, starting with his first two jobs at Borders and General Motors and continuing on to VH1.  Corporate job experience teaches Graham how to manage more effectively across large, diverse teams. 

Mark Graham is currently a managing editor at VH1, an MTV Networks company. Previously Graham worked in editing and writing roles at New York Magazine and Gawker Media.  He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English.  


Erik Michielsen: How are you learning to work across a corporate organizational structure?

Mark Graham: Most people hate corporations but I sort of love corporations, and I think part of it is just that’s sort of the way that I was—that I’ve been raised in my professional career. My first job out of college, I worked for Borders. Rest in peace, Borders. No longer exists as a company, but I did work for a big organization and sort of learned in the marketing—in a marketing role, sort of learned how different areas of organizations interface and how projects get green-lit and budgeted and accomplished and realized. 

From there, I went and I worked at General Motors, another huge corporation. And so I think—and Viacom, again, that’s another huge corporation. For whatever reason, I enjoy it. I like being able to touch lots of different areas of a business, to interface with different people who have different skill sets, different goals, different needs. 

Now I’m on the editorial side but I used to work on the marketing side of the business. I sort of understand how the numbers work and how to really integrate people and understand different goals of different teams within the organization, and be able to navigate that way. So I think just having grown up in corporate environments, I just sort of get it, and I like it, I understand—I sort of understand how things work within those spaces, and it’s something that I feel very comfortable in.