It was not a normal Monday for me. I had just moved into my apartment in downtown Chicago and was walking passed the Willis Tower and over the Chicago River. Soon, I arrived at my location at the PepsiCo offices when it hit me “I now work for Gatorade! This is a sports fan’s dream.” As they took the interns up to the Gatorade Retail Lab for orientation, I couldn’t help but think about how far I had come in just a year at the A.C. Nielsen Center. What I didn’t realize was how quickly I would have to put my skills to the test. Just minutes into meeting my team later that day, I was told it was time to put together a focus group discussion guide for later that week. That type of challenge may have been scary before arriving in Madison, but my classmates and I have been fortunate to be prepared for just this instance. Instead of panicking, I was off and running, excited to get started.
I tell that story as one example of how I felt almost over prepared coming into this internship because of my first year in Madison. Instead of worrying about every little detail, I’ve been able to enjoy my experience much more than I would have otherwise. What has been so enjoyable you ask? Well, I’d love to explain!
First, I am a part of the broader marketing internship program at PepsiCo with 12 others from around the country. As the lone Badger intern in the office, it has been incredibly fun discussing the different experiences at other MBA programs. A big part of the internship experience is meeting the other interns and employees at the company, and I have been able to say yes to a lot of experiences because I have been prepared, and therefore, efficient with the work needed to get done.
Another way I feel prepared is in my ability to meet others and network. While the A.C. Nielsen Center focuses on teaching us skills to be successful in insights, the MBA program as a whole has developed my soft skills nearly as much. I am able to have one on one meetings with others throughout the company with confidence due to the countless experiences we have gone through in the past year developing those skills.
Finally, my project is important for future innovation at the company. I have already been given the opportunity to work on focus groups, survey design and analysis, and IRI scanner data in order to help develop an engaging story at the end. The support I have from alumni at the company is incredible. Whether through casual lunches discussing how to be successful at the PepsiCo or seemingly daily meetings discussing information I can utilize for my project, Nielsen alumni have taken an unbelievable amount of time out of their workdays to ensure that I have all the tools and knowledge needed to have a successful summer.
With a little over a month left, I’m looking forward to enjoying Chicago before heading back to Madison in the fall. Keep Sweating and On Wisconsin!