The ABC team recently spoke with second year student Kerry Bullock regarding majoring in marketing at Dalhousie’s Corporate Residency MBA program. The interview focuses on Kerry’s experience as a student at Dalhousie so far, as well as her career aspirations in the marketing industry.
Kerry was born and raised in Sarnia, Ontario. She did her undergrad at Western University, completing a double major in business (BMOS) and political science. During and after her undergrad she ran a painting business in Sarnia and then joined a couple of her colleagues to run a similar business in Muskoka, Ontario. It was during these entrepreneurial experiences that she developed an interest in sales and marketing and decided to pursue an MBA.
What made you choose Dal’s MBA and what competitive advantage do you believe the program offers?
I first heard of Dal’s Corporate Residency MBA program at a graduate school fair in my second year at Western. I talked with a Dal rep at the fair and got a package to take home and look through. I skimmed the package, put it in a drawer and completely forgot about it for the next two years. Later, when I was researching MBA programs, I remembered that conversation and started the application process for the CRMBA program. My priorities for an MBA were to choose a program that would not be exactly the same as my undergrad, to focus on marketing and to go somewhere where you weren’t just a number.
Dal ended up being my first choice program for a variety of reasons. The main advantages I saw coming into the program were the eight-month corporate residency, the personal and professional development components, the small class size and the employer relationships. Now, nearing the end of the program, I realize it is the relationships you develop with your colleagues, professors, administration, employers and other stakeholders that is the most valuable component of the program. While there are many advantages to the structure and elements of this program, it is the amazing people you meet who are invested in your success that make the real difference. At the end of the day, the CRMBA program was the perfect fit for someone looking to develop her career, business knowledge, and personal and professional skills at the same time.
Where did you do your corporate residency?
Johnson & Johnson
What interests you about marketing? How did you initially decide marketing was the career path you wanted to pursue?
I was initially interested in the ‘people’ aspects of marketing. When I was running a painting business my favourite part was meeting with potential customers, figuring out their particular needs and bringing them to life by delivering an end product that directly met those needs. This process continues to interest me about marketing today. The process of researching to find a consumer need, developing a consumer insight, building a strategy around that insight, developing the strategy, executing it and seeing the final product of your work is what I love about marketing.
What is your dream marketing job?
Although I am not sure this is considered a “marketing job” (even though it definitely will include marketing), my dream job is to be a successful business owner and create something entirely new for consumers.
Has any professor at Dalhousie influenced your decision in any way? If so, how?
I decided to focus on marketing before I entered the program and clearly that has not changed.
I had a moment of hesitation after taking Dr. Nason’s finance class; however, a month into my residency I knew marketing was the right decision for me. Since then the marketing professors at Dal have helped solidify my decision and provided me with further knowledge to take back to work.
How would you describe your personal style and how does that fit with a role in marketing?
My personal style is entrepreneurial, collaborative, decisive and independent. During my residency, I was surprised to find out that brand management is ‘entrepreneurial’. I was given a lot of responsibility and autonomy to make decisions, which I found both amazing and terrifying. My collaboration skills were vital to my role since everything is done in cross-functional teams, but at the same time it was my responsibility to keep projects moving forward. This required a degree of independence, as well as problem-solving and decision-making skills.
Who has influenced you the most? Is this person in the marketing industry? What has he/she done to influence you?
As both a parent and entrepreneur, my dad has influenced me the most. Through observing him as a business owner and manager over the years, I learned how to manage people, problem-solve, work hard and use common sense. In other words, he was the first person to teach me ‘soft’ business skills, which you cannot learn from a textbook.
Who do you admire most in the marketing sector?
My manager at J&J. She is the most intelligent individual I have ever met, and has been an inspiring leader, manager and teacher. The most valuable marketing skills I developed over the last year, I learned from her. I am very fortunate not only to have gotten such a great manager for my first marketing job, but also to have had a manager who challenged me, taught me, was invested in my success and that I could look up to.
What dreams and goals have inspired you to succeed?
My overarching goals have always been to continually learn and challenge myself (i.e. avoid boredom), build strong relationships, try new things, and as cliché as it sounds, be a good person. I think that I am doing all right so far.
Are there any marketing books you recommend for someone interested in entering the industry?
These aren’t all marketing focused, but books I found interesting and somewhat relevant were:
The Little Red Book of Selling by Jeffrey Gitomer
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
Blink by Malcom Gladwell
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
If any prospective students have questions, feel free to reach out to me via email at Kerry.Bullock@dal.ca. I would be glad to help in any way possible.