Major: Business Management and Innovation (CIS)
Concentration: Media Studies
Current Position: Integrated Communications Planning Associate at General Mills in Minneapolis, MN
What is your current position? What are your responsibilities?
I work as an Integrated Communications Planning Associate at General Mills. It is an exciting position because it is rotational throughout different marketing specialties within General Mills. Currently, my role is in Integrated Shopper Marketing in which I am the marketing-communications point for a sales region. It is my responsibility to strategically plan in-store events and promotions for all General Mills brands at our region’s key retailers: Walgreens, CVS, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Save A Lot. To accomplish this I build annual promotion plans per retailer using a wide range of tactics including custom packaging, couponing, in-store displays, digital media, direct mail, and retailer-specific media. I am responsible for creative development, project management, and an annual budget. I will be in this role for 18 - 24 months and will then rotate to another marketing-communications role either with a specific General Mills brand (ex: Yoplait, Big G Cereals, Progresso) or with a specialized team (digital marketing, licensing).
Why did you choose to pursue a career in this field?
I love brands. It appealed to me to work with established and well-respected brands. Working in a promotional type of marketing is an exciting way to think beyond a brand’s core values and give consumers greater incentive to purchase. As I progress in my career I look forward to working more closely with brand management.
How did you gain the experience necessary for this position?
I gained experience by networking in the Twin Cities marketing community and in various internships. Attending association events and conferences through the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association gave me a venue to apply my media studies knowledge to relevant topics. This was also a great way to meet marketing professionals and become acquainted with the breadth of opportunities available in the industry. For a more hands on experience I completed an internship the summer following my junior year at the Schwan Food Company. This gave me awesome experience working with consumer packaged foods and in a corporate setting. Additionally, I completed internships with ContactKarma.com–a small tech start up, and OMG Inc– a manufacturer’s representative firm that works with Target.
How did your Media Studies coursework or experiences help you get where you are today?
Within the Media Studies department I was able to tailor my coursework to align with my interests and career aspirations. I selected relevant project and paper topics such as advertising and American industrial food production. Furthermore, during my senior year I completed an independent study with Bill Sonnega in Brand Management. Overall, Media Studies taught me how to think critically about media and the world; this has not only been helpful in job hunting and the onset of my career, but has been immensely rewarding on a personal level.
Any advice you would give a Media Studies student knowing what you know now?
Meet people, ask questions, and learn about the opportunities around you. Talk to your professors about your interests and apply them in your studies. But don’t limit your focus to the classroom, explore media even when you aren’t being graded or evaluated – more than anything, being engaged and informed will work in your favor when job hunting or beginning your career. Most importantly, cherish your days on the Hill – they go by too fast!