The Power of Marketing at Chicago Booth

Anne Panek, a first-year student, recently attended the Marketing Group’s annual conference. This week, as part of a guest blog feature for The Booth Experience, we hear more about the conference itself and other activities that the group organizes. Thank you to Swati Ayyar, a co-chair of the Marketing Group, for providing us with a photo of the event.


Prior to coming to Booth, I managed the marketing department for an insurance company that insured home equity portfolios. While working in that industry during the last few years proved to be a valuable experience in gaining a perspective on the recent economic changes, I’m looking to switch gears a bit and work for a CPG company. Getting an MBA from Booth was a logical step for this career move and will allow me to better pursue my interests. I was drawn to Booth not only because of the quality of the research by the marketing faculty and but also for the opportunity to take the experiential “hands-on” courses that are available in the discipline.

During Dean Kumar’s opening remarks at the seventh annual Marketing Group conference that I attended on October 24, he reiterated his enthusiasm for the current marketing curriculum and expressed confidence that it can be taken to an even higher level. He believes that the school’s access to the Nielsen consumer database, in particular, enhances Booth’s already unrivaled reputation for research and will continue to drive top faculty and student talent (three marketing faculty members have been recently hired). Yet, perhaps the comment most indicative of Dean Kumar’s passion for making Booth a marketing powerhouse was his comparison of the program’s current potential to the revolutionary changes that the university made to the field of finance decades earlier.

This conference is one of the largest annual events organized by the Marketing Group. Over 150 attendees were present, including first- and second- year students, faculty, and company representatives. Students had the chance to chat with company representatives during the dinner hour. As a first-year student still familiarizing myself with the recruiting process and scoping out internship possibilities, I found this to be a great opportunity to candidly chat with several employees of leading firms in brand management and other marketing services, such as Kraft, PepsiCo, and Wrigley. In fact, the conference itinerary was designed to accommodate both formal and casual networking opportunities, which provided us with the chance to speak with a wide range of attendees.

Two concurrent panel discussions were held afterwards: “Marketing in a Digital Age” and “Innovation in a Changing Landscape.” I attended the former, which was moderated by Booth professor Jean-Pierre Dubé, and included company representatives from American Express, Digitas, Progressive, and Target. I found it interesting that many panelists discussed not only how to leverage customer data in a meaningful and pragmatic way, but also how it was important to respect customers’ concerns about how their information was being used (even when it is publicly posted on social media sites!).

In addition to the conference, the Marketing Group offers a number of other events to assist students during the recruiting process (and beyond!): one-on-one résumé reviews, an interviewing workshop, company visits to campus, and marketing treks. It’s important to take advantage of these opportunities; not only can they greatly enhance the chances of receiving an internship offer at a top firm, but also strengthen professional and interpersonal skills.

Overall, this event was a first quarter highlight for me, and a great opportunity to learn more about some of the most pressing issues in the field, as well as how the corporate and academic sides of marketing are reconciled.

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