June 17, 2016

Intern Report: Testing Out the Dream Job

Liz Smith is a candidate in the full-time MBA program.

If I could describe my dream job in just a few words, it would be some combination of problem-solving, strategic-thinking, marketing, chocolate ice cream and dogs. Oh, and making a difference in the lives of others (whether they walk upright or on all fours). Unfortunately, not all of those things fit into one specific role, at least not now, but I got pretty close with an internship in brand management marketing at Purina.

For those not familiar with the company, Purina is a pet food and supplies company located in St. Louis, MO. Whether or not you have a pet, you’ve likely been exposed to their brands through their marketing – brands such as Dog Chow, Beggin’ Strips and Tidy Cats litter. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love dogs; no, I’m obsessed with our furry friends. And my love of marketing and interest in brand management is what made this role the perfect fit for me.

I am currently one month into my three-month internship and I am loving every minute. I get to learn about an industry that I pay a lot of money into for my own pup; I’m discovering interesting facts and trends in pet ownership, such as (according to a survey) more dog and cat owners indicated that they’d rather stay and cuddle their pet on Valentine’s day than go out with their significant other; and I’m working alongside some of the smartest marketers in the business, and their furry four-legged companions! I’ve gotten exposure to tools and resources that are critical for success in brand management, and have been able to apply some of what I learned both in the classroom and in my previous work experience to the job. One of my favorite experiences was getting to see some dog treats come off of a production line!

In addition to the work experience, I’m having fun exploring a new city with the other interns! St. Louis has a rich history and I have enjoyed visiting its neighborhoods and sampling its foods. For anyone planning a visit to St. Louis, try the gooey butter cake! It’s native to the city and most restaurants in town will have it on the dessert menu. Also, visit the City Museum – it’s a playground for grownups (that’s also kid-friendly if you have little ones who like to explore)!

It’s only been a month, but I have had an amazing experience thus far at Purina and can’t wait to see what the next two months have in store! I need to make a special plug for Weatherhead’s Career Management Office for working with me early last year on refining my resume and interviewing skills and making sure that I knew about this particular role. If it weren’t for their help, I wouldn’t have had as much success in the internship search process. I can’t wait to come back in the fall and hear about what everyone else is doing, too!

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