Pre-MBA role: Internal Client Consultant at Manning & Napier (investment management firm)
Current role: Account Supervisor at AbelsonTaylor (health & wellness advertising agency)
I work in Chicago at AbelsonTaylor, the world’s largest independent full-service health and wellness advertising agency. In my current role, I am the day-to-day brand strategy lead for my assigned clients, which are primarily large pharmaceutical companies. I work with my team to lead the development of multi-channel tactics and integrated marketing campaigns, supervising their execution and ensuring that we deliver exceptional work to our clients to help them to both meet their current marketing objectives and to position them for future growth and success.
Why did you choose the Full-time MBA at Frankfurt School?
I grew up in the US with a strong love for Europe, and I always knew I wanted to live and work internationally. After receiving my Bachelor’s degree and starting my career in Investment Management, I made the decision in 2018 to align my career more closely with my passion for marketing and advertising and thought an MBA would help with this transition. With my lifelong passion for Europe and family ties to Germany, I began considering German MBA options. What drew me to the Frankfurt School specifically was its small and highly diverse international program – I felt the programme size and composition allowed for greater individual attention, and a myriad of opportunities and interaction that would not be possible in a larger programme setting. Additionally, I liked that the program was only one year – most MBAs in the US are two-year programmes, and I preferred having the option to complete an intensive degree in one year and return to the workforce immediately following.
How did the Full-time MBA prepare you for the challenges in your current job?
The most important skills which the FS MBA taught me were adaptability and having the confidence to lead even in situations where I may not have all the answers. From day one of the programme, we were placed into teams with classmates from all different backgrounds to collaborate on projects from all different business disciplines. Working in these groups honed my leadership skills and helped me to understand better how to utilize the strengths of my teammates to deliver work that was cohesive and exemplary. I had to be ready to quickly jump into subject areas where I had limited expertise and identify the high-level objectives which would be integral to our success. These skills proved invaluable in my industry shift from investment management to advertising, especially moving into a role where I need to make leadership decisions every day to ensure my team’s success. Additionally, learning to be adaptable and able to succeed through change has been exceptionally critical over the past few months with the way coronavirus has changed the landscape of the business world.
Which programme resources (i.e. MBA events, career counselling, networking opportunities) helped you achieve success throughout the program?
I came into the programme with a strong business background – I had six years of experience working in the investment management industry, and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Notre Dame. With my goal of switching industries, I knew I needed to brush up on my business knowledge as a lot had changed in the time since I received my Bachelor’s degree, especially in marketing and advertising (my target industry). FS had an excellent curriculum that filled these gaps and equipped me for success in my new role.
I also had an amazing hands-on experience with my group consultancy project for the thesis – my team worked with the Deutscher Fussball Bund (DFB) and developed a full go-to-market strategy for their efforts in a new international partnership. The DFB has stayed in close contact with me since the completion of the project, and I have consulted with them and this year’s MBA thesis team on additional international partnerships under consideration, which has been incredibly rewarding.
What was your biggest highlight of the MBA programme?
The relationships with my classmates were the absolute highlight of the programme for me – bringing together 45 different people from all over the world and being able to live and work closely with people from such a variety of backgrounds was truly life-changing. I developed some of my closest friendships during this programme and could not have asked for a better group of people to surround myself with during this MBA experience.
Through FS, I was also able to attend several MBA conferences – the MBA World Summit in Sydney, Australia, a three-day conference with 100 of the top MBA students from around the world, and the HEC MBAT competition in Paris, which was an athletic competition with business schools from across Europe. Both events were true highlights of the program as well – they were excellent from a networking perspective, and beneficial to my continued professional and personal growth during the MBA.
What advice would you give to prospective students as they begin their Full-time MBA programme?
As cliché as it sounds, it is so important to make the most of this incredible opportunity because the programme goes by so quickly. This will be one of the busiest years of your life, and it also has the potential to be one of the most meaningful years of your life. Say yes to any opportunity that comes your way – you are going to grow so much during this year, personally and professionally, and saying yes and pushing outside your comfort zone is the best way to foster this growth. Have fun too – you are going to be surrounded by so many interesting people from all over the world and living in an exciting city with lots to offer – make sure to enjoy it!