Our applied learning class, Current Topics, has fully immersed the MLI students, myself included, in all things marketing. These experiences have led to many Ah-Ha moments. For those unfamiliar, or simply needing a reminder, an Ah-Ha moment is a little marketing golden nuggets insight. All semester this course filled with Ah-Has has been one of the most useful and exciting opportunities we’ve had as MBA students. Kristin, Alan, and Giustina have pooled together all their industry resources and knowledge to give us students exposure to marketing insights that will give us Badgers a heads up on the competition as we look to find employment after graduation.
I want to take this time to share a little about the panels, information sessions, and fun we’ve had thus far. Here is a brief overview of some of the content we’ve covered this semester:
- 2nd year Internship Presentations
- Alumni Panel
- Intuit Case Study
- SCJ Learning Experience
- P&G New Brand Launch
2nd Year Internship Presentations
For our first applied learning we got to hear from the second years about their internship experiences. This was a time for the second years to collaborate and learn from each other and gave the first years a target to aim at this upcoming summer.
The internship presentations provided three main takeaways. First, the companies’ trust in their interns to solve these challenging business problems impressed the first-year students greatly. Second, the impact that our classmates, just one year our senior, have had on those issues. And third, the structured framework the MBA experience has given them to flourish professionally.
Each company trusted our second years to solve a real issue or find a way to meet a need for the company. This filled the room with excitement. That trust shows that UW MBAs are equipped to be valuable assets in the workforce, not only after graduation but right away after year one. In the presentation slides, proprietary information was removed and findings were blurred, but some interns shared that their recommendations were being executed by the company.
After watching all the presentations and asking questions in class, it was apparent that each person has a foundation of knowledge and the frameworks to solve challenging problems. This was a huge takeaway. In discussions with the second years they elaborated on how much they’ve grown from where they were as first years. This provided some comfort because they assured all of us first years, we’d get to their level of growth in by our summer internships.
During another Ah-Ha filled applied learning we heard from alumni working as marketers across the country in many different fields. Some of the main takeaways from the alumni panel came from networking conversations we got to have at the reception in the MLI space.
In these discussions we talked about the scope of marketing for a company and the role that brand managers play within the business. Alums discussed, that in many cases, what excited them most about their role is the strategy of advancing sales in a particular product category over their personal interest in the product. I was told that in some cases a detachment from the product could be helpful in marketing a product in an unbiased way.
This was particularly helpful because it opened our minds to be curious about working at different companies and widened the horizon for potential internship applications. Through these conversations, the class saw that fulfillment and success in an individual’s future career can come from a plethora of different sources within their working role.
Intuit Case Study
Our first company run class we had this year was information and a case study with Intuit. There were many Ah-Ha moments from the Intuit applied learning. But the one that stands out the most was the emphasis on collaboration across different functions. I enjoyed working with students from the Tech Strategy and Product Management specialization, who joined in this class. They brought great insights on how to solve complex issues from a product understanding.
Interacting with other MBA students across specialties in a problem-solving context is great preparation for what it’s going to be like working on projects during our career. What the team at Intuit did very well was create engaging content that made the case both exciting to participate in and learn from. I enjoyed hearing how my classmates tackled the issue of aligning customer reviews with the product retention rating.
P&G New Brand Launch
For another Ah-Ha filled case study we had P&G present to the class a challenging new product launch. The students had to come up with solutions to promote growth for this new product. One of the main Ah-Has from this challenge is the leverage that big companies like P&G have when launching new products. Voost (the new product) belongs in a product category (health and vitamins) that P&G hasn’t played in. Although the newly acquired Australian effervescent have been underperforming, Voost has managed to earn a presence in retailers. P&G’s record of creating new products and owning category leading brands shows they have a special process of establishing products and creating narratives that simply win. This case piqued student curiosity on how companies create branding processes that weave all their brands together with a compatible overarching ethos.
One thing that’s great about Ah-Ha moments is they don’t have to end after you leave the UW-Madison. Having new Ah-Ha’s is a part of being a professional. As marketers our career will be market with new learning opportunities, insights, career opportunities, and fun experiences that will always keep us saying, “Ah-Ha”.