Erin Guthrie is a rising MBA2 and interning at Johnson & Johnson this summer. She is specializing in Marketing and Strategy and is a member of the Graduate Marketing Association and the Stern Healthcare Association.
NYU Stern’s “Summer Internship Series” sheds light into Sternies’ internship experiences. Posts are written by rising MBA2s who are currently working at their summer internship.
I always thought I wanted to work in pharmaceutical marketing. I wrote my admissions essay to NYU Stern about securing an internship at a major healthcare company. I was laser focused on one goal, and then fall recruiting began.
Prior to Stern, I was an account manager at an international public relations firm, handling pharmaceutical and medical device accounts. I loved everything about my job, especially when I had the opportunity to work across other agencies to develop a well-rounded marketing campaign for our clients. I discovered my passion for uncovering insights and the fun of building marketing strategies to bring products to life. I knew healthcare marketing was for me and so I pursued an MBA with the intention of going into pharmaceutical brand management.
When fall recruiting began, I was exposed to the wide range of career opportunities NYU Stern unlocks for you. Beyond traditional healthcare opportunities, I sat in corporate presentations for fragrance companies, food and beverage, luxury and consumer packaged goods. In particular, I met with the CPG teams at large healthcare companies and saw how they bring over-the-counter products to market with creativity and reach far beyond the possibilities available in pharma.
My healthcare background, aligned with my love of marketing and creative thinking led me to lean into CPG recruiting. I applied and interviewed with a number of consumer healthcare companies and eventually secured an internship with Johnson & Johnson, as part of the brand management team for LISTERINE.
At J&J, I have expanded my marketing capabilities beyond what I thought was possible. I have been tasked with real business problems and will be expected to deliver strategic solutions that will be implemented across the brand. In such a competitive landscape, you’re constantly pushed to think outside the box and explore new ways of doing things.
Additionally, Johnson & Johnson, like most CPG companies, has a structured internship program that incorporates training, mentorship and social events that work together to make your summer an enriching experience. The culture at J&J reminds me a lot of why I chose Stern: it is fiercely competitive and strives the be the best in the industry, but within the walls of the company, there is an overwhelming sense of support and collaboration to help everyone excel together.
I never thought my MBA experience would take me to building a digital strategy for mouthwash, but I am glad it did.
As a Graduate Ambassador, I also have the privilege of fielding many of the questions and concerns applicants have while applying. Because I’ve begun to notice some trends, here’s a new series of blog posts to help answer your questions.
This time I have with me Nevena Georgieva. Nev and I met at LAUNCH, where we discovered that we were in the same block (Block 2!) and bonded over our liberal arts backgrounds. Ever since then we’ve taken a handful of classes together, gone to many Beer Blasts together, and traveled as far as South Africa together. Nev is originally from Bulgaria before she moved to the U.S. to get her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English. Prior to Stern, Nev was Associate Digital Marketing Manager at Penguin Random House here in New York, where she worked on digital advertising and promotional content for the books of many celebrated authors, including Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami. She interned at Bayer in brand management over the summer and will be returning there full-time after graduation. Here’s what she had to say:
Thanks for joining me, Nev! Let’s jump right in. What do you think makes Stern a great place for marketing?
For me, it was all the great companies that recruit on campus. As someone who recruited for CPG marketing, I was able to take advantage of all the companies that came for corporate presentations and interviewed us right here on campus. A lot of these companies are sponsors of the Graduate Marketing Association (GMA)—Bayer, Colgate, Dannon, AmEx, Mars, J&J, and RB—and there are other awesome companies that recruit here, such as Phillips, Verizon, Hasbro, Pfizer, and more. A lot of them are also in the tri-state area, so if you want to stick around post-Stern, this is a great place to be.
Can you elaborate on the opportunities available for non-CPG marketing?
At Stern we have the advantage of being at the center of New York City, so you can really easily recruit on campus but also on your own time. There have been classmates of mine who have landed internships at places like ESPN, Spotify, Salesforce, and Interbrand. Usually those opportunities are available in the Spring, so they come after the CPG marketing recruiting season in the Fall. Through LinkedIn and the Office of Career Development (OCD) you can also get in touch with alumni and learn more about non-CPG marketing and other opportunities in NYC that interest you.
How else does being at Stern and in NYC work to one’s advantage?
