Camille ClarkLast month I had the opportunity to round out my time at the Wisconsin School of Business by attending the A.C. Nielsen Center alumni & friends Summit. The Summit is a biennial event organized by the Center and our alumni representatives, this year Cherie Leonard (class of 2012) and David Shepherd (class of 2011). The Summit is a one day conference featuring emerging industry topics and trends of which executives and insights professionals should be aware. This provides an immersive learning opportunity for both students preparing to intern and begin full-time positions in the industry. The day is set up with both sessions and networking break which allowed us to interact with our future colleagues over the course of the day.

The morning opened with an introduction to all attendees in the Fluno Center. The morning's keynote speaker, Kathy Sheehan – GfK, spoke about the new consumer trend of “transience”. Kathy describes this new trend as consumers being ephemeral, unstable, swift and changing. We learned about attributes associated with this trend and how the industry is seeing them develop. A perfect example of this is Snapchat. Consumers want the disappearing photos; the ephemeral snapshot into one another’s lives. Kathy discussed the rate and the timeframe in which she expected this would be widely reflected in the market. She also emphasized the need to be adaptable, flexible and to keep learning. It really opened my eyes to the depth of the work that goes into exploring and identifying trends so that you can meet consumers' changing needs. It was a really informative way to open the Summit, and it was a topic of discussion throughout networking during the day.

Between sessions, we congregated in an open space in the Fluno Center. It was a great opportunity to connect with former classmates who had recently graduation. They shared stories about their first post-MBA jobs including the variety of project types they had been assigned. The level of responsibility was really inspiring. It made me excited to re-launch my career post MBA and grateful for the program that made this possible.

Later in the day, I sat in on workshops featuring discussions on more emerging marketing research trends and storytelling frameworks for executing a compelling narrative into your message. The need to be an excellent storyteller came up repeatedly in conversations with managers and those preparing interns for our final presentations. It was great to work through an exercise with Tim Urmston of the Seek Company in his workshop on how to tell stories to start fires. I know this is something I will make use of in the first project of my new career.

The day finished with a panel discussion and closing keynote headed by executives from companies including Bain & Company, Citi, Ford and LinkedIn. Alumni and industry partners mingled among one another at the closing happy hour, eager to reconnect. As I prepare to graduate this month, I cannot help but think about how the Summit reflected all the things that first drew me to the A.C. Nielsen Center: the support to learn the industry and the network to enter into it.