I want to be a Marketer

It’s funny how “I told you so” is such a common phrase in our lexicon. It’s as if no matter how much YOU think you know, someone always knows more. There is always some wise sage that seems to elude you that everyone else has access to. Thus when you finally catch up to what everyone else seemed to know but you, those words are haunting and taunting you off in the distance.

Well right now those very words are dangling over my head, whispered by the many representatives of all the b-schools I visited including Fisher. I recall sitting through all of the panels, all of the presentations, and all of the informational interviews and the same question popped up every single time. “How should I answer the essay concerning my career goals when I’m undecided?” said in a panicked voice that went up an octave with each word uttered. The response was always the same, don’t worry because chances are whatever you do put down, your goals will change. Nevertheless I stressed and agonized over having to put down, into what seemed like concrete, my dreams and career goals. I felt like whatever I put down it needed to be good and perfect and it had to reflect every aspect of who I am, and who I hoped to be.

It. Was. Tough.

Obviously I was able to, and I clearly articulated my goals well because I landed an honored spot at this amazing business school. I held firm to what I wanted to do with my life, creating my Career Marketing Plan that outlined each step of my future. But something odd began to happen. Fisher does a great job at introducing you to various careers, industries, and specific job functions. There are boot camps, company-sponsored informational mixers, workshops, and meetings with your Career Management Consultant at your convenience. Through all of these avenues I began to realize that my career goals were changing, and quickly.

I’ve been in school for officially nine weeks now and I am FULLY convinced that I am destined to be in Marketing. Not only that, but I can SEE myself as a Brand Manager. I thank Fisher for providing me with the opportunities to see myself down various career paths. There was the Consulting boot camp, the Finance boot camp, Real Estate, Supply Chain, and then the one I came to love: the Marketing boot camp. I went from thinking that perhaps I’d be a consultant, maybe I’d be in community relations, maybe I’d do a bit of both, to rock solidly knowing that Marketing is my calling.

Through company-sponsored mixers I have narrowed down my target list and I have Google alerts set for all of them so I can stay up-to-date on company news. I participated in the Procter & Gamble Marketing Case Competition and I had a blast! I even came home with the “Best Presenter” award! Friday I’m going to visit Nestle in Solon, OH and I cannot wait. Nestle was great enough to host a workshop to teach us how to analyze P&L financial statements from the perspective of a Brand Manager. All great information that makes me even more excited about my future.

So you see, don’t stress yourself out trying to pen down exactly what you want to be when you grow up. Chances are if you’re a career switcher you’ll stray from that when you get into the swing of school. You’ll learn things in class and from your classmates that will help you define and mold your future. It’s an amazing feeling!

But of course you’ll do it anyway, just promise me that you’ll come back and leave a comment on this blog post so *I* can tell *you* “I told you so!”


Consulting Boot Camp

On a Friday morning, a no-class day, about half of the class gathered to do at least one of the two things:

  1. To find out if consulting can be one of their career paths
  2. To ‘Network’ – the mantra of every MBA candidate

There were not only those people who said ‘I want to be a consultant’, ‘I want to take up Strategy’, but even those who were planning their career paths in operations, supply chain management and investment banking.  Because the MBA program is all about discovering oneself. It gives people opportunities to play around with their options and find their best fit.

Let’s start:

The session was opened by Fisher Professional Services, the association every aspiring consultant wants to be in. It not only gives students the platform to work on real projects for business and not-for-profit organizations, but also provides an opportunity to work on international projects during summer for those interested in exploring beyond the US.

Jeff Rice, Executive Director of Office of Career Management, forwarded the discussion with a very simple question ‘what is consulting’. Here are the few responses he got for ‘why do you want to join a consulting firm’:

‘I want to do strategic consulting’

‘I like solving client problems’

‘I want to pursue a career in marketing…’

Jeff – ‘None of you would make it. There are scores of other candidates who want to be a strategic, marketing or financial consultant. Be more specific.’

In this world of competition, where you find 10’s, 100’s of alternatives for every service or product, one needs to distinguish oneself from others by defining and detailing goals and skills to a micro level. The one thing that every consulting firm is trying to find in a swarm of suits and blazers is that one skill that can add more value their firm. In Jeff’s words, ‘a functional spike that can mark you as different’ . Build a functional skill and portray it to your potential employer. This is your key to success in a consulting career path.

The representation:

McKinsey, Ernst and Young, Deloitte, Gallup, Accenture and Navigator to JP Morgan Chase, Nationwide, Cardinal Health and Emerson – there was representation from core management consulting and top professional services firms to the best internal strategy firms. The majority of the boot camp was filled with insights into these firms through firm overviews and panel discussions. The best chance for the new MBA entrants to understand the consulting industry and to know the culture of firms thriving successfully in this industry.

It was a long 8 to 5 session and at one time, I was literally fighting my dropping eyelids, but the drive to know more about these top firms kept me active till the end.

I couldn’t define a more enriching experience for consulting than this. Great Insights into the industry and the firms and a chance to meet the representatives from these firms. Definitely one of the best boot camps on my list!