Mentoring future marketers
Tom Doctoroff credits Chicago Booth for inculcating a spirit of intellectual adventurism that he has found useful and satisfying throughout his career. Looking to give back to the next generation of Booth marketers, he sponsors a marketing fellowship and serves as a mentor to 2011 marketing fellow Jeremy Schellin.
Before I graduated Booth, I wanted to be a brand manager. I thought my destiny was to be at one of the major packaged goods companies such as Kraft or General Foods or Procter & Gamble, but an advertising agency gave a presentation on campus and sold me very quickly on their proposition of understanding consumers and basic desires.
After my first few years at JWT, I was asked if I would like to have a job abroad. I went to Hong Kong as a regional account director. Then, right as the financial crisis in '97 was reaching a head, my boss asked me if I'd like to manage the Shanghai office, and I said, that sounds like another good adventure.
Since I've been in Shanghai, my responsibilities have expanded. Now I am in charge of north Asia for JWT, an area that includes Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and mainland China. It's been quite a ride. As we have expanded and diversified our revenue streams, our company has grown significantly, and it's been a very stimulating experience.
Mentorship about Memory, Perspective, and Experience
Booth was quite fundamental to my professional development; this is why I am not just intellectually but emotionally tied to the University of Chicago. When the Kilts Center approached me about serving as a mentor, I embraced the opportunity.
To serve as a mentor, you have to be curious about a student's ambitions and motivations and background. You have to transport yourself back in time and view that person's wide-open choices with that same fresh perspective, but one that's been seasoned with time and experience.
My relationship with marketing fellow Jeremy Schellin is as close as it's been with any of the fellows I've worked with. I've enjoyed very much getting to know Jeremy. He has a very rare combination of smoothness and a high degree of socialization and energy and creativity.
Soft Skills Are Invaluable, but Quantitative Skills Give Shape
The people that can benefit most from Booth are the conceptualizers, the ones that are very curious about the world. They're intellectually adventurous, not just in terms of frameworks, but in terms of the human condition.
When you are a leader, the task of motivating employees and getting the best out of them is an even bigger challenge than being able to articulate the optimal strategy and the optimal marketing framework with which to develop a product or service.
So this soft side is invaluable. But the quantitative side gives the shape and structure to all your instincts and theories and it's that combination that is very, very rare in the business world today. People that are conceptual leaders, and people that are empathetic leaders, they are not a dime a dozen.