As the school year comes to a close, the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Analytics & Insights was able to connect with Michael Kirk, a Class of 2010 alumnus. After more than 8 years with Procter & Gamble, Michael is currently an Insights Leader at Intuit on their corporate brand. He was kind enough to share his experience as well as offer advice useful for all current and future alumni:
A.C. Nielsen Center: What are you passionate about?
Michael Kirk: I’m passionate about creating new things and helping grow other people no matter what discipline or function they are in. One of the most rewarding experiences for me was as a marketing teaching assistant for the Wisconsin School of Business. I was able to see students go from not knowing what marketing was to writing intelligently about it and solving case studies by the end of the semester. It was super rewarding and super gratifying to see what the starting point was and what the ending point was.
Nielsen: What has been the most rewarding aspect of working on the Intuit Brand?
Kirk: The most rewarding aspect has been having a relatively small team of individuals charged with creating something from the ground up. The Intuit parent brand only has 4% awareness. They know us by our product brands TurboTax, Quickbooks, and sometimes Mint. For me, it was about creating something that is more about pure branding and meaning.
Nielsen: Once you discovered what you liked to do, how did you pursue obtaining positions that you knew you’d enjoy?
Kirk: When you really love a certain type of work, it will show. Don’t be shy about saying “this is what I want to do.” There were a couple of promotions that I turned down to stay and do the work I wanted to do. At that time, it wasn’t about money. It was about how much I loved the work and that I could make a bigger difference in my current work. When you are doing that type of work and develop a unique skill set, you start to become known for it and develop equity for it. People want you to do that work for them. I became sought out which was a really gratifying feeling.
Nielsen: What brought you to the Wisconsin School of Business and the A.C. Nielsen Center?
Kirk: I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin and had a great experience. I loved the school, the campus, and everything about the city. I was looking at the Brand Center and the A.C. Nielsen Center. I asked myself “what am I naturally good at?” I am more of an adviser, and I like to be able to influence the work. That naturally pushed me towards the Nielsen Center.
Nielsen: How did you take some of your experiences at the Wisconsin School of Business into the leadership position your currently have?
Kirk: There is always an opportunity to help and develop. One of the most important pieces of business that is often overlooked is your writing and communication. How simple and straightforward can that be to be able to get things to be done in a timely manner. Always ask yourself, “Is there a simpler way to say this?” You don’t have to sound smart. You have to be understood.
Nielsen: If you could give current MBA students one piece of advice, what would it be?
Kirk: Enjoy your time with one another. You can always think about your future and what companies you are going to, but really focus on being at school and being present. It is a special two years and you won’t get it back. Allow yourself to be content and happy with where you are. Be present, be there, and be what the Wisconsin MBA is.