PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi ’80 Delivers Job Talk
A representative of PepsiCo spoke at Yale SOM on November 2, 2006, as
part of the school’s on-campus recruiting program. SOM hosts dozens of
such job talks each year, so, why is this one a big story? In this case,
the representative was the recently appointed president and CEO of PepsiCo
and the most powerful woman in business (according to Fortune magazine):
Yale SOM alumna Indra Nooyi ‘80.
Nooyi said that she always enjoys coming back to SOM, because she believes that her two years here were a truly transformative experience. “I have warm feelings about the school and I’m delighted to be here,” she told the 100 or so students who had gathered in the school’s GM Room.
Nooyi, who previously served as president and CFO of the $33 billion company, next launched into an overview of PepsiCo’s operations with the quip, “It’s just my 33rd day on the job.” She outlined the reasons why she believes PepsiCo is successful around the globe. Her analysis covered everything from how the company delivers its products to grocery stores to its ability to develop and market global “mega-brands.” She discussed familiar products such as Lay’s potato chips, Mountain Dew, and Doritos, and she noted that one advantage to working at PepsiCo is: “When you go home, you can talk to your kids about your work, and they give great feedback.”
Nooyi whipped through her Powerpoint slides, stressing that her presence at the job talk was not merely a sentimental return to her alma mater. “I know there’s a war for talent. There are talented people here, and I want them [to work at PepsiCo].”
In the question period at the end of the talk, a student asked Nooyi what advice she could give to someone just starting out on a career. She replied, “First, you’re in the right school.” Nooyi recalled how much she gained from some of the school’s programs and from the mentors she had here. She added, “Don’t be in a hurry to be in a senior job.” She suggested that students focus on whatever position they’re in, learning all they can from it. She said that throughout her career, “I just wanted to do the job I was in exceedingly well.”
Yale SOM Dean Joel M. Podolny had introduced Nooyi with the words, “She is one of the truly great representatives of the school… Through all the demands on her, her passion for the school really shines through.” That affection was returned in the warm applause Nooyi received at the end of the presentation.