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Marketing Executives Make Their Mark on Career Coaching Program

03/07/2013

Industry Leaders Share Advice, Help Students Navigate Career Paths


Last week, more than 20 chief marketing executives visited Johnson for the sixth annual Marketing Executive One-on-One Coaching Program to share their insights with students who are pursuing strategic marketing careers. Given the wide range of paths that MBA students can plan to take upon graduation, gaining feedback early in the process from seasoned executives can prove to be invaluable.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to learn from top executives in the marketing world and establish contacts and mentors to support one's future career,” said Tom Stokes, MBA ’13, who will be pursuing brand management full-time upon graduation.

Similarly, Valerie Charls, MBA ’14, applauded the program’s structure and the candid feedback the executives provided, noting that they offered a clear definition of what success looks like, regardless of industry or company. “They shared detailed advice from their own experiences, which will help me design my roadmap for success,” Charls said.

Throughout the course of the two-day program, students participated in several different events with the executives. Among them: a cocktail reception, one-on-one private meetings with two different executives, a luncheon, and a Q&A panel.

Warren Ellish, visiting senior lecturer of marketing and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group, founded the program after learning how fruitful his career advice proved to be for Johnson’s Strategic Marketing Immersion students. This year’s program features the largest student participation rate, and, for the first time, included nine of Cornell’s undergraduate students. It also included a new faculty and marketing executive forum, which provided the opportunity for Johnson faculty members and the executives to discuss current issues in marketing.

“Each year the program becomes a little bigger with more executives involved, and we add new elements,” said Ellish of the program’s continued growth.

Purposefully selected because their companies are not currently recruiting on-campus, these marketing executives engage in open conversations with students and share valuable counsel that most would not have access to otherwise. “This is a truly unique program for students … they have the opportunity to develop long-lasting relationships and mentorships,” said Ellish. “No two meetings are alike.”

Many participating executives noted how much they enjoyed the event and how impressed they were with the students they met. As Hayes Roth, chief marketing officer for Landor, put it: “The students were each truly inspiring to me … how poised, bright, thoughtful, and genuinely appreciative they all were. Makes it all worthwhile.”

Stokes, who has participated in the program both years, noted the benefits if offers students, regardless of where they may be in the MBA internship or full-time career search process. “In contrast to last year, when I asked about how to evaluate different companies and how to succeed in interviews, [this year] I focused on how to succeed in my early career and what choices I should consider five or 10 years into it,” Stokes said.

Bill De Groot, MBA ’13, also participated in the program last year as a first-year student and was pleasantly surprised to learn that the executives with whom he met then remembered him this year. “They were interested in hearing about my career plans,” said De Groot, who will enter brand management at a leading consumer packaged goods company upon graduation. “Learning from these executives is an incredible experience, and I look forward to maintaining these relationships in the future.”

Jack Jensen, MBA ’14, who also participated in the program, wrote a thoughtful post about it for his Johnson blog: Marketing Executive Coaching Weekend: An Unforgettable Experience.

The participating executives represent varying industries and marketing leadership roles, and some earned degrees from top-ranked business schools other than Johnson. But their passion for marketing and supporting tomorrow’s industry leaders that connects them all and brings them back year after year.

— Pamela M. DeCoste
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