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12/22/2014

Marketing Executive One-on-One Coaching: An MBA Student’s Perspective

The two-day coaching program inspired Sydney Chernish, MBA ’16, to surround herself with smart, like-minded people who will push her to excellence


Marketing Executive One-on-One Coaching: An MBA Student’s Perspective

By Sydney Chernish, MBA '16

After finishing two weeks that were jam-packed with Battle of the Brands, midterms and corporate briefings, participating in the Marketing Executive One-on-One Coaching program was a welcome break from our usual madness. This annual mentoring program, hosted by Warren Ellish ’77, MBA ’78, visiting senior lecturer of marketing and president and CEO of Ellish Marketing Group, brings top marketing executives back to campus to mentor Johnson MBAs focused on marketing. The opportunity to interact with leading marketing executives as well as the break in routine enabled us to take a step back and reflect on the bigger picture of why we’re here at business school.

I knew I would have the opportunity to interact with accomplished, executive-level marketers by participating in the Marketing Executive One-on-One Coaching. What I did not anticipate was how incredibly kind and invested these executives would be in our personal development and future success. For two days, 36 executives took time out of their careers (or retirement in a few cases) to come to Ithaca to participate in panel discussions, one-on-one coaching sessions, Q&A forums, and, of course, lots of good food and conversation.

I was scheduled to have individual conversations with three executives. We spent those hours chatting about their past experiences, some of their favorite projects, what they value in an employee, and what they think makes a good marketer. During this time, each one also strove to understand my career aspirations and what was important to my personal development. Based on our conversations, they each gave me advice on my career as well as how to craft my story. Each of the executives brought unique backgrounds, experiences, and points of view to our exchanges, but one common theme surfaced throughout all of our conversations: each executive stressed the importance of finding the right company fit. They credited their career successes to finding a culture where they could thrive and grow.   

The importance of culture was not a new concept to me; fit and culture were two of my main criteria in choosing which business school to attend, and why I ultimately chose to come to Johnson. However, as we’ve all become increasingly stressed out about finding a summer internship, I’ve noticed a tendency to broaden my search criteria in order to be sure I would have something rather than the right thing for me. The executives’ echoes about fit were a welcome reminder at the right time; I recommitted to putting fit as a top criteria for my job selection. I want to surround myself with smart, like-minded people who will push me to excellence, while building a network that will last for the rest of my life.

Next year, I will encourage each and every MBA student focused on marketing to take advantage of this unique and empowering program. I hope that they will also have the opportunity to step back from the busy life of the core to gain some much-needed perspective and to enjoy the talented executives who comes to campus to participate in the Marketing Executive One-on-One Coaching program.

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