Each year as the first – and notoriously rigorous – term comes to a close, the Career Development Office (CDO), in conjunction with student clubs, organizes multiple Career Treks. The Treks offer a unique opportunity for first-year students to travel as a group, visiting sought after companies and speaking with key employees. So far, over 70% of the Class of 2015 has gone on one of three Career Treks; Marketing, Finance (both in New York), and Consulting (Boston). In the next few weeks, students, as well as the CDO, will share their experiences.
Marketing Trek (New York City)
Lizzie Napier (T’91) is an Associate Director in Tuck’s CDO, and specializes in the consumer goods, retail and social enterprise industries. She is a marketing strategy expert and social entrepreneur. Post-Tuck, she led the development and launch of several new products for General Mills and Welch’s and directed $5-60 million campaigns with Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB and Arnold Worldwide. She went on to lead a variety of organizations to aid the nation of Georgia in its transition to democracy and a free market economy.
Six weeks into my new job as Associate Director in the CDO, I ventured to NYC with 27 Tuckies interested in marketing careers. Unfortunately, I got fogged in at the West Lebanon, NH airport, so missed the Facebook visit. It was a very easy trip otherwise. With a total transit time from Hanover to downtown NYC of 2 ½ hours. The next stop was Ogilvy’s office which overlooks the river and the Intrepid museum. It was a great opportunity to familiarize students with agencies and help them prep for marketing interviews. Ogilvy represents 15 of the 30 biggest brands and has 22k employees with clients including Amex, Nestle, British Air, Unilever and IHG, Coke, and Kimberly Clark. They have won more Effie’s than any other agency. Lucy T’04 and her colleague Ben, who heads strategy with 1500 strategists reporting to him, were our hosts. Thursday morning started early at Colgate with several Tuck alums greeting and touring us. That was followed by Amex with a panel of seven Tuck alumni to welcome students. Friday morning’s visit to Diageo was memorable in no small part due to the phenomenal bar and Moscow Mules at 11:30am. There, we heard from Amy T’04, who encouraged students to lean on her. She really wants to see more Tuckies at Diageo!
Before Tuck, Nancy (T’15) graduated from Tufts University with a BA in International Relations in 2009 and spent four years working for Fidelity Investments in Boston. Nancy spent two years in Fidelity’s asset management business and two years in its internal strategy consulting group, Fidelity Business Consulting. She is exploring opportunities in marketing and brand management, is a Tuck Forte Fellow and an active member in Tuck’s Marketing and Women in Business clubs.
Well, that was one crazy but awesome week! We finished our last final at noon on Tuesday and by 2pm I was driving with three friends from Hanover down to New York City for the Marketing Trek. There were about 25 of us total and had 6 company visits lined up: Facebook, Colgate, American Express, Ogilvy & Mather, Diageo, and Reckitt Benckiser. I was excited because the trek included a mix of companies that would and would not come on campus through on-campus recruiting, so this was also a chance to start building relationships with the companies we would pursue through off-campus recruiting.
So here is something they tell you when you come to Tuck, but I learned is actually true on the Trek: Tuckies love Tuckies! These companies have a lot going on and the people there are really busy, but at each and every company the Tuckies took a lot of time to welcome us, answer all our questions, give us tips and insight into the internship and full-time hiring processes, and give us a real feel for what working there is like. A great example is Colgate. Two recent Tuckies who are part of Colgate’s development program organized the visit, and they went above and beyond. We started with breakfast and an introduction from a Vice President and General Manager for US Personal Care. He has been with Colgate for over 20 years and has worked all over the world, so hearing his perspective on the company, its people and how the industry is changing was really interesting. We then heard from lots of other Tuckies and non-Tuckies because they wanted us to get a sense of the people outside of just the Tuck graduates in the company. We heard from someone in the development program (what we would apply for) about her day-to-day and the projects she is working on; we met with someone who works on new product innovation and learned how Colgate conceptualizes and brings a product to market, heard from another person from Shopper Marketing, whose job is to work with large, top retailers and figure out how to manage the brand’s in-store presence so customers choose Colgate over competitors. We finished with a brief panel with lots of Tuckies for other questions. I was blown away by how willing and excited everyone was to have us. It makes sense – we get to know them, and they get to know us and hopefully attract the best applicants.
This kind of reception was pretty standard for each company in terms of excitement and schedule, but what really made the difference overall was being IN each company and experiencing the culture. When you see the way the desks are organized, and the posters and post-it art on the walls in Facebook you start to really understand what the culture is about and who fits in there. When you learn that Diageo has some of the best bartenders in NYC on its staff and you get to drink a Moscow Mule while learning about their brands, you understand the people there are really happy and love their work. When your hosts describe how the organization is aligned and what career paths in the company typically (if there is a typical) are, you get a sense of whether or not this appeals to you. This is the stuff that is so valuable but you can’t really understand by simply reading about the company. We also had Lizzie from the Career Development Office there on each visit, and let me tell you, this was great. She asked the questions we were all thinking but did not necessarily want to ask. Things like… what is compensation like in the short and long terms and how does this compare to its peers? Since many of us also work with her one-on-one as part of our career search, now she also has a better sense of the companies we are recruiting with and a perspective on fit.
After the three days meeting with a broad range of companies and learning about what “marketing” means to each, I have a good sense of what kind of corporate culture and what degree of program structure I prefer. The next step is figuring out which companies to pursue and keeping in touch with the people we met while in New York. Some other classmates are organizing another marketing trek to Boston in a few weeks, so the learning will continue!
Email us to suggest blog topics or ask a question.