2005 Marketing MBA Recruiter Chat with GE, Gen Mills and Johnson & Johnson

2005 Marketing MBA Recruiter Chat with GE, Gen Mills and Johnson & Johnson

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Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:12:52 AM)
Accepted.com and the Michigan Ross School of Business, represented by Al Cotrone, Director of the Office of Career Development, would like to welcome all of you to this online chat, "Talent Seekers Speak: Why We Value the MBA." We want to extend special thanks to the very busy recruiters who have joined us today:

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:13:15 AM)
Ron Bednar of General Electric; Jamie Kinnear of General Mills; and Bryant Ison of Johnson & Johnson.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:13:42 AM)
First a little bit on procedure. This chat is one of four half-hour segments in the recruiter chat today. The segments and participating companies are as follows:

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:13:57 AM)
Financial services - Bear, Stearns; Deutsche Bank; JP Morgan Consulting -- Boston Consulting Group; Deloitte; Booz Allen Hamilton; Bain Marketing -- Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, General Electric General Mgmt -- Wal-Mart, DuPont, Alcoa

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:14:06 AM)
Each segment will consist of an approximately ten minute panel discussion followed by a question and answer session when you can post your questions to the recruiters.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:15:40 AM)
What qualities do you value in MBA grads interested in marketing?

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:16:07 AM)
Leadership first and foremost along with strategic thinking, initiative, teamwork, and analytics.

RonaldBednarGE (Sep 21, 2005 11:17:25 AM)
Leadership is essential; GE hires MBAs to be change agents within their respective divisions. Communication and analytical skills are also important.

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:17:46 AM)
We are always looking for leadership as the number one thing. Then teamwork, creativity, critical thinking.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:18:06 AM)
Business schools have been criticized for being too academic and producing graduates who are not really ready to start working. Do you agree or disagree and why?

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:18:37 AM)
I disagree. Our new hires have been very successful at coming in and contributing from day 1. They leverage prior experience and are able to help lead our teams, build/run their businesses.

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:18:45 AM)
I disagree. Most of the students we see now have significant prior experience.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:19:32 AM)
Others have criticized b-schools for being too much like trade schools and not supplying graduates with an intellectually rigorous analytical framework. Do you agree or disagree and why?

RonaldBednarGE (Sep 21, 2005 11:20:50 AM)
I Disagree. My experience with MBA graduates is that they bring a good mix of analytical skills and hands on experience.

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:20:55 AM)
I also disagree with this one as well. Our new hires have build their analytical base through both their classes and their real world work experience.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:21:21 AM)
What can MBA applicants do before and during their business school studies to make themselves more valuable to firms when they graduate?

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:22:32 AM)
Get experience in the skills that recruiters look for - leadership, teamwork, etc. Also, having marketing experience helps the candidate to "talk the talk" of marketing. Doing a pre b-school internship in marketing is a great idea and very attractive to recruiters.

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:22:53 AM)
I would suggest making an early decision on the career they want to pursue. This allows the candidate to focus their search and to select courses and internships that prepare them to answer the questions we have as employers.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:23:35 AM)
More top schools are now encouraging early-career applicants to apply and attend business school even if they lack at least two years of full-time experience. What do you think of this trend? Are years of full-time experience important to you in recruiting?

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:25:06 AM)
Full time experience is very important. I personally feel that it takes at least a couple years of real world experience to get the most out of business school. I think students need the perspective from their previous careers to internalize the classroom learning and to figure out what they want to do next. It is also important in showing employers that they can really get things done in the real world.

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:25:21 AM)
Full time experience is crucial from my standpoint. Expectations are high when you come out of an MBA program, so you need to make sure that you have enough savvy - organizational savvy, maturity, and skills - to hit the ground running. You don't get a second chance.

RonaldBednarGE (Sep 21, 2005 11:25:33 AM)
GE hires MBAs for the ECLP program. Full-time sales and marketing experience is one of the most important criteria.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:25:37 AM)
The panel will now respond to your questions.

madoo (Sep 21, 2005 11:25:53 AM)
Can you please tell us about the Leadership Development Program that companies like GE, J&J offer. What kind of candidates are you looking for?

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:27:27 AM)
General Mills provides function specific training based on training our employees to be able to build a business and lead teams. This training starts in the first year and continues as one moves up in tenure and position.

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:27:46 AM)
J&J doesn't have a dedicated leadership program, but marketing is the leadership program.

RonaldBednarGE (Sep 21, 2005 11:27:58 AM)
The ECLP program at GE is a 2-year sales and marketing rotational program. We are looking for candidates who bring prior sales and marketing experience. In addition, we are looking for people with demonstrated leadership skills. After the 2-year program, candidates typically are placed in marketing management roles: Product Management, Vertical Marketing Management, etc.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:28:05 AM)
Two related questions:

JohnW (Sep 21, 2005 11:28:21 AM)
What can you suggest to a student interested in a career in marketing but turned off by the idea of being stuck in "sales"?

suziewong (Sep 21, 2005 11:28:25 AM)
What types of marketing positions are newly-minted MBAs recruited for?

