Student Profile: Born Marketer
Megan Gagnon ’11
Pre-SOM: Booz Allen Hamilton
Post-MBA Position: PepsiCo
I have loved Yale SOM since the moment I arrived on campus. This might seem like hyperbole, but it’s true. I worked at Booz Allen Hamilton before coming here, on the government side, and I was looking for a school that wasn’t just a great business program, but that approached the world in a way that was about more than just the bottom line. When I was deciding between schools, I was trying to figure out which program would round me out. And looking at the SOM integrated curriculum, I really felt that it would give me a great education in general management, not only in the traditional areas of accounting and finance, but also in areas like innovation and the public sector.
Part of coming to business school was to explore new things, so I came here with an open mind. I only had a vague notion of marketing, but I’d always been intrigued and started going to Marketing Club meetings and talking to students about it. I guess you could say I fell in love with it. A lot of this was due to the second-year students, many of whom had internships at the big CPGs the summer before. I was really inspired by their passion, and as I got more interested in marketing as a career, they really helped coach me and get me up to speed and get me excited about the opportunities that were out there.
The internship process is almost like a full-time job. The competition for the best internships is intense and students start preparing early. There’s so much to learn and so much to practice that students band together and it’s almost like a boot camp. We go over cover letter writing, résumé writing, interviews — we go through tons and tons of mock interviews. By the time the interviews are here, it’s not quite so scary because we’re all so well prepared.
One of the biggest internships for people interested in marketing is at PepsiCo. For one, it’s a really dynamic company, a place where they give MBA students real opportunities to do great work. And they choose just one intern each from a handful of top schools each year. Throw in the fact that PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi is an SOM grad and the competition becomes really fierce. When I interviewed, I knew I did well, but I was just hoping to get to the second round. I never thought in a million years I’d be picked for the internship. When I got the offer, it didn’t take very long to accept.
I had an amazing summer. My assignment was to create a return-on-engagement metric for media spending, anything from TV advertising to social media. I used the skill set I developed at SOM to really break the problem down and attack it piece by piece. I really enjoyed watching Indra Nooyi lead the company. She embodies SOM in so many ways, and I was shocked how accessible she is. I got to meet her several times. She invited all the interns in for lunch, and we had a really great conversation. She talked about the challenges of running a global company, the challenges she faces being a working mother. She’s very inspiring.
I was thrilled to be offered a full-time job at PepsiCo. When I look back to what I was hoping to get out of SOM, I’m amazed at how it actually exceeded my expectations. On every level, coming here was the right choice.
Interviewed on February 4, 2010. Updated August 2010.