August 31, 2021 • By The UCI Paul Merage School of Business
Nick Tran MBA ’11, global head of marketing for TikTok, is the newest chair of the Dean’s Leadership Circle (DLC). During his one-year term, Tran will provide vital support to the UCI Paul Merage School of Business by providing invaluable advice and direction during a time of disruption and innovation.
"UCI and the Paul Merage School of Business have provided me with an academic foundation that has propelled me in my career as a marketer,” said Tran. “It brings me great joy to serve as chair for the Dean’s Leadership Circle and have the opportunity to give back to the community and help influence the future of the program."
Tran is an experienced brand marketer that has launched innovative campaigns in fast food, fashion and streaming industries.
In his current role at TikTok, Tran oversees all aspects of the company’s global marketing efforts, including brand strategy, media and advertising, social media and co-marketing partnerships. Tran led TikTok's first global marketing campaign, "It Starts on TikTok," to celebrate the global TikTok community for propelling unique and inspiring content into memorable cultural moments and movements.
Tran emphasized the entertainment value of TikTok, explaining that it is not a social media app.
He says: “What I love about TikTok is that it’s the one place where people are comfortable being their full self. I do think that part of the magic of TikTok that I don’t see in other platforms is that people are able to be their authentic selves at all times, and the community embraces that.”
Before joining TikTok, Nick was vice president of brand and culture marketing at Hulu, where he helped to reinvent the brand, working on memorable campaigns such as "Better Ruins Everything," "Hulu Has Live Sports"(including the Tom Brady Super Bowl ad) and the "World Record Egg."
Prior to Hulu he served as a brand marketer at Samsung Electronics, Stance and Taco Bell where he became well versed in influencer and experiential marketing, social media and digital marketing.
In 2021, Nick was featured in the Forbes CMO Next list, AdAge Top 30 CMO, Business Insider's Top 27 CMOs, Campaign's Top 50 CMOs and Adweek's Top CMOs List. In 2020, he was included in Fortune's 40 under 40 as well as AdAge's 40 under 40 list.
The DLC welcomes Tran’s expertise and the unique perspective he brings to the organization.
Pamina Barkow MBA ’16, exiting DLC chair, says “We are excited to announce Nick as our incoming DLC chair. As an experienced leader and visionary, he embodies the skill sets that we learn at the Merage School and refine in the business world. His ability to envision growth and execute through leadership are legendary in the industry and the DLC will be well served by having him at the helm."
Dean Ian O. Williamson added: “Nick has a great deal of passion for seeing the Merage School brand flourish and has the expertise to make it happen. Coupled with the experience and talent of the incoming board, I am certain we will see great things coming from the DLC in the months ahead.”