What were you doing before the MBA program?
Prior to the MBA program, I was working at Target on the Target.com side of the company for five years. I was primarily working on the merchandising side of the business as a business analyst and buyer planning manager. In this role, I learned that I loved being able to see the results of the work directly in the business, but I also learned that I was passionate about the consumer and why they were buying what they were buying. This is ultimately what led me to coming back to school and specializing in consumer insights.
Can you tell me what your career has looked like since graduating the MBA program?
I have been working at General Mills for the last six and a half years. I started in a central, “internal consultant” role where my projects focused on social listening capabilities and understanding both the Gen Z and multicultural consumers to help guide brands in these areas. Following that role, I went to CPW in Switzerland, which is General Mills’ joint venture with Nestle to sell cereal internationally, where I gained a ton of brand experience and global communication experiences. Currently, I am the Omnichannel Insights Manager, where I focus on working with brands to help build their channel strategies in a more integrated way in a world where all of our channels are interacting with one another.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my current role is being able to shape and build the role into what I think will be the most impactful for the business. I feel empowered in my role to shape it in a way that will have the most impact, and it’s rewarding to work with brands and see the brands take action on the aspects of the business I am working with them on.
What is the exciting project you have worked on at General Mills?
When I was working as a Gen Z expert, I had the opportunity to put together an inspiration day for the entire marketing function to help shape how the organization was going to think about Gen Z consumers. I brought in expert speakers, brought in Gen Z students for the teams to interact with in emersion rooms, and had various activities, media, and foods that related closely to the Gen Z consumer. It was fun to get the whole team together and get the team inspired about the next generation while putting that consumer at the heart of it.
What is the alumni network like at General Mills?
There is a strong alumni network at General Mills, which was incredibly helpful when I first started my role at the company. They are always a safe space to go and ask questions about various projects and are always willing to provide feedback and input. There’s just a natural connection amongst all Nielsen alumni, which helps connect us across different areas of the consumer insights team at General Mills and feels like a built-in support system. Because I found it helpful when I began my career at General Mills, I try and pay it forward with the next group of Nielsen students coming into the organization.
How do you think the A.C Nielsen center prepared you for the roles you’ve had?
The applied learnings at the Nielsen Center are second to none. Kristin does an amazing job of bringing the industry into the center to show you what’s really going on, what’s new and upcoming, and to get students connected with the alumni. The program gives you a great of what insights jobs are really like and the types of projects you would be working on. There is so much exposure to the industry and people in the industry so as a career switcher, this was one of the biggest benefits.
What advice would you give a current student?
First, take advantage of and enjoy the time that you have in school because you will never have that time again. You are lucky to have two years to take advantage of the time and people and the position that you’re in where you can just explore. Take this opportunity to get exposed to as many different things as possible, and the things you are interested in. It’s incredibly valuable. It’s easy to get caught up in all of the “tasks” you have to do, but make sure that you take time to explore and have fun.
My second piece of advice is to try and do some sort of global experience while you’re in school. These global experiences open your eyes and possibilities to so much more than Wisconsin and the Midwest. For me, it was one of the most valuable experiences of the MBA program so I would recommend that students try and take advantage of this opportunity.