I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Christine Ryan about her experiences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and throughout her career. Christine is an alum of the Center for Brand and Product Management and earned her MBA in 2012.
Christine is passionate about racing and participates in all kinds of events throughout the year, including marathons, triathlons, and trail races. An Ironman brought her back to Madison in 2017! In addition, in 2013, she launched the Luse-O’Hara foundation with two friends in honor of their dads who were passionate about the outdoors. They partner with local charities focused on helping children to create outdoor nature-specific programs.
In 2017, Christine was awarded Boston Scientific’s Marketing Excellence Award for “raising the bar of performance within the marketing organization through superior achievement in key competencies such as innovation, collaboration, and execution.”
She currently resides in Minneapolis with her husband Jordan, their 23-month-old son Harvey and their days old daughter, Aubrey.
Taha: What were you doing before your MBA?
Christine: I was a political science major and went straight to Washington, D.C. to work in politics. I worked at the U.S. Senate on the Homeland Security Committee and as a Presidential Appointee at the White House and the Department of Treasury.
T: What attracted you to brand management/marketing?
C: While at the Department of Treasury, I helped to lead an initiative to rebrand the U.S. Mint. Prior to this, I mainly focused on policy and communication. During this rebrand initiative, I found that I really enjoyed and appreciated everything that went into brand formation – understanding the consumer, evaluating key product attributes, developing a value proposition and core messaging, and helping to influence the overall creative. I never thought that this was something I would do in my career, but it ended up being a really great experience.
T: Why did you choose the University of Wisconsin-Madison?
C: I was in the midst of applying to law school, but my experience working on the brand project at the U.S. Mint encouraged me to explore a different career path. My mentor went to The University of Wisconsin-Madison as an undergrad and spoke highly of the program. At an MBA recruiting event in D.C., I had a chance to speak with a recruiter and learn about the Center for Brand and Product Management and applied soon after.
T: Can you tell me about your career path leading up to your current position?
C: I started in brand management during an internship at General Mills. I then accepted a full-time offer at Target in a buyer role. A couple years later, I joined a startup that partnered with CPG’s as the director of marketing. A little over a year later, the startup was acquired and I made my way to Boston Scientific where I have been for the past several years.
T: What is your current role and what do you enjoy about it?
C: I currently work in product marketing at Boston Scientific in Minneapolis as a Sr. Global Product Manager. I’ve worked on a few products now, but currently work on WATCHMAN™, which is a left atrial appendage closure device designed to get patients off blood thinners and reduce their risk of stroke. The product launched in the U.S. about 5 years ago and I’ve been on it for the last year. My main responsibility is the core customer strategy which revolves around the implanters of the device. This includes Interventional Cardiologists and Electrophysiologists. Additionally, I am helping to lead U.S. support for our launch in Japan next year, as well as helping to oversee brand work for the next generation device.
MedTech is an extremely exciting industry with constant innovation. The work is inspiring since I am able to help patients with the products that I work on. Company culture is very important and everyone I work with is passionate about Boston Scientific and the work they do. As a company, we believe in our products and have a strong winning spirit that really motivates me to push myself.
T: What was the most impactful or memorable experience you had at UW-Madison?
C: I have a lot of great memories from UW-Madison. One of the most impactful parts of my experience were the relationships I was able to build with my peers. Between studying, cheering on the Badgers, going on a global trip to China, and all the other experiences we had, we became very close and continue to stay in touch and support each other.
T: Now that you have been in the workforce for a while, do you have any advice to pass along to current MBA students?
C: Keep an open mind when it comes to your career. Believing in the company and products that you work on will contribute to your long-term happiness and success. Don’t forget the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Find good mentors both inside and outside your company. Finally, be an advocate for yourself – always.