Brand Management: A Newcomer’s View from the Inside

When I began the MBA program, I had not yet decided on a major, or even a post-MBA career path.  I had been a high school teacher for the past 8 years, and I wasn’t sure where the B-School journey would lead me. 

Throughout the first year of school, I became increasingly attracted to marketing, and even more specifically to the role of brand management.  This seemed like a dynamic role that might be a good fit for me.  I was given the opportunity to give the role of ABM (assistant brand manager) a trial run this past summer as a marketing intern at Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati.

After working in a large CPG company for the past 12 weeks, I have had the opportunity to get a first-hand view of the role of a brand manager.  Here is my analysis: it is an awesome job.  There are lots of things I enjoyed about my internship, but in terms of the role of brand management, the most compelling things are its pace and the breadth.

Pace:  Brand managers (and ABMs) are not bored.  Their day is packed full of all kinds of meetings, tasks, functions, and priorities.  If you’re looking for a job that positions you comfortably in a cubicle or office for 8 hours a day, quietly working on a spreadsheet, this is not the job for you.  For me, I love the energy and frenetic pace of a busy day, and brand management provides that.

Breadth: Brand managers do a lot of marketing, but they also do some of everything.  They play in finance, strategy, market research, design, human resources, and operations—as the “hub of the wheel,” so to speak, brand managers get the opportunity to think and act across the entire spectrum of business functions, and that is really engaging for me.  For a marketing professional who wants to work strictly in a traditional marketing capacity, they may want to look elsewhere for a good professional fit, but for a manager who wants to have their hands in multiple buckets, driving the overall course of a business unit, brand management might be a role to consider.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to spend the summer at P&G—I learned more in 12 weeks than I ever thought possible.  I would encourage any prospective MBA candidate to at least give brand management a look if this description sounds appealing—you might end up discovering a challenging, stimulating, rewarding new career path.