Marketing yourself on the path to brand management

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If you want to manage a big consumer brand one day, first get a firm grasp on your personal brand.

This was one of the messages delivered by successful recent alumni in the marketing field who acted as panelists for the Career Development Center’s Career Spotlight Series panel on opportunities in brand and product management.

Graduate students who attended the event heard from Beth Deegan, MBA ’05, senior product manager at Applegate; Michael Monteleone, MBA ’09, brand manager for Snuggle at Sun Products Corporation; and Rominna Laraia, MBA ’13, director of U.S. marketing at Shu Uemura Art of Hair.

In addition to speaking candidly about their own rise through the brand-management field, the three fulfilled one of the key functions of the Career Spotlight Series: providing information on what distinguishes a certain niche within an industry.

Brand management, they explained, is akin to being the general manager of a small business, in which you serve as the hub of the wheel that connects the supply chain, finance, research, and sales.

Considering a role in brand management or the marketing field? The panelists offered some advice that you can take with you to your next interview, including stressing the need to differentiate yourself as a candidate — in short, how well can you express your personal brand? — and the benefits of doing enough research on a company that you can customize your answers to that specific firm and role.

In brand management, they said, interviewers consider these skills and traits paramount:

  • Leadership
  • Project management (running a project and meeting deadlines)
  • Analytical skills

Brand management not your bag? Never fear. The panelists offered these words of wisdom that apply to any business student, undergraduate or graduate:

  • Stay on top of industry trends.
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes. Learn, and then move forward.
  • Have confidence in yourself, but also be willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Once you’ve figured out your professional passion, stay focused in your career search.
  • Enjoy business school and immerse yourself in the whole experience.

For graduate careers assistance, visit the Career Development Center. For undergraduate careers help, see the Personal and Professional Development Center.

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