Putting a Kelley Education to Work
Nicci Pannier MBA’11
Consumer Marketing Academy
Students go through a four-phase process to help them discover the right career, improve their networking and interviewing, and prepare to perform on the job.
Like many MBAs, Nicci Pannier came to Kelley to take her career in a different direction. After working as an educational leadership consultant, she decided that her real interest was in consumer marketing. She not only had a lot to learn, she needed to find an internship that would give her the experience that employers were demanding.
She got help from her Kelley career coach, who helped her identify the skills from her previous experiences that would help her succeed as a brand manager. She also got a lucky break when she interned at Nestlé and was assigned to a project that was nearly identical to one she had worked on with the Consumer Marketing Academy. “Because it was familiar, I didn’t feel overwhelmed,” she says. “I was able to avoid getting bogged down in the details.”
Because Nicci was switching careers, she wanted an internship experience that would show future employers the depth and breadth of her skills—and she got it. “Nestlé gave me an unparalleled experience of what it’s like to be a brand manager. I was assigned three projects: one creative, one analytic, and one strategic. It gave me a sense of the full scope of the brand manager’s role.” She came away from the experience with a renewed sense of optimism about her chosen career path—and a deeper understanding of business. “Nestlé has a very holistic approach to marketing.While I was there, I visited production lines, learned about packaging, and got a better understanding of their whole business.”
Now that she is back at Kelley, Nicci has a new opportunity to hone the skills she’ll need in her future career. As a peer coach, she is helping other students in the Consumer Marketing Academy prepare for their internship search and sharing the practical insights she gained at Nestlé. “Being a peer coach has helped me figure out how not to just give advice, but to build good working relationships. You have to listen to the individual and understand there’s no single solution to a problem. In a few years, when I get the opportunity to manage people on the job, I’m going to be prepared.”