Vice president of consumer experience, Cresco Labs
Tuck teaches negotiations and people management, and as you become a leader, you quickly realize that your job is actually to coach and train and inspire people.
Cris Rivera loves a good challenge, which is part of what drew him—an avowed city lover and marketing wonk—to Tuck.
“We had a very tight core first-year program,” says Rivera. “The time I had taking courses that I never would have opted to take, working with folks who were actually much stronger in analytics than I am, really allowed me to ramp up fast and made me a stronger contender when I went into the marketing arena.”
“Although the first year was so tough, what made it less draining for me was the opportunity to work in that collaborative group environment, which allowed me to always have constant support to ask questions and learn from others. That type of environment was a win-win for me.”
After Tuck, Rivera tackled more big challenges. At PepsiCo, he worked on marketing the faltering Tropicana brand, and at MillerCoors, he promoted Coors Light in the Hispanic market, work that garnered a prestigious marketing award.
Now, as director of Miller Lite, he is tackling the double-digit decline of the light-beer category—a slump fueled by the popularity of craft beers, imports, and spirits—by reinventing Miller Lite, once seen as the cheap, watery champion of fraternity parties. Since 2012, Rivera has spearheaded a transformation of the brand’s point-of-sale materials from cheap and “sophomoric” to classic and understated, brought back the original white can, and led a marketing campaign presenting Miller Lite as the original light beer and a high-quality choice. Now, light beer sales as a whole have rebounded and are expected to grow for the first time in 15 years.
“It was that type of rigor that I got at Tropicana and through training at Tuck that allowed me to be successful in changing MillerCoors from a marketing organization only to a GM mentality,” says Rivera. “Tuck allowed me to learn the fundamentals of how you attack a new problem, because every problem is pretty multidimensional: What are the finance implications? What are the supply chain implications? What are the sales implications? I feel like stretching myself has made me a better person.”
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