My Internship Experience: How classes apply to the “Real World”

By: Inga, MBA Candidate, Class of 2010

Summers always seem to short, but for me this summer seems to have flown by even faster than usual. I spent 12 weeks in Parsippany, NJ, 45 minutes from the bright lights of New York City, working with consumer-packaged goods company Reckitt Benckiser as a brand management intern. While the name Reckitt Benckiser may not ring a bell instantly, most of you will be familiar with its brands: Lysol, Airwick, Clearasil, Finish (or Eletrosol), Frank’s Red Hot and French’s Mustard, just to name a few.

Mustard I was assigned to the French’s Mustard brand team; an interesting assignment considering RT French founded his company in Rochester, NY. Just like everyone that starts a new job, I was overwhelmed at first. Who knew so much information and data existed on mustard? And I thought it was just a condiment, boy was I wrong. Over the 12 weeks with Reckitt Benckiser (RB) I learned that consumers are actually very passionate about their purchasing decision, the packaging and of course the flavor. More than that, however, I was put to work.

When in class, I often wondered how the lectures and projects applied to the real world. At RB, I received a taste of it. On many occasions, I wanted to send a thank you note to Professor Nelson, who teaches the Brand Management Workshop, for introducing me to Nielsen data. Professor Misra’s GBA412 class helped with the vast amount of data analysis I was performing; Professor Albuquerque’s introductory marketing class turned out to be the basis for my final presentation. And finally, Professor Schmidt’s cold-calling and endless questioning prepared me well for the constant scrutiny of upper management.

For all of you who will soon be sitting in my seat in class you may wonder: why the professor keeps drilling you on your reasoning; why you are expected to work with so many numbers and run endless regressions; or why something as trivial as the 4 Ps and 3 Cs appear on your exam. The answer to these questions is that you they are very helpful skills for your internship or career after Simon.

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