How My Ross Experience Is Preparing Me For A Career Switch
By Kaitlyn Beesley-Campos, MBA ’17
I’m a “career-switcher” – coming from civil engineering, designing hydropower and wastewater treatment projects, with my eyes on CPG consumer insights when I finish Ross. This has been a big leap, to say the least.
With this in mind, I came into business school expecting a few things:
- First, I expected to be completely and utterly confused during the first few BE 502: Applied Microeconomics lectures.
- I expected to spend several hours revising resume bullet points to make them relevant to a completely different industry.
- I expected to end the first day of my internship this summer feeling like I was drinking water directly from a firehose.
While the first two have been pretty spot-on, I did manage to avoid the latter thanks to the seven-week MAP project during my second semester at Ross, where I helped develop a strategic business roadmap for PepsiCo that would achieve $100MM+ long-term growth for the company’s SoBe brand.
I was set up for success on day one of my internship because of that experience.
My MAP project for PepsiCo centered on innovation: innovative ideas to breathe life into the SoBe brand, innovative nontraditional research methodology, innovative ways to measure key performance indicators, etc. I selected the project because not only did it give me an opportunity to practice consumer insights, which would end up being my summer internship, but it also allowed me to create my own research methods.
To develop a better understanding of the SoBe brand—including its brand DNA, competitive landscape, and brand loyalists—we traveled as a team to Los Angeles, CA and Portland, OR, both high brand development index regions.
We immersed ourselves in the culture of our target consumers by trend spotting at food, art, and sports venues. We identified macrotrends, both within the beverage category and outside of the category, using an external lens.
We learned the SoBe brand perception of Gen Z consumers with one-on-one street interviews beginning with the question, “What type of person would SoBe be at a party?” A brand persona of a mop-haired skater kid quickly developed.
During my internship at Clorox, I Found myself referring to these experiences and this project time and time again.
I sprinkle conversations with my MAP experience instead of the only thing I knew before coming to Ross—the hydropower industry. I know at least the basics of writing generative questions to gain insights from consumers. I have enough industry awareness to be conversant in the daunting acronym-speak.
My MAP sponsor began our first meeting noting that “this is a business problem, not a marketing problem.” That sentiment resonates loud and clear now.
It was clear when during our first week with PepsiCo we met with teams from across the company (from brand, insights, finance, R&D, supply chain, and legal to portfolio transformation, food service innovation, and trend spotting). And it’s clear now during my internship when I see the same array of factors working together in harmony to ensure brand success.
I learned far more than just consumer insights during the course of MAP, preparing me for an internship in any field and making the firehose of complex business problems I’m going to encounter throughout my new career seem more and more like a manageable, steady drip with each passing day.
Kaitlyn Beesley-Campos is a rising second-year MBA student at Ross. She serves as president of West Coast Forum as well as VP of Education for Michigan Marketing Club. Kaitlyn spent her summer internship at The Clorox Company as an Associate Global Insights Manager.