MBA Internship Wrap-Up: I Got the Offer!

Yesterday, after 12 weeks as a marketing intern at a CPG company, I was offered a full-time position as an Associate Brand Manager!

The job would start next summer, once I have my b-school diploma. I have to say, I’m extremely relieved because the last 12 weeks haven’t exactly been low stress. Read on to hear some details about my summer:

The Worst Moment

Approximately one month before my final presentation, I met with a sales strategist and found out that some of the recommendations I was building were already in the pipeline. I think the guy felt horrible because my jaw dropped and my eyes got huge and I had a few minutes of freak out. First, I didn’t understand why no one else had told me this, and second, I felt like I needed to build a new recommendation (which would’ve been impossible in the last third of the summer).

Thankfully, the Brand Manager and the Senior Brand Manager met with me and told me this was fine. They also found it interesting to see that I was recommending what they were hoping to do. In the end I was able to provide data and rationale for their decisions.

celebrateThe Best Moment

Uhhh. Getting the offer. But if that doesn’t count, then maybe a community service day we had with one of the brand teams. Although I do enjoy community service, the real reason that day was awesome was because I befriended the director of a top brand in the company, and he was my advocate for the rest of the summer!

The Most Awkward Moment

Without giving away too much information on where I was working, let’s just say there are some “intimate” products in this company’s portfolio. On my very first day the director of one of these intimate brands asked me if I used the product, and what I preferred. In front of about 10 people. And I had to answer. Now I think I’m a little too comfortable talking about these private items.

The Most Valuable Thing I Learned

It’s all about your network. I’ll probably dedicate a full post to this in the future, but you will get hired based on whether or not people like you and can relate to you. Obviously you have to be capable of completing your project, but good companies only recruit people that are capable of doing it (unless you are just an excellent schmoozer). You will set yourself apart based on how you work with others, and how many influential people you can get in your court.

What My Plans Are

Relax! Kidding (kind of). I realize I am so fortunate to be heading into year two of b-school with an offer in my pocket. Because I did like it here, I doubt I will shop around to different CPG companies to try and pit offers against each other. I suppose there is a slim chance I will look for jobs where my family lives or where my boyfriend lives, but neither one of those cities have big CPG companies, so I wouldn’t be able to go into brand management. If I had to guess, I think there’s about an 80% chance I will be back here next summer!

Best of luck to those of you wrapping up internships and starting school!

Anyone else get offers this summer?

Does anyone have any questions about applying for internships?

Or about working in marketing for CPG companies?

Yoga at the Studio vs. Yoga at Home

As long as I have a good teacher, I am a big proponent of yoga at the studio – especially for new yogis. But I have to admit, there are benefits to both. Read on to determine which type of practice fits you best:

Benefits of Yoga at Home:

  • It’s free. Let’s be honest, studios are not cheap.
  • You can go at your own pace, press pause when you need to, and rewind when something feels so good you want to do it twice.
  • No judgment. Although if you are attending a studio where there is judgment, you should start looking for a new one, because that’s lame.
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Home yoga, studio yoga, how about some backyard yoga?

Benefits of Yoga at a Studio

  • An instructor. As long as you have a good one, this is super valuable. He/she can verbally or physically adjust you to make sure you are maximizing each position and not doing anything dangerous.
  • A community. Meeting your fellow yogis can help keep you motivated to work hard and inspire you to try new things.
  • Accountability. If you’re like me, paying for something helps you commit to going. When I have no official commitment, it’s easier to put off until tomorrow/never.

 Is there anything I left out?

Where do you like to practice, and why?

Grad School Loans Part II: Budgeting for an MBA

Let’s dive into my grad school financials. If you first want an overview of my grad school loans check out Part I. Note that this budget does not account for the amount of tuition I paid at the beginning of the semester with my loans. It does account for things like books and parking passes.

