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Success story: Thomas Lloyd lands one of 6 slots in top PepsiCo jobs program

Areas of Study , Marketing Success Stories | Apr 23, 2012 |

by Elizabeth Anderson (FCRH ’13)

With graduation approaching, the Class of 2012 is heading off in every direction: graduate school, the workforce, or maybe home to do a little soul searching. For Thomas Lloyd (GSB ’12), that direction is back home to Dallas, Texas — but for more than soul-searching. There, he will begin PepsiCo’s competitive Pepsi Beverage Company Campus Development Program, designed to train future leaders and fast-track them into management positions.

Let there be no doubt about how competitive this program is. Thomas was one of six applicants chosen from a pool of more than 400.

The road to PepsiCo began at Fordham. Back in October, Thomas attended a marketing career-development event on campus where Stephen Schultz, PepsiCo’s director of food service marketing, spoke about the company’s philosophy of “performance with a purpose.” Thomas approached Mr. Schultz afterward to convey his interest in PepsiCo. One week and several connections later, he was selected to begin the application process.

PepsiCo flew Thomas to Dallas, where he and 30 other candidates went through a series of two-on-one interviews, panel presentations, mock sales scenarios and résumé presentations. Thomas looks back on these two intense days: “You could tell from the minute you stepped into the room you were being interviewed … they wanted to see how you interact with people.”

Having spent weeks getting ready, Thomas could handle everything they threw at him, including quizzing him about the name of the CEO. The preparation paid off: Thomas received an offer less then 24 hours after his second interview.

Thomas credits his success simply to that preparation. Even if you know that three rounds of interviews lie ahead, he says, prepare for each as if it is the last: “Do not prepare to lose; prepare to win.” A level of self-awareness is also necessary to succeed, in terms of knowing what you are good at and what your skill sets are. Thomas, for example, knew that he didn’t have a “behind-the-desk” personality, and instead sought out a career in sales that would allow him to be active and engaged with customers.

Thomas describes his reaction to PepsiCo’s offer as “over the top,” a feeling similar to the one he had when he signed his scholarship offer to play varsity football here at Fordham. His athlete mentality is something that stuck with him throughout the PepsiCo application process, where the odds — 400 to six — were against him. He also could call upon the personal fortitude he developed as a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. Originally from New Orleans, Thomas and his family were forced to relocate to Dallas after the storm. As devastating as it was, he credits the experience with making him the person he is today and with bringing him here to Fordham.

Next month, Thomas will graduate with everything he strived for: a degree in one hand and a job in the other.

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