Hometown: San Antonio, TX
College: University of Texas at Austin; Psychology
Pre-Business School: Business Development at Gehry Partners, LLP
Summer Internship: Marketing - Global Franchise Development at Mattel
Post-Anderson: I will be returning to Mattel as an Associate Marketing Manager later in 2014.
Childhood dream job: My dream was to be a backup dancer for a pop star. I grew up dancing and choreographing in an age when music video production was at its peak—I loved the idea so much that I moved to Los Angeles to audition for anything I could.
Why business school? After exploring a variety of marketing roles ranging from market research for a wine and spirits company to talent management in the entertainment industry and then to business development for an architecture firm, I realized I wanted a role that combined those responsibilities and would allow me to grow my general management skills at the same time. Business school brought together all the elements and opportunities I envisioned, and I was very eager to focus my career path in Brand Management and to gain experience at a global firm.
Why Anderson? In getting to know several business schools all over the country—and in considering the chance to make a major career move—I first thought I wanted to leave Los Angeles to really solidify the feeling of change, as I had been in LA for almost six years. However, after learning about Anderson's marketing curriculum, the Marketing Association, and its relationships with top firms that seek out MBAs for Brand Management roles, it became clear the perfect fit was just down the road. I made my final decision after bonding with some of my current 2014 classmates at A-Days, and it is the best decision I've made.
Anderson Activities & Leadership: President of Marketing Association, Challenge for Charity VP Special Events, Interview Prep Team (IPT) coach, Forte Fellow, Wine Club, Anderson Running and Triathlon Club, Women's Business Connection
Favorite class and why? My favorite class has been Professor Cockrum's Ethics Class—his class is an institution at Anderson—and was an incredible opportunity to deal with challenging but timely ethics issues in classroom and small group settings. We had a range of memorable speakers who shared their tremendous experiences with us, and this is one of those classes recommended time and time again by alumni who took the class years ago. My group from the class, in fact, loved meeting together so much over ethics cases and a bottle of wine that we have planned a reunion in the same format.
Applied Management Research Project: My team and I are working on a short- and long-term growth and channel strategy for our client, whose product was funded after appearing on Shark Tank in 2012.
Favorite Anderson Event: Although I've had a blast tailgating and at theme parties with my classmates, one of the most unexpectedly fun weeks was the TED Talks/Anderson Think in the Next partnership where students could gather for lunch during various sessions to watch and discuss live-streamed talks from the TED conference all week. Along with a totally transformed TED lounge, the event featured a capstone "Campfire" session where classmates and faculty presented their own talks. Against the backdrop of what felt like a major awards show reception, friends and I chatted with Dean Olian, and I had some unforgettable conversations afterwards. I left feeling so excited and proud to be a part of the Anderson community.
Best Anderson memory so far? My favorite memory still has to be the moment we found out Section B, my section, had won the Section Cup! We started out the year strong and that victory represented real teamwork among a group that had only known each other for a couple of weeks. I already miss being around the energy in the classroom during our core classes last year and love the spirit of that group.
What helped most in your interview preparation and career search? In searching for the best companies and roles for me, I found that attending company presentations and career nights/panels were the best way to get to know where I would fit and where I could pursue my Brand Management goals at a large, resource-rich firm. To prepare for interviews, the best strategy for me was to use what I had learned from Days on the Job and informational interviews, combined with my experiences, strengths, and challenges, during mock interviews at the Parker CMC and with 2nd years in IPT.
How did you utilize Parker in your job search and interview prep? Early in the career search process, I had a list of dream companies and companies I needed to learn more about, but I wanted to broaden that search beyond what I learned about in company presentations. I visited Parker not only to prepare for the companies I knew about but to make connections with companies that do no recruit on campus. Once interview dates came closer, I conducted mock interviews with several different Parker advisors.
How did you land your internship? I knew I had an interest in Mattel dating back to when I applied to Anderson, so as soon as started school, I started making connections with the 2nd years who had interned there. I met company representatives at their first presentation, and kept in touch with them, updating them on any questions and my progress. I asked a lot of questions, and I made sure to let those I spoke with know how I envisioned contributing at Mattel. When it came time to interview, those elements came together: I felt prepared for the questions themselves but I also had support from those within the company who I had formed relationships with.
Describe your internship. I worked on the Global Franchise Development team, which focuses on developing (or re-launching) franchises that our Global Brand Teams will develop into brand strategies to be considered by each of our global market subsidiaries. During the internship, I gained an understanding of launch strategies for several new brands in our development pipeline. My experience included larger individual projects, day-to-day responsibilities and smaller projects, and a cross-functional intern group project.
Hardest interview question you've been asked? If you were President of the World, who would your Vice President be, and how would you divide responsibilities?
Why Marketing? I am drawn to consumer goods marketing/brand management because it allows me to be analytically-driven and very organized while still incorporating creative elements and brainstorming from the perspective of the consumer. I also want to continue growing my management skills, as the psychology of what motivates people to work well together fascinates me.
Parting Advice: Once you're here in LA, be adventurous and explore beyond the borders of Westwood/Brentwood. Driving a few hours away in almost any direction leads you to some of the best day-trips you could ask for, whether you want snowy mountains, beaches, hiking, Las Vegas, wineries, farms, or theme parks.
-Sandra Nguyen, Communications Manager, Parker Career Management Center