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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.

Finding Job Opportunities through the Grapevine

Carrie Kroll MBA’13

Associate Marketing Manager, E. & J. Gallo Winery

Modesto, Calif
Carrie Kroll

“Kelley has a strong network of alumni there who look out for each other. I never felt silly going to them with my questions or asking them for feedback.”

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Carrie Kroll arrived at Kelley with a head start on her marketing career—she had an undergraduate degree in marketing and finance and had worked in brand management at Unilever, a major consumer packaged goods company. So why did she make the decision to go back to school?

“I knew I needed an MBA to get to those higher-level positions,” she says. “During my last year at Unilever, I met Will Melendez, who was interning with us after his first year at Kelley. I had never considered Indiana University, but when he talked about the Consumer Marketing Academy, I knew that was the right environment for me.”

In the Academy, her director, career coach, and peer coach helped Kroll identify and target companies for her internship where her previous experience working on food accounts made her a particularly good fit. After receiving several offers, she chose an internship with Kraft Foods’ Oscar Mayer division.

Strong alumni network

“I had a wonderful experience there,” she says. “Kelley has a strong network of alumni there who look out for each other. I never felt silly going to them with my questions or asking them for feedback. It was also enlightening to see how different CPG firms work—each has its own processes for doing presentations or pulling Nielsen data, for instance. It was great to see it from a different side.”

At the end of the summer, she was offered a full-time position—and, she also received marriage proposal from her boyfriend who had already accepted a position in northern California.

“I was very excited about Kraft, but I didn’t want to start our marriage living in different states,” Kroll says. “So I knew I needed to connect with California companies.”

She started by leveraging the Kelley alumni network and looking at a wide range of consumer marketing opportunities on the West Coast. She quickly narrowed her search to a few target companies. She got an unexpected lead from her roommate, Michelle Morgan, then president of Kelley’s Black MBA Association. She told Kroll that Gallo would be represented at the upcoming National Black MBA Conference in Indianapolis—a great networking opportunity.

“I brought my resume to the conference and introduced myself, and Gallo asked me to come back in four hours for a first-round interview,” Kroll says. “It was definitely being thrown straight into the interview fire. Fortunately, I had been practicing interviewing with my career services coach and fellow second-years, and I was ready.”

Impressive resourcefulness

Two more rounds of interviews followed, including a one-on-one conversation with Stephanie Gallo who asked Kroll how she happened to be at the conference.

“It’s pretty clear that I’m not a black MBA,” Kroll laughs, “I think she was impressed by how resourceful and passionate Kelley MBAs can be.”

Kroll was invited to join Gallo’s team as an associate marketing manager in its value business unit and Gallo now advertises at Kelley for summer interns. Meanwhile, Kroll is grateful to Kelley for the opportunity to expand her horizons—both geographically and professionally.

Published June 26, 2013