Inside USD

Business Marketing Panel Offers Tips for Success

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

While working for Wells Fargo Bank, Cheryl Brown ’05 obtained an MBA from the University of San Diego. That accomplishment satisfied multiple goals.

“The degree fulfilled a personal objective. It gave me a feeling like I was more well-rounded and gained personal confidence,” said the senior vice president of marketing for Wells Fargo’s measurement and reporting group. “From a professional perspective, Wells Fargo places a lot of emphasis on education. Having the ability to understand more in-depth what finance, the economists and the company do is critical.”

Brown was back on the USD campus last week as one of six business marketing professionals sharing their experience and providing advice and encouragement to current business students and alumni for an industry experts panel event hosted by the School of Business Administration’s Career Services department.

june-photoPaul June ’94 (BBA), owner, marketing and product development specialist for Barrel O’ Monkeyz, was on the panel. June (pictured, right) credits the accumulation of some of his early business knowledge to three USD professors — Seth Ellis (marketing), David Light (advertising/marketing) and Joseph Colombo (theology and religious studies). “All three teachers were willing to work with me, willing to challenge my beliefs and open my eyes to the world.”

Other panelists were Thomas Yang, senior vice president of international business for Callaway Golf; Joe Lee, senior director of marketing for Life Technologies, a global biotechnology tools company; Dawn Anderson, vice president of marketing for MedImpact, a pharmacy benefits management company; and Dave Skena, brand marketing manager for Frito Lay.

The panelists spoke about their respective business backgrounds and about being smarter about doing business in tough times. For instance, playing golf is a luxury activity in the current poor economy. Yang said 2009 has been a difficult year for Callaway, but the company that designs clubs, equipment and a golf clothing line, has been proactive and flexible in its business approach. “People still play golf,” he said. “People are making golf a local vacation.”

Brown talked about opportunities and changes forcing companies to rethink and retool their business model. Wells Fargo bought Wachovia in October 2008, giving Brown and others a chance to market the company’s services in new places. Brown, who has been with Wells Fargo in various marketing capacities for more than 15 years, said the company has grown from more than 600 locations to more than 6,600 today.

But some things don’t change. A tough job market means finding the best possible candidate. Panelists offered some advice for what they’d seek in a potential applicant.

Yang had three criteria: “I look for people who have a fire in their belly; those who have the confidence to do the job; and a person who is inquisitive.”

Brown values a person who is passionate, flexible and a team player. “Someone who works well across all lines to get people to work together is very important,” she said.

Skena agreed that passion is important, but it isn’t enough. “Is it equal to your strengths, does it match your skill set?” Presenting a marketing idea, too, requires a fresh approach, he said. “The world moves much faster. You have to really be nimble and quick to inspire.”

Anderson simply seeks a “solid individual,” someone “who can really bring the position to life.”

June stressed a proactive approach through networking and to be sure that you know yourself — “write two or three sentences about who you are,” he said — and present it.

— Ryan T. Blystone

Visit the School of Business Administration’s Undergraduate Career Services and Alumni Career Services Web sites for upcoming events, tips and more.

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