A Mentorship - Fostering Future Marketing Leaders

Soon to be a full-time assistant brand manager of Old Spice at Procter & Gamble, marketing fellow Ryan Bennett is sponsored by L. Dick Buell, '78, former CEO of Catalina Marketing, whose mentorship is abundant with lessons that aren't taught in the classroom.

Two major trends are making data analysis a critical competency for aspiring marketers: one is the ongoing shift to e-commerce and digital marketing and the other is the continued push to globalize brands. Both rely on the ability to synthesize and generate unique insights from data. So, I wanted an MBA that would really give me the necessary quantitative skills essential for success, which is why I chose Booth.

The Kilts Center's marketing fellowship program does a great job of bridging the fundamentals I learn in the classroom with the business world. Many schools have great alumni networks, but how many have CEOs willing to devote their valuable time - especially at the height of their careers - to help students develop personal and professional skills? It's a testament to the strength of Booth's alumni network.

Gaining perspective on a future career

For my marketing fellowship, I was paired with Dick Buell, previously CEO of Catalina Marketing, who has incredible perspective within the marketing world. He has phenomenal relationships with senior management teams across all consumer packaged goods and retail industries, so he really knows what top companies in the industry are doing strategically. Dick has a unique bird's eye view of an industry that I'm about to enter, and I benefitted tremendously from his perspective. He is also an incredible coach and has helped me develop my personal leadership style.

There are some critical aspects to management and marketing that can't be taught in a classroom. From my relationship with Dick, I'm able to practically apply many academic theories and frameworks that I learn in the classroom. His advice and ongoing support has helped me understand exactly how dynamic the marketing environment is and how flexible one needs to be to navigate a career path.

Working with the Kilts Center

In 2010, with the help of the Kilts Center, I started the Marketing Buddy Program. We matched second year students with admitted first years in an effort to connect new students to Booth's network and resources. Last year, we paired 120 admitted students with roughly 50 current students, and this year the program has grown.

The Kilts Center is a key driver of initiatives at Chicago Booth, and brings incredible speakers to campus. The founder of the center, Jim Kilts, came this year to tell the story of his career - his first job at Kraft all the way up until becoming chairman and CEO of Gillette - and he emphasized the importance of marketing skills. It was incredibly inspirational.