Almost 10 years after graduating from the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Brand and Product Management, Amy (Maier) Hoffman can still remember the inside jokes her and her classmates developed on their international trips.
Now based in Cincinnati as the Brand Manager for Metamucil in North America at Procter & Gamble, Hoffman (CBPM c/o 2010) says her experience in Madison has allowed her to provide for her family and develop lasting relationships with her classmates.
“Going to Wisconsin was such a great choice,” Hoffman said. “I got the job that I wanted, an experience I won’t forget and the skills to succeed. I feel really lucky to have found the Center.”
Hoffman answered a few questions on her current life and the role the CBPM has played in it.
What are your job responsibilities? What does a typical day look like?
I am in charge of making sure the U.S. and Canadian Metamucil businesses hit our topline (sales) and bottom line (profit) numbers each year and ensure the on-going health of the brand for years to come. There is no typical day! I go to a TON of meetings to make sure the entire multifunctional team is on track towards our goals. I go to initiative meetings to make sure our new innovation is on track, lead communications meetings to create our advertising and PR programs, and meet with finance and leadership to go through our numbers. When not in meetings, I am pulling sales data to see how we are doing, checking in with our sales people out in the field and putting together strategy or sell slides for leadership, for the sales field, for retailers or for the multifunctional team. I also try to get out to stores as much as possible to see our brands and competition in context and go to research to talk with our consumers (and potential consumers).
What drew you to brand and product management? What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I worked in Media (placing ads) prior to the Center so I had interacted with “the clients” and I knew that I wanted to be one because I saw them as the hub of the wheel owning every aspect of a brand. When you are on the outside at the agency, you get to see some of the picture but I wanted to see it all. I also really love branding and the power of a well-positioned product and I wanted to be a part of creating that magic.
What are the greatest benefits you’ve received from graduating from the Center for Brand and Product Management?
I am most grateful for the relationships that I made while at the Center. I know that I can lean on anyone from the Center if I need a quick answer to a business question or if I am hunting for a new job. We are a tight-knit group and that is different from most of my peers who went to bigger programs. I recently went to a consumer trade show and it was awesome to get together with the CBPM people all out there. It was like no time had passed and we were right back at the Center together. Of course, I am also grateful to have a great job and the skillset, experiences and connections that keep me marketable even if I don’t stay at P&G forever.
Looking back, what are some of your best memories of your MBA experience at Wisconsin? How has your experience impacted your life today?
I really loved my international trips because they allowed me to see life and business in other parts of the world and to develop deeper relationships with my classmates. We went to Turkey and to Argentina/Chile while I was there and I remember how excited I was to go to stores that I had heard of (like Carrefour) and check out their CPG offerings. I also still remember the case studies that we talked through with companies while on those trips and I think back now and realize how awesome it was that companies took time to visit with us. The memories from those trips impact me today because they opened my eyes to business around the world and also instilled lifelong memories with people that I will always think of as friends.
What does the world need from brand managers today?
Long term-strategy and the ability to bring ideas to life by leveraging the skills of the team around them and the resources of the company they are in.
Is there any advice you would give to a recent grad who is just starting out?
You will want to hang back when you first start working, but don’t be shy. Sometimes the new person has the best view because they are not too deep in. Your opinion always matters and the best brand managers are those who believe in their ideas and champion them.