Seeking a new direction, Annie Pemberton, ’20, leveraged Booth’s Kilts Center to launch her career, which combines both the art and science of marketing.
- July 30, 2020
Early in her professional life, Annie Pemberton, ’20, found herself at a crossroads. Having majored in mathematics and economics at Boston College, Pemberton started her career at the economic consulting firm Charles River Associates. But when it came to graduate school, she saw two paths before her: Should she double down on her analytical strengths and pursue an advanced degree in data science, or explore her burgeoning interest in taking on more managerial roles?
“When I realized there are programs, like Chicago Booth, that offer data science classes, I realized I could do an MBA without giving up this analytical side that had really been my strength up until that point,” said Pemberton.
Booth became “an obvious top pick,” and in her first quarter in the Full-Time MBA Program, Pemberton decided to push herself even further outside of her comfort zone and take a marketing course for the first time.
“I hadn’t necessarily arrived with an interest in marketing,” she said. “But I heard about courses like Data Science for Marketing Decision Making, Digital and Algorithmic Marketing, and Pricing Strategies, and they sounded like an interesting adaptation of my skills in econometrics to the corporate environment.”
The 37000 Marketing Strategy course, taught by Bradley Shapiro, associate professor of marketing and a True North Faculty Scholar, “led to me falling in love with marketing, taking so many marketing courses, and becoming a Kilts Scholar,” she said. It gave her a solid grounding in the fundamentals of marketing, and introduced specialized concepts that she would go on to take deeper elective courses in. She rounded out her marketing education by taking courses in consumer behavior, general management, and strategy—clinical professor of marketing Art Middlebrooks’ New Products and Services course being a particular highlight—and participating in the Kilts MillerCoors case competition.
“Students at Booth really taught me the meaning of the word community. Many of the best parts of my two years at Booth were due to organizations or activities that were student-run—from the Graduate Business Council, to spring break trips, to recruiting support. . . . This community of students that I’ve spent the past two years with will always be a resource that I can come back to. We’ll always have each other’s backs.”
Events held by the student-run Marketing Group as well as the Kilts Center’s case prep workshop helped her position herself for a brand management internship—a big goal, connected to her ambition of adding more creative, strategic experience to her resume. Pemberton landed a summer internship with Kraft Heinz, where she found herself collaborating with chefs and touring innovation centers to develop a new direction for the company’s food-service barbecue sauce products.
“It was a classic marketing case study,” Pemberton said. “I had to dig into the problem, and come up with short-term and long-term solutions to really define a strategy for this brand, for everything from new product development, to pricing, to promotional and creative resources. The classes I took at Booth prepared me well for that.”
Throughout her time at Booth, Pemberton said, she appreciated the meaningful connections she made with classmates. “Students at Booth really taught me the meaning of the word community,” she said. “Many of the best parts of my two years at Booth were due to organizations or activities that were student-run—from the Graduate Business Council, to spring break trips, to recruiting support.” Even when the COVID-19 crisis forced classes to move online for her final quarter, she saw her fellow students and administrators pull together to create a sense of togetherness. “This community of students that I’ve spent the past two years with will always be a resource that I can come back to,” she said. “We’ll always have each other’s backs.”
After graduating this spring, Pemberton joined e-commerce giant Wayfair. As a senior manager in marketing leading paid search for the company’s AllModern.com brand, she partners closely with the company’s marketing-specific data science team but within the kind of managerial role she had aspired to.
“I can understand when our data science team is presenting to us about their machine learning models and how that helps them target the right consumers with the right advertisement because I built very basic machine learning models in my classes at Booth,” said Pemberton. “This role is exactly what I always said I was looking for.”
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