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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.

Follow Your Passion for Successful Career Transition

Christie Cioffi MBA'12

Christie Cioffi

“When you see a certain industry or role that genuinely excites you, you should follow it 100 percent.”

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In Iraq, combat veteran and former U.S. Army Captain Christie Cioffi wasn’t just responsible for providing security on the roads of Baghdad or making sure the hundreds of soldiers in her brigade had the food, transportation, munitions, and medical supplies they needed to fight a war. Her mission also included teaching Iraqi security forces how to take care of their own troops. Now, as she heads off to a new career as an associate products manager at Abbott Laboratories’ animal health division, she remains dedicated to serving others.

Advocate for Animals

“Animals can’t speak for themselves,” she says. “They need advocates who are looking out for their health and their comfort.” One of the things she enjoyed most about interning at Abbott was seeing how deeply her team cared about animal welfare. “Everyone was so passionate, from the people who worked with me to the veterinarians who use our products.”

During her internship, Cioffi worked on a product sub-launch in support of Abbott’s veterinary diabetes care products, which include a home-monitoring kit to help pet owners manage their cats’ and dogs’ blood glucose. With the insight she gained from talking to veterinarians and attending a veterinary conference on managing diabetes, she developed positioning and communications tools for the sales team that conducted the launch. When the product hit the market in April 2012, she was gratified to learn that many of the tools she developed are now in use. Despite the fact that consumer marketing was a significant departure from her military career, Cioffi says Kelley prepared her to succeed when she arrived at Abbott.

Relevant Classwork

“Every single marketing class I took my first year was relevant. There were things I learned in each of them that directly applied to the issues I faced in my internship,” she says. She also got continual support from her Consumer Marketing Academy coaches and her classmates along the way.

“There were other Kelley students at Abbott, as well as alumni,” Cioffi says, “They were always willing to offer feedback on my strategy and share their own experiences.

Cioffi believes her enthusiasm for the work made her career transition easier.

“You have to follow your passion,” she says. “I didn’t come into the program knowing that I wanted to work in health care, but my Academy experiences were eye-opening. I saw it was an industry where I could do some good.”

Internship Leads to Job Offer

With a job offer from Abbott at the start of her second year, you might have expected Cioffi to take some time to relax. Instead, she spent much of the year training to run a marathon, which she completed in April, qualifying for the 2013 Boston Marathon in the process.

“In the army, I got used to not having a lot of free time,” she explains.

As she prepares to leave for her career in Chicago, Cioffi is amazed by how her life has changed in the last two years. “From the very beginning, Kelley helped me really think about what I wanted out of this experience. I’m confident that I’m on the right path.”

Published May 29, 2012