Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Marketing Summit Recap: Making Contacts


If you were looking for a productive way to hide from the wintery mix outside today, the Marketing  Summit Networking Event was the place to be. More than 50 undergraduate and graduate students had the opportunity to meet with top-level execs from a diverse array of companies such as Pepsico, BB&T, Fleishman-Hillard and, of course, IBM.

The event, sponsored by Altria, is best characterized as a type of career search speed dating. Students rotated through the nine rooms of various executives, spending 10 minutes in each room. Talk about the importance of making a good first impression! The executives encouraged us to ask them anything!

In the time I spent with Fleishman and Hillard senior vice president Britt Carter, we covered everything from today’s current job market and the hard work ethic it has generated in job applicants, to the imperative of PR account managers to tell a company they represent, “no, the event you have in mind might do you more harm than good,” even at the risk of losing an account. What follows a conversation like that? At F&H, it’s creative thinking and a reliance on the relationships that they are so excellent at cultivating.

The students were eager to learn and the executives were more than willing to share their stories and offer advice. I walked out of my time with Primo Water, Cheerwine and HigherApps representatives feeling that three successful businessmen genuinely wanted to know how they could help, and encouraged that in interviews, if I show who I am and articulate passionately that my time has been well spent in previous jobs, internships and classrooms, the recruiters you will want on your side, in the end, won’t miss the value.

~Elisabeth Holby

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