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!”


Yes, This Is Another Post About The P&G Case Competition

Thursday October 5th, 2009 was a very exciting day for the Fisher College of Business first year full-time MBA students… our first official case competition! For those not in the know, case competitions are basically the main battleground for intercollegiate MBA superiority… it used to be dodge-ball, but the AACSB decided that there wasn’t much academic merit to that. The basics of a case competition are as follows:

  • Create a team of students (usually four)
  • Read the business case (these can be between 2 and 50 pages)
  • Identify the issues
  • Develop a plan to resolve the issues
  • Prepare a presentation to communicate your plan for the “board of directors” – panel of judges

(taken from the Copenhagen Business School, “What is a Case Competition?” Website)

Our case competition was no different. Sponsored by Procter & Gamble (aka P&G as the cool kids call it), we were tasked to gather a team of four people, hopefully including someone who knew something about finance. The group I was in was lacking on the financials, but we sure made up for it in spirit and earnestness! The night before the competition, we tried to prepare for what might come up… but we had know idea what to prepare for since this was a completely new experience, all we knew was that there would be something involving a product that P&G produced. So we spent some time reviewing P&G marketing strategy and consumer insight. We also looked at some of the successful presentation PowerPoints provided by my mentor in the MBA Marketing Association and all around nice guy Mike Hrostoski to see what was deemed important information. Looking back, this may have been overkill, but I think it really helped us when the competition actually started.

The day of the competition arrived and the P&G representatives gave us the background and mission: Sell more Crest Whitestrips! Then they shot a pistol in the air and we all scampered off to our respective rooms to case compete. I’m kidding about the pistol shooting, but everyone did move pretty fast, unlike other case competitions that could last anywhere from 24-36 hours, the P&G case alloted only 4 hours. That is 4 hours to define what the problems facing Crest Whitestrips are, generate ideas for a solution, refine the solution, create financial and make the presentation. As anyone who has made a presentation before knows, that itself can take up to 4 hours. Needless to say it was a really intense 4 hours. I won’t bore you with the details, but here is the board from our room when we were done:

Our P&G Competition Board
Our P&G Competition Board

I thought we developed some very good ideas, including a high-end Crest Whitestrips dispenser ala the iPod dispensers you see in classy places. The next day were presentations each of the 13 teams gave 15 minute presentations to a “board” consisting of P&G representatives and marketing professors. Everybody’s presentations were great! It is amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it for 4 hours. There wasn’t a dud in the bunch, it shows just how great Fisher students are. It was also great to see people present who you never get to see present because they aren’t in your EPI section. I got to design our team’s presentation, which was fun, but very stressful, you can see it here: Team one PNG CASE COMPETITION Slides. In the end we ended up winning, which was really exciting and a big surprise because every team was so good. But not a bad end to my first case competition, looking forward to the next time, with even more time! Also big/major props to my team 1 case team mates: Brian Blewitt, Prasant Balakrishnan and Nancy Dadas, you guys are the best! (PS: everyone who competed in the P&G case competition got goodie bags with Crest Whitestrips Advance Seal in them. Having previously used their strips and been disappointed, these Advance Seal ones, change everything! they are amazing, go get them. thank you.)