Student: Ryann Kopacka, Full-time MBA 16
MBA Internship: Associate Marketing Manager at Clorox
Role: I split my time between two teams, working with the Home Care Innovation group and the Pine Sol brand.
Why Clorox: I have a master's in industrial engineering, and I started my career in management consulting. Soon after arriving at Haas, I got excited about marketing and brand management and realized that I wanted to learn more. Clorox was a great fit for that. Clorox is not just about bleach—in fact, the company has a diverse portfolio of brands, like Glad, Kingsford Charcoal, Hidden Valley Ranch, Brita, and Burt's Bees.
Thrilled about: I'm drawn to consumer packaged goods, or CPG—tangible products I can see on the shelves. As a consultant, my end product was a PowerPoint deck and a recommendation, but with CPG, I can see a product through from start to finish. In fact, I will see the result of one of my internship projects on the shelves in stores this January. Also in CPG, the brand is the hub of the wheel and the driver of the business. I really thrive in that kind of environment.
Marketing is changing. It still involves creativity and communications and advertising, but the best marketers today are incorporating big data and leveraging technology, like social media platforms. Brands that are successful today are those that can harness that data, analyze it, and then make informed, data-driven decisions.
Haas skills applied: I set up my class schedule this past spring to prepare me for a marketing internship. The Marketing Research class taught me how to effectively gather qualitative and quantitative data, which came into play this summer when I chose to do consumer testing on my products through focus groups and surveys. I have also learned at Haas how to work on diverse teams and the value of different perspectives. I leaned on these Haas experiences to tap into the expertise of my cross-functional teams at Clorox to hear from each party, synthesize our ideas, and make decisions with the alignment of the team.
A highlight: One of the high points of the internship was leading a redesign of one of Clorox's product's packaging to modernize the brand. Working with designers through a number of feedback rounds was a huge learning experience, and helped me better understand the importance—and the difficulty—of giving feedback to the design team that would direct the project toward our objectives while still leaving space for creativity.
Big takeaway: I came to Haas with the goal of exploring new career paths, and finding something that would be a good fit for me. It's been a personal adventure, discovering what kind of leader I am, and the difference between leading from the mind and leading from the heart. When I lead with my heart, like I was able to do this summer at Clorox, I feel much more refreshed and present in my work and in my life.
—By Kate Madden Yee
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