Thinking long-term, Chris decided to go back to school to pursue an MBA in marketing in order to find a similar role in the private sector. “I am genuinely interested in the life experiences of others. In my last job, I had to understand, map, and influence others to be successful, and I really liked that. In marketing, I’ll get to do the same thing, and that excites me.”
While looking at MBA programs, Chris put an emphasis on finding a program that was right for both him and his family, and Kelley fit the bill. “I chose Kelley because it’s a great marketing school with smaller class sizes. Plus, it’s very family oriented. My first year we were very involved in the Kelley Partners and Kelley Kids Clubs, which are just awesome. My wife loved it so much she became the president of the Kelley Partners Club last year.”
Even though he came in with an undergraduate degree in marketing, Chris felt like he had little marketing experience because he did not use those skills in the Army. The speed at which the Consumer Marketing Academy prepared him for the marketing world surpassed his expectations. He was able to master the language and fundamentals of marketing in just his first year as an MBA.
According to Chris, the CMA consistently reinforced marketing theory with hands-on projects. “The CMA gives you new tools and teaches you how to sharpen the tools you already have. I have the fundamentals so ingrained that I can look at it from all the lenses that a classically trained brand manager would use,” said Chris.
For Chris, the CMA project was a great test of the skills he had learned. “You actually get to work on a real project for a Fortune 500 company,” said Chris. “They trust you with a real problem, and you have seven weeks to solve it. After that, I had a lot of confidence in my skills because I could sell information to companies like Nestlé and Procter & Gamble.”
Chris will be taking the skills he learned through the CMA to Abbott Nutrition in Columbus, Ohio. He interned for Abbott last year, working on their Glucerna and Ensure brands. He is excited to return as a full-time associate brand manager.