Monday, November 8, 2010

Consumer Marketing Academy: Academy Intensive Week 1

Outside of classes, there are MBA student activities in which all students participate. One of these is the Academy Intensive Week. One full week per semester, classes are halted, and Kelley School of Business students immerse themselves in career related activities with their Academies.

My involvement in the Consumer Marketing Academy (CMA) provided me the opportunity to travel around the Midwest by bus with my 42 fellow CMA members! Our destinations for the Monday - Friday trip were: Chicago, IL, Indianapolis, IN, Columbus, OH, and Cincinnati, OH.

Our week started bright and early at 7:30am on Monday morning, when our group of the best consumer marketing MBA students met at the Kelley School of Business and loaded the bus. We then spent the next few hours headed to ConAgra (in Naperville, IL), where we spent the rest of Monday afternoon. Here we heard about ConAgra's exciting Brand Leadership Development Program, got to taste test some of their delicious Marie Callender's lasagna, and heard a motivating speech from the company's CMO, Joan Chow. All in all a pretty exciting first day!

First thing Tuesday we met with Whirlpool. We got to hear from Whirlpool's Brand Portfolio Leadership Development Program participants and learned about Whirlpool's rotational marketing program. We also got in depth insight into some of Whirlpool's recent innovative marketing techniques. Tuesday was capped with a bus trip to Indianapolis.

First thing Wednesday morning, we visited Lilly's corporate headquarters. We spent the majority of the day at Lilly, hearing about the differences between pharma and CPG marketing, how the regulatory environment impacts marketing, and had an exciting and interactive Cialis case discussion. After a great day at Lilly, we headed back to the bus to journey to Columbus, OH, where Scotts hosted a fun welcome reception at the Franklin Park Conservatory.

Thursday proved to be the busiest day of the week, as we met with 3 companies in one day! While busy, it was a great day in which we heard about an array of different types of marketing. We began the day at Nationwide, where we learned about service marketing techniques. We also heard an inspiring speech from Nationwide's CMO, Jim Lyski, in which he stressed how vital the marketing function is to a service company.

We next headed to Scotts, also in Columbus, for the afternoon. There we got to view Scotts' beautiful (green) campus, learn about its new product launch process, and hear an exciting presentation from the Senior VP of Sustainability, Jan Valentic. After a great afternoon at Scotts, we loaded the bus for Cincinnati and our P&G mixer that evening.

Our last day of Academy Week was at the Procter & Gamble headquarters in Cincinnati, OH. There we got to hear from both the Brand Management and Consumer Market Knowledge groups and have an interactive and entertaining Febreze case discussion. The visit to Cincinnati was a great way to end an informative and exciting week! I can see why Kelley is known to have one of the best consumer marketing MBA programs - Academy Weeks are just one of the unique learning experiences Kelley offers to its students!

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