by Angela Lynn, MBA ’13
The splash of sherry sizzled as it kissed the caramelized onion and butternut squash. The aroma of the wine, as it infused the roasted vegetables, was sensational. The finishing touch (and twist!) – a scoop of good vanilla ice cream melted into the concoction, and completed my original creation: Roasted Butternut Squash in a Sweet Cream Sauce.
No, this wasn’t Friday night at home. In fact, I made this dish at my summer MBA internship employer’s test kitchen on a Thursday morning during business hours, in preparation for an intern cook-off competition. Not only was I about to eat ice cream for lunch, but I was tasked to do something creative with it.
This summer, I had the good fortune of working at a leading Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company, which also happens to be one of the largest ice cream manufacturers in the world. CPG companies are facing declining margins as world commodity costs rise and North American price points stagnate. To continue to grow, CPG firms strive to discover new ways of using existing products, in addition to adjusting product portfolios to maximize contribution margin.
As a finance intern, I provided tactical support to the latter goal by creating a tool that spotlights gross margins for each and every one of our products. (All said and done, my tool covered some 20,000 unique SKUs). Not exactly a piece of cake, but drawing upon my accounting and finance background as well as the skills I honed at Johnson, it was an absolutely achievable task.
To be able to apply my technical skillset in an industry I love is indeed a dream come true. The Managerial Finance Immersion was instrumental in turning this dream into reality. Not only did I secure this internship through the Career Management Center’s on-campus recruiting, but upon joining the company I was immediately inducted into a strong Johnson alumni network. Perhaps, combining one’s technical skillsets with her true passion in life is the ultimate recipe for career success.