From Sportswriter to Marketing Associate
Bryan Chu MBA’13
Marketing Associate, Nestlé USA
“As a journalist, I’ve been a marketer all my career.”
Before arriving at Kelley, Bryan Chu was an award-winning sports and crime reporter with a national reputation. Two years later, he uses his gift for crafting stories and understanding his audience to assist Nestlé’s beverage division in marketing its products.
The transition from sports journalism to business school is not common. “Quite a few recruiters asked me to connect the dots from covering the NBA to going into marketing,” Chu says. “My response: ‘As a journalist, I have been a marketer all my career.’”
His journalism background equipped him with a valuable set of skills as he started working in brand management.
Connecting existing skills to a new career
“I started every project by asking, what’s the story here?” Chu says. “Who is my audience and how do I capture the audience’s attention? What are my competitors doing and how can I do it better? What is the best way to combine all this information and pitch it in a final presentation that is clear, concise and convincing? It’s a lot like putting together a big story to pitch to an editor.”
He credits the Consumer Marketing Academy’s co-directors, Jonlee Andrews and Ray Luther, with helping him make that connection. Kelley and the CMA taught him how to bridge the gap between the skills he already possesses and the additional knowledge he needed to be a successful brand manager. Chu also gained insight from alumni willing to assist him in his career development.
Ready to face challenges
With a strong support system, Chu arrived at his internship at Nestlé prepared to face new challenges.
“I was a political science major as an undergraduate and had never taken business classes—this was all new to me,” Chu says. “But, Kelley and the CMA helped build my business knowledge, provided me an opportunity to work with a Fortune 500 company on a project it was facing, and trained me to be a leader.”
In the Kelley tradition of collaboration, Chu, who is a member of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, was involved in giving back, helping his classmates hone their communication and interview skills. His peers voted for him to receive the annual Kelley Generational Leadership award, given to one student who selflessly advises and mentors peers and first-year MBA students, creating a strong foundation for the next generation of Kelley leaders.
“There is a balancing point between receiving and giving,” Chu says. “Don’t forget who helped you get to where you are today.”
Chu’s advice for those pursuing an MBA is to choose a school that meets your needs and pushes you to succeed. For those in career transition, Chu says it’s vital to know your story.
“Figure out what is your point of differentiation,” Chu says. “Identify your past experiences, transfer your abilities to your next challenge, and expand on your knowledge.”