J RudolphJim first heard about the A.C. Nielsen Center for Marketing Research as a senior at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin where he was majoring in business, marketing, and math. One of his advisers suggested that market research would be an excellent way to combine mathematics and marketing, and furthermore, they knew just the place to do it: the A.C. Nielsen Center at the Wisconsin School of Business. Jim was immediately interested.

It took a few years for that goal to come to fruition. Six months out of college, the 2008 recession hit and with it the need to adapt. Jim found himself barely into a leadership rotational program at CNH Capital and already needing the plan the next step of his career. He reached out to Kristin Branch at the A.C. Nielsen Center but realized that he needed more professional experience to get the most out of the program. He moved to a role as business analyst at United Hospital System in Kenosha, Wisconsin and began an evening program in applied economics at Marquette.

He didn’t forget his goal of attending the A.C. Nielsen. Three years later, he applied again.

Once at the Center, Jim valued the deep connection with the members of the External Advisory Board. He describes the importance of being a “fly on the wall” while experienced industry professionals discussed the current state of the industry. The faculty were another source of expertise. His most valued academic experience at WSB was an article he read in Neeraj Arora’s class, which he re-reads each year, “Backward Market Research,” about designing your research plan with the end in mind.

After graduation, Jim joined Target in Minneapolis. His most rewarding project was working on the positioning of Target’s wellness program of natural, organic and sustainable products. The project helped him realize he wanted to work keeping working in that space. He started to look for mission-driven organizations, companies that showed their commitment through their day to day operations.

Two years ago, that search brought him to Seventh Generation, an independent subsidiary of Unilever, where he deals with customer and retailer-facing analytics to help grow the company’s plant-based, environmentally friendly products. Jim was recently awarded Seventh Generation's Leading with Purpose award for exemplifying how to weave Seventh Generation’s sustainability mission into his daily efforts both in and outside of the office in 2017.

Outside of work, Jim pursues his interests in sustainability and the outdoors. He has recently been elected to the board of a local co-op and looks forward to seeing how his experience can enhance their success. He looks forward to the next big trip he has planned with his wife Michelle – hiking and camping in the Adirondack, Green, and White Mountain ranges and is currently training for his 7th marathon!

ACN ALumni Spotlight_Rudolph Iceland