Originally posted by Jordan Fujiwara.
What’s the dream marketing job look like to you? I always pictured a place where a lot of proposals and graphics and data would come flying at you from all corners of the department, and you’d be there in the middle making things happen, approving this, rejecting that, analyzing this trend, applying it to that campaign. Fast paced, and always different.
As it turns out, Cristina Castronovo is pretty much living out that fantasy as an Assistant Brand Manager with Johnson & Johnson. Cristina, who is known for her compulsion to smile infectiously, hails from Richmond Hill, Ontario. She went to Queen’s and received a BScH, majoring in psychology. “I definitely think my psych background has helped me, not only from a consumer perspective in terms of being able to quickly understand our target audience, but also in terms of being able to analyze data and tell a story based on that data,” she says.
Johnson & Johnson is a high-profile company with a huge variety of brands. Cristina currently works on the K-Y Brand and has also gotten exposure to some Purell projects. Cristina tells me the culture at J&J is incredible: “It’s definitely supportive. You’re given a lot of responsibility and autonomy right away; they really trust you and your superiors really care about your success and growth. Just this Monday, the VP of my division took me and another intern out for lunch to check in with us. That gesture in and of itself spoke volumes to me about the culture at J&J.”
Cristina spends a lot of her time writing what is called a brand review for K-Y, which involves looking deeply into the various aspects of the brand’s 2009 performance and identifying future opportunities for growth. However, she’s also had some involvement with the K-Y Intimacy Experiment, a reality series–inspired campaign that launched earlier this year. “I’ve been down to Toronto for a commercial voice-over session and have helped edit some of the commercial scripts,” she says. She also is involved with developing artwork for packaging graphics and in-store displays. Agencies will send her prototype designs and based on her research and vision, she will make suggestions, approve certain details and reject others. Very cool. “There’s such a breadth of experience in this job,” Cristina says excitedly. “On top of the typical creative stuff you might expect with a marketing position, it’s very analytical as well, which surprised me. I really enjoy what I am doing. Marketing excites me, and this experience has confirmed to me that I’m heading in the right direction!” In the coming months, she anticipates moving on to other brands in the J&J family, such as Reach and StayFree.
When I asked Cristina what she liked most about the Corporate Residency MBA program itself (you know, putting aside her sweet job), she quickly responded, “For me it comes down to the people. I just think, in terms of everything we had to go through – including crazy intense courses and finding a job – that if it wasn’t for the network of people in the program I wouldn’t have made it through without losing my mind! Everyone’s just so invested in the program’s success.” She also enjoys Halifax and was very happy to have been here over the summer: “There’s never a shortage of things to do in Halifax in the summer, all the festivals and places to see! And I had always wanted to go on a boat cruise!” Ah yes, the boat cruise. Last summer the Corporate Residency MBA students, along with significant others and the second year MBAs, piled onto a seaworthy if slightly crammed vessel and chugged around Halifax Harbour as the daylight drained from the sky. “It was amazing!”
Cristina would like to say to members of the class who are reading this: “I miss everyone! I hope you are enjoying your time and residency right now!”
To prospective students and those who have already been accepted, she says, “It’s a challenging program, but you will grow so much and develop so many skills that you never even thought you could develop.” Cristina is also contributing to our ongoing testimonial video project.
We’ll see you all next week at the latest! We will probably start publishing stuff twice weekly so either keep on top of the Twitter feed (http://www.twitter.com/dalmba) or track the updates on the Facebook page!