As I mentioned, a lot of the CPG companies that are our sponsors come to multiple events on campus, but they also often have “Days in the Life” that are held at the companies’ offices. So students get the opportunity to have an immersive day at the company and meet with alumni and senior marketing executives, learn about what CPG marketing is like at the company, and gauge whether the company would be a great fit for them. And so the proximity to these companies is a great advantage because students can easily fit that into their schedules, instead of flying to different companies around the country. The people at Stern have also been a great resource. First-year MBAs can take advantage of the GMA’s mentorship program, which pairs first-years with second-years who have been through the process, and over the winter break in January I participated in what we call Mock Madness, which is a week of marathon-like interview prep [between classmates] that I highly recommend.
On that note, what has been your personal experience with these opportunities?
Last year, my mentor was instrumental in helping me translate the work experience on my resume into terms that CPG marketers would best understand. Bayer also had a Day in the Life, and that’s one of the ways I knew that I really wanted to work there. I was able to see the offices. I was able to learn about specific marketing campaigns, what it’s like to work with advertising agencies, and I had a really excellent experience that led me to my internship with them. Their Day in the Life was also a really great representation of my internship, so I really think it’s important that students have the opportunity to engage with companies as much as possible and attend as many events as possible to really get a sense of what the best fit for them would be.
How about the marketing classes at Stern? Any that stand out to you?
Of course. We have one of the best marketing professors in the country, Professor [Scott] Galloway, and he has a class [Brand Strategy] in which, as a group, you create and present a brand strategy for an existing company. It was a really interactive experience, and a lot of groups went above and beyond in his class to engage with the rest of us during their presentations. Some groups brought in their company’s products like yogurt and beer, and a group came in dressed in Athleta clothing provided by the company. Also, I would say that this class was really great preparation for what I experienced during my summer. It really helped me build these important strategic and analytical skills, and taught me how to think like a marketer, so I recommend the class. Professor Galloway is also a really incredible speaker, which you might be able to experience by visiting the class.
And have you found other classes at Stern helpful to your interests?
Absolutely. CPG marketing is not really your traditional marketing job. It’s very much about general management, so I would really recommend for students who are interested in marketing to take a number of classes in different areas, including finance, strategy, and management. I really recommend classes like Leadership in Organizations taught by Professor [Dolly] Chugh, Strategy by Professor [Sonia] Marciano, Corporate Finance by Professor [Aswath] Damodaran, and Managing Growing Companies by Professor [Glenn] Okun. Being in CPG marketing is really about being the CEO of a brand. As a brand manager, you make decisions about your brand every day—pricing, advertising, retail decisions—and so you need to be well-rounded in your knowledge. Stern helps with that.
I want to remind our prospectives that you can actually visit some of these classes by signing up for them on our Visit Stern page. Meanwhile, I hear you have a conference coming up.
Yes! So actually the GMA Conference [on November 11] is one of the best events that a prospective student can attend to learn about marketing at Stern and in general. This year, I’m the Co-VP of Conference, so I’m in charge of organizing it. If prospective students would like to attend, they can reach out to our VP of Admissions Megan Sirras (firstname.lastname@example.org) and attend the conference for free. There will be two amazing keynotes, so students can hear from VP of Strategy at Squarespace Andrew Bartholomew, who will be conversing with one of our amazing professors here at Stern, Luke Williams, Executive Director of the W.R. Berkley Innovation Lab. There’s also going to be a recruiting event for MBA1s, but running concurrently will be a “Beyond CPG Marketing” panel, where prospective students can learn about what the marketing function is like in industries outside of consumer packaged goods. Prospective students can then participate in a networking lunch and talk to current students and alumni, so it’s a great networking opportunity for them. In the afternoon, there will be multiple panels, where students can learn about topics like “The Rise of Visual Marketing” and “Digital Natives of Generation Z,” and there will be brand representation from companies such as GrubHub, Google, Uber, Facebook, POPSUGAR, Estee Lauder, and others. This year we’re launching a new segment called “3×15,” where we really want to give attendees a sense of what it’s like to put together a marketing campaign, so we’ll have different case studies from different speakers: a Creative Director at Razorfish (a digital advertising agency), the founder of Baked by Melissa, and we’ll hear about multicultural marketing from Shabnam Rezeai, who’s the Co-Founder and President of Big Bad Boo Studios and Oznoz.com. And then we’ll end with our afternoon keynote and networking reception where prospective students can continue to meet sponsors, alumni, and current students.
Thanks, Nev! As a parting note, can you tell prospective students what to do if they wish to learn more about marketing at Stern?
I really encourage them to engage with the GMA in general. So look for the GMA website, and you can contact Admissions VP Megan Sirras and schedule a phone call with her. She can answer many of your questions about marketing at Stern and even connect you with other students who can talk to you about specific companies and their experiences at Stern.