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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.

Culture is Critical in Finding Long-Term Success

Christian Badger MBA'12

Christian Badger

“I chose Kelley because the people, the culture, and the level of opportunity it provides were unmatched by any other MBA program. I haven’t been disappointed.”

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Christian Badger’s interest in consumer marketing goes all the way back to his childhood. “We used to empty out the pantry and play grocery store,” he says.

By the time he arrived at the University of Missouri as an undergraduate business major, he was fascinated by the hidden factors that drive consumer choices. After graduation, he began his career in advertising where some of his earliest clients, including Del Monte and StarKist, were some of those same brands he’d lined up on the front steps of his house as a child. He loved the fast pace of advertising, but soon realized that the focus of his clients’ work, rather than his own role as an account manager, was more in line with his interests.

Experience Leads to Kelley

“I always knew I would be going back to school for an MBA eventually, but that experience helped me really understand that I wanted to be in the position to think strategically about consumer behavior and implement those great ideas,” he says.

“The number-one thing about Kelley is the people. From my first interaction with the school at recruiting events to my campus visit, I was continually impressed by the level of personal attention I received,” Badger says, making choosing Kelley an easy decision. “I met a Kelley alum at a recruiting event, who recommended that I talk with the director of the Consumer Marketing Academy when I visited. I emailed her that night and the next morning I had an appointment.”

Kelley’s relationships with the nation’s top consumer products companies also encouraged Badger.

School and Internship Share Culture

“When I started my internship search, I was looking for a company with a reputation for recruiting great talent and giving them a lot of opportunities to continue developing throughout their careers,” Badger says. He accepted an internship with Kraft Foods’ Oscar Mayer brand after realizing that its people and culture were similar to what he’d found at Kelley.

“At Kraft, you take your work seriously, but you don’t take yourself too seriously,” he says. “That mentality was meaningful to me.”

Over the summer internship, he worked on several projects for the brand’s Lunchables line, including working on a strategy for a brand altruism program along the lines of Tide detergent’s “Loads of Hope” program or General Mills’ “Boxtops for Education.” After accepting a full-time position with Oscar Mayer, Badger came back to school determined to show prospective students the real value of the Kelley experience. As co-chair of Hoosier Hosts, he helped oversee on-campus visits, where applicants could tour the facilities, sit in on classes, and socialize with current students over dinner.

“I really want to show off the Kelley spirit and culture, because that was such an important part of my decision to come here,” he says. “It’s a special opportunity to be in this place and have these life-changing experiences with people. The relationships I’ve begun here will probably be even more important to me personally than professionally.”

Published May 29, 2012