Friday, October 16, 2009

When Walmart comes to class

One of the advantages of going to one the best consumer marketing MBA programs in the country is that some really amazing speakers come to campus to share industry knowledge with you. This fall has been no exception, with a handful on speakers presenting to my Consumer Channels Management class. The speakers have included brand managers from Target, Danaher and dunnhumby. My favorite speaker was from Target, and he walked us through the launch of their new private label products named Up & Up. This week brand managers from Walmart came to class to discuss the challenges of competing in the global retail environment, as well as their focus on three segments of shoppers and their new investment in the Great Value brand. As someone who is going to work for a consumer packaged goods manufacture in the summer, it was truly interesting to learn about how Walmart treats manufacturers and their commitment to providing the best mix of branded products for their shoppers. Throughout my career at Kelley I have read countless articles on Walmart, this was the first chance I had to meet their marketing team and get to ask them some questions myself.

Kelley business school MBA students were also given the opportunity this week to attend a presentation by HP's CEO Mark Hurd. Mr. Hurd shared with students his insights on the growth of HP products worldwide, as well as HP's ability to enter emerging markets that are only beginning to have Internet access. The CEO also shared his insights on managing people and ensuring top talent is appropriately rewarded. As top ranked MBAs, there was a lot of interest in understanding how one can prepare to be a CEO, and Mr. Hurd's advice was this: Take time early in your career to build the foundations of business and to work in many roles within your organization. I do not know that I will ever become a CEO, but I know that right here at Kelley I am in the process of developing the business foundation that will allow me to be successful in the future. As can be seen with both Walmart and HP's business models, the global business environment is ever changing, and obtaining a MBA from a top ranked business school will provide my classmates and me with unlimited opportunities in the future.

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