7027596629_70d7540363_oI’ve always been a financial planner, so I had a well-developed budget heading into grad school. I made some tweaks based on my life as a student, and this is the budget I decided I would need for my two years in school:

Monthly Grad School Budget
Groceries  $        70.00
Eating Out  $        70.00
Personal Care  $        80.00
Entertainment  $        20.00
General Shopping  $     100.00
Gas  $        60.00
Misc.  $        50.00
Travel  $     100.00
Gifts for Others  $     150.00
Electric/Internet  $        60.00
Rent  $     700.00
Roth IRA  $     100.00
Car Insurance  $        80.00
Grad School Expenses  $     200.00
TOTAL Cost/Month  $  1,840.00

I also wasn’t completely rigid with the money buckets. For example, around the holidays I would shift much more money into the “gifts for others” section at the expense of “general shopping”. Often when I wasn’t spending money on “travel”, I’d shift that money over to my general shopping fund (the amount of money I spent there is a conversation for another day).

Based on this budget, I was able to take out the loans I needed to feel comfortable. It was rare that I spent the full budget each month, but I decided it would be better to have a bit of excess than not enough.

I also came into some unexpected money during the year that made me wish I’d taken out a couple thousand less. The first money influx was from winning the case competition, and the second was a tax refund. I did my own taxes for the first time and was able to find several ways to get money back.

Heading into this next year I’m taking out fewer loans in the fall (thanks to savings from my internship) and extra in the spring (because I hope to do a study abroad over spring break and then travel once I graduate).

Do you have any questions about my budget?

How did you budget for school?

Did you so something differently that was very successful?

Grad School Loans Part I: The High Costs of an MBA

I am very anti-loan. I took out $4,400 total in unsubsidized loans in undergrad (specifically to study abroad because I wouldn’t be able to have a job overseas), and I paid it off in full before it had time to gain any interest.

8231672492_88aaedaa0f_oWhen it came time to build credit after undergrad, I reluctantly took out a car loan and made payments just long enough that it would positively impact my credit (two years), and then I paid it off in full.

My grad school experience has been a wee bit different, and by the end of my two years I will have approximately $70,000 in loans. Yikes.

There are a few reasons as to why this round of education has been so much more expensive:

A) I’m going to a private school. This means not only do I pay a gazillion more dollars than I would at a public school (like my undergrad), but I can’t get tuition waivers for things like TA-ing, and I don’t get tax-free pay for on-campus jobs.

I’ve wrestled with my decision to attend this school, but frankly, once I was accepted I felt like it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I was also slightly blinded by the fact that I received a $60,000 scholarship for my two years. But when tuition is around $100,000, you still need room and board, you have to buy books/gas/parking, and you want to do things like attend the intercession study abroad, $60,000 is less than half of what you will need.

B) I didn’t have great savings heading into this. Remember, I was a teacher prior to b-school, so I was raking in less than $40,000/year. I had also just completed my first master’s degree in education. Thankfully, I received grants for that and I was working full-time, so I didn’t have any debt. Still, it contributed to my lack of savings.

C) I don’t want to deny myself life experiences. This is a personal choice. I am determined not to let money hold me back from amazing adventures, so I made the choice to go to Colorado, Seattle and Alaska last year. I don’t regret it!

This has left me with $70,000 to pay off starting about a year from now. That’s nearly $900/month. And because I’m a grad student, the interest is already starting to pile on.

My school promises me that I will be able to get a job post-grad that will provide me with enough income to pay it off, but I’ll keep you posted. For details on my budget check out Part II.

Does anyone else out there have mountains of loans?

Did anyone change their lifestyle to take out fewer loans?

Does anyone have problems paying for their loans?

Three Months Into My Spending Freeze, I Go to Target

And frankly, it wasn’t a big deal. I wandered around the store (clothing sections included) for about an hour. Rather that looking at price tags and touching different materials, I really just looked. I didn’t feel a sudden urge to try anything on, and I didn’t see anything that I absolutely need.

8IZNhRrfPrior to this four-month experiment, I felt like variety was all I wanted in my wardrobe. Now, I think I really want quality. I want clothes that I love that will stick around for a long time.