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:29:16 AM)
Sales and marketing are very different, but careers between the two are becoming much more fluid. Many marketing colleagues I have are now in a sales rotation and other sales colleagues are now in marketing. The days of silos between marketing and sales are waning.

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:29:52 AM)
We recruit MBA candidates to come in as Associate Marketing Managers and provide 3 different types of assignments (we rotate between them about once a year): Established brand assignments, new products, and customer. Sales and marketing are two very different functions. One does not get stuck in sales. We do send our AMMs to sales training (1 month in the field) during their second year. Time frame is typically 3 years as an AMM (3 rotations) and then a promotion to Manager.

suziewong (Sep 21, 2005 11:30:09 AM)
Do you place new MBA hires in positions with significant P&L responsibility? leading teams? responsible for bringing products/services to market?

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:30:51 AM)
Absolutely. As a first year marketing associate, you are expected to have joint P&L responsibility with your brand manager. Leading and driving teams is a critical success factor in the job of a Marketing Manager.

benbenr (Sep 21, 2005 11:30:55 AM)
I am trying to find out if an MBA could bring distinct values for a person who is not a “career switcher” from a hiring manager perspective. Say if there are 2 people, one candidate is with rich experience in marketing. The other is a MBA with marketing concentration, and his/her pre-MBA is also marketing. If all the other qualities are the same, from a hiring manager perspective, will an MBA make big difference on your decision-making? My second question is that there’s an assumption that non-native English speakers are not easy to be hired for marketing positions, especially those not very analytical related. Is this true?

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:32:51 AM)
I know several people who had rich experience in marketing before b-school who ended up going back to the same company or industry after the MBA. Typically those people are on a fast track to manager and move up more quickly in the organization.

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:33:08 AM)
benbenr: We actually only hire MBAs for our AMM positions. We look at career switchers and non-switchers the same -- depends on leadership, teamwork, analytical, creativity skills, etc.

new2bergen (Sep 21, 2005 11:34:00 AM)
GE, Alcoa, Gen Mills & J&J: Do you consider international applicants to US MBA programs for marketing positions? Are international students at a disadvantage due to visa and sponsorships issues? How can they make themselves more marketable?

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:34:04 AM)
As for the international student piece, if you have experience in the US market and speak English fluently, it's not a hindrance. We do consider international applicants, but I am not involved with the requirements. My purview is over US marketing.

AlCotroneRoss (Sep 21, 2005 11:34:11 AM)
benbenr, your question is a very good one. While the education will always be of value, utilizing the MBA for career advancement blindly without verifying that you will benefit could be a mistake. I have seen people do this if they have not done their due diligence about the program and what it might actually offer them.

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:34:37 AM)
We currently require the permanent right to work in the US for placement in our US offices.

JimRoss (Sep 21, 2005 11:35:45 AM)
To get hired, does one need pre-MBA experience in marketing?

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:36:07 AM)
No, Jim. We look at candidates with all backgrounds. We are looking for leaders. We expect that career switching is a norm for business school. :)

RonaldBednarGE (Sep 21, 2005 11:36:24 AM)
new2bergen, for the US programs, candidates must have unrestricted work authorization in the US. There are also programs in Europe, A/P, and Japan that international candidates are hired into.

AlCotroneRoss (Sep 21, 2005 11:36:37 AM)
Virtually all MBA students are career switching. Prior experience will clearly be a bonus, but each year there are hundreds of MBA grads hired into marketing and brand positions that do not have prior experience in the field.

Guest (Sep 21, 2005 11:36:46 AM)
Given that many US schools now weave global perspective concepts into their curriculums and they have a large percentage of international students, if you plan to work in the US, do you see any value in obtaining an MBA outside the US or will it prove to be a more difficult road post-MBA?

benbenr (Sep 21, 2005 11:39:16 AM)
So in another word, an MBA does add value when you are looking for jobs in marketing. Thanks for your answers.

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:39:34 AM)
Absolutely. :)

RonaldBednarGE (Sep 21, 2005 11:39:44 AM)
Yes, most definitely.

Leonid (Sep 21, 2005 11:39:55 AM)
How do you think US employers view Canadian B-Schools like Richard Ivey School of Business? Also, is there a significant advantage to having a 2 year MBA as opposed to a 1 year MBA?

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:40:43 AM)
Leonid, to me this is a question of access. I would always recommend checking what companies visit a school and use this is a criteria in your decision process. I think most 1 year MBA candidates plan on returning to their current company. If you want to switch, the issue for us would be that you didn't do an internship.

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:42:32 AM)
Thanks again to Ron, Bryant, and Jamie and to all of you for your participation. Last but not least, I want to acknowledge the critical role played by the Michigan Ross staff. Thank you for your vital help in putting this event together. And congratulations on your WSJ ranking!

BryantIsonJ&J (Sep 21, 2005 11:42:40 AM)

Linda Abraham (Sep 21, 2005 11:42:41 AM)
Applicants, if you would like more information about Michigan Ross' top-ranked program (#2 in the WSJ recruiter survey this year!), please visit http://www.bus.umich.edu/Admissions/ .

JamieKinnearGenMills (Sep 21, 2005 11:42:44 AM)

Guest (Sep 21, 2005 11:44:02 AM)
Thank you!

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