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From an early age, UBC Sauder student Sharon Shi has been captivated by the world’s biggest brands and how they influence what we wear, eat, drink and live. She longed to get behind the scenes and be part of their driving force.

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thechallenge

At the UBC Sauder School of Business, Shi immediately set her sights on a career in brand management for a global consumer packaged goods company, preferably on the East Coast of North America.

But to achieve her ambitions of landing such a role in a high-profile organization by the time she graduated, Shi needed to ramp up her marketing skills and gain relevant work experience to compete with thousands of other commerce graduates vying for similar roles in Toronto or New York.

To aquire the hard skills and experience she needed to get the edge, she targeted UBC Sauder’s Brand Management Mentorship Program and the Co-op program at the school’s Hari B. Varshney Business Career Centre.

 
thepersonality

Originally from Toronto, Shi moved to Vancouver to pursue her BCom. “I wanted to come here to challenge myself to develop in a new environment, out of my comfort zone,” she explains.

In her second year at UBC Sauder, Shi was accepted into the Brand Management Mentorship Program run by senior marketing instructor, Tim Silk, and made available to BCom and MBA students.

During a summer of workshops in the program, Shi was mentored by brand managers from leading organizations such as Pepsi, Colgate, Visa and Microsoft. “They really lit a fire under us,” she says.

Veronica Yeung, Marketing Manager at PepsiCo, coached Shi in the program and recalls her as being extremely curious and passionate about the field of brand management. “Sharon leveraged the rigorous BMMP curriculum to connect with UBC Sauder alumni who work in the industry to gain first-hand knowledge of working in the real world. Ultimately, she learned what it is recruiters are looking for, and how she can better market herself to land her dream job.”

 
theexperience

Using the insights she gained in the BMMP program, Shi worked with UBC Sauder’s career centre to land co-op placements in three multinational companies, lasting four months each.

“My first co-op placement was at Coca Cola in the summer of 2014,” recalls Shi. I did field sales, learning how marketing plans are executed on a granular level.

Having such a high-profile brand on her resume led to Shi’s second co-op at Nature’s Path. “Here I was able to focus on brand management,” she says, “looking at the long term strategic visions that were filtered down to a creative sales tool and then transferred to sales reps to be used in the field.”

Shi’s third co-op placement was a role in customer marketing with Labatt. For this she beat out 1,500 other applicants in a speed networking session held by the UBC Marketing Association called “Connect 4.” Focusing on sponsorship, execution and project management, Shi had the opportunity to work with the BC Lions, BC Place and the Vancouver Whitecaps.

thechange

Shi’s experiences in the Brand Management Mentorship program, coupled with her three co-op placements fully prepared her for her chosen career in brand management.

Sharon Shi

“My mentors on the BMMP program deemed me ready for the ‘real world’ so submitted my resume to a series of CPG companies,” says Shi. “I got a call from a recruiter at PepsiCo and four rounds of interviews later I was offered a full time role with them.”

After she graduates from UBC Sauder, Shi will be moving back to Toronto to take up her new position as Assistant Marketing Manager at PepsiCo, working to develop the profitability of one of their brands.

“It’s pretty much my dream job,” she says, “I can’t wait to get started with my career.”

 

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