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Indiana University Bloomington

Center for Brand Leadership

Kelley Advantage

The Center for Brand Leadership is a close-knit group of top MBA students, faculty, alumni, and corporate partners who share a wealth of industry knowledge and contacts.

Communicating the Value of Hispanic Consumer-Marketing Savvy

Marimer Maldonado MBA'11

Marimer Maldonado

“General Mills gave us positive feedback and told us we really understood the market. Now, my professor uses that project as an example of how to create and communicate a marketing plan.”

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Marimer Maldonado was an experienced marketer before she came to the Kelley School of Business. She’d worked as a brand manager in Puerto Rico for Coca-Cola, wanted to earn her MBA, and then head back to Puerto Rico to continue her career in marketing.

But the Consumer Marketing Academy prepared her for bigger things—a job at Nestlé in Los Angeles and the ability to use her knowledge of Hispanic consumers and Spanish language skills.

When she arrived in Bloomington, she wasn’t accustomed to the culture of the United States yet. She didn’t realize how much she needed to learn about interviewing, networking, and maintaining communication with peers and alumni to get to the position she wanted.

“I had experience in brand management, but I needed to develop those soft skills,” she says. “Jonlee Andrews explained her goals for me as a marketer and asked me my own. Ever since, we’ve been working together to achieve those goals.”

Through mock interviews, class meetings with her CMA peers on select Fridays, and interaction with brand managers from top companies, Maldonado began to learn what a career in brand management would look like.

Career coach and co-director Ray Luther helped her develop her own brand as a marketer. She knew that her Spanish skills and background in brand management were assets, so Luther taught her how to highlight those in an interview.

“I needed to still be me but translate all of my experiences into a strength that was relevant for companies,” she says.

She gained further confidence during a group project with General Mills. She and her classmates consulted with the company on how to launch a product for the Hispanic market. They looked at the intended message, audience, and potential media outlets.

“General Mills gave us positive feedback and told us we really understood the market. Now, my professor uses that project as an example of how to create and communicate a marketing plan,” she says.

At the end of her first year, Maldonado realized she could play an important role in U.S.-based companies.

“At first I thought I would just go to Kelley and then go back to Puerto Rico and work,” she says. “Now, at Nestlé, I have the opportunity to work in an urban area and use my marketing and language to help the company grow their Emerging Markets division.”

Published April 11, 2011