Last week I wore a shirt I haven’t worn in a year. Not because I don’t like it, but because it’s falling apart. Therefore, I have avoided wearing it, just hoping that I could get it to stick around a little longer.

I suppose there is a little more to the story. This shirt was my favorite shirt the summer of 2010, and I remember getting compliments on it, going on a first date while wearing it, and dancing at my favorite bar with all of my college buddies while taking Rumple Minze shots with a boy with an amazing beard (my life used to be so much more exciting).

So although this shirt is basically un-wearable, I haven’t wanted to say goodbye. I decided to wear it last week as a sort of farewell. I’m not throwing it away just yet, but my hope is that by the end of the summer, when I’m moving back to my apartment, I’ll be able to leave it behind.

Yeesh, it’s crazy how a little yellow tank top can make me so nostalgic for the past, especially since I’m not exactly a sentimental person. It’s just like this one shirt was my key to an amazing summer!

Does anyone else have a piece of clothing like this? Do you keep it? Or did you say goodbye?

Sitting Client Side at an Ad Agency Presentation

Today was amazing! The advertising agency for my company presented the 2016 creative to my brand team for the first time, and I got sit in on the meeting.

And let me say, holy moly sitting client side is SO much better than being the presenter. FYI in college one of my majors was advertising, so the last time I attended a creative presentation, I was presenting to a client to wrap up my capstone project at an agency. So stressful.

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Unfortunately, none of the agency folk were as good-looking as Don Draper.

Anyway, I got to see the potential 2016 creative at the same time as the director of my fancy brand, I got to hear the tagline the first time it was pitched, and I got to see magazine/digital/shopper/every kind of creative you can imagine before it hits the market.

THIS IS SO COOL! In fact, there is a high likelihood that 10-12 months from now you guys will see this creative. My mind is blown, and obviously I’m having a pretty good time at my internship.

I am, however, still concerned about my final project. I have two weeks left to magically have a PowerPoint deck and completed financials. I’m not super optimistic.

I’m also struggling a bit because the idea of this offer is hanging over my head and it feels just out of reach. I’m having a tough time reading my co-workers and ensuring I’m completing my project the way they expected me to. Basically, I’m insecure and unsure of whether I can make this job a full-time reality. I guess on the plus side, I’ll know in a month!

Morning Yoga

Throughout my youth and into college I was very obviously a night person. I suffered from insomnia, so mornings were always a challenge. This issue followed me into my first teaching gig, and I relied on coffee to put on my peppy face for when the students arrived.

My last year in the classroom, this all changed. I became ill for several months during the winter, and suddenly my body changed. It needed sleep, and lots of it. I went from a six-hour-a-night lady to an eight-hour lady, and I haven’t struggled to fall asleep since.

This summer I’ve come to realize that as a result, I’m slowly becoming a morning person. I said that out loud for the first time yesterday, and it felt awkward yet strangely liberating.

For example, this morning before my roommate even changed out of her pajamas, I had worked on my intern project for five hours. It was delightful!

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Watching the sun rise is definitely a benefit of a morning practice!

This has also led to me practicing yoga in the morning. I often wake up before 5:30 so I can get my asana on. I’ve noticed some benefits as well as drawbacks to a morning practice.

Benefits

  • I am not as tired as when I practice in the afternoon, so every chaturanga feels like it’s filling me with power rather than drawing it out of me
  • I start my day on a more uplifting, positive note – which helps me stay in a better mood
  • I feel more energized when I get to work

Drawbacks

  • I am stiffer in the morning – even by the end of my practice my heels aren’t as close to the ground in downward dog as they can be
  • I have to shower at work, and I always inevitably forget something I need (the time I left my bra at home was a highly un-enjoyable experience)

Since I have the opportunity, and my schedule permits, I’m going to keep it up for the rest of the summer.

Does anyone else choose a morning practice? Why or why not?

How do you overcome the drawbacks?