In the blink of an eye, time has passed from the dewy mornings of May to the chilly rains and early snows of November. In between, I spent ten weeks at General Mills thinking a lot about business, brands, and… tacos!
Being a associate brand manager at General Mills (colloquially and fondly referred to as “Mills” by employees) was a whirlwind education and an incredible opportunity to contribute towards a well-loved brand. The work was exciting, the coworkers were supportive, and most of all, the food was plentiful!
I was placed on two projects for the summer, one being analytical and the other strategic, for the Old El Paso brand. (Yes, if you’re wondering– I ate a LOT of tacos this summer!) In my analytical project, I used sales data to better understand recent business decisions and create a quantitative way of evaluating how well those decisions were performing. In my strategic project, I used every kind of data I could get my hands on– consumer, sales, business, and anything else I could find– to develop a strategy to reach out to consumers we didn’t currently talk to. The work was exciting and meaningful; much of my work and suggestions were either immediately implemented or placed into the strategic plan.
Being a career switcher, it was thrilling to finally get to try out the job I want for my future. What I have been talking about in a theoretical sense for the past year or more suddenly became reality, and the concepts I’ve been studying in class came to life. I was surrounded by brilliant, friendly, excited brand managers. It was a relief to do the work and confirm just how much I love this new career path. Plus, it’s great to have some relevant experience on my resume!
The intern class was another huge part of the positive atmosphere at Mills. There were about twenty-five MBAs from all over the country in brand and consumer insights. All of us were from wildly different backgrounds; for example, one intern was a wine expert, and another had been a private chef before school. We shared our challenges and victory at work while sharing our unique backgrounds with each other– yes, that means I drank very good wine and ate very good food over the course of the summer! I was also lucky enough to have an intern “buddy” on my team, as two of us were placed on Old El Paso. My Power Twin– as we called each other– and I shared a great adventure on the brand by helping each other out and celebrating our victories together. It was great coming in every morning to a friendly face that understood everything I was going through! I am so grateful to have gone through my summer journey with so many brilliant, friendly, and fun fellow interns.
I feel just the same about my full-time coworkers at the company. I felt a lot of pressure walking in, knowing I had ten weeks to deliver two projects while proving myself as a brand manager. However, that pressure disappeared immediately as my team welcomed myself and my fellow intern to the Old El Paso team. As a result of great bonding we did, my most treasured possession from the summer is a dinosaur taco holder that my team decorated for me, including the excellent pun, “Nacho Average Intern.”
Outside of the 8-5, I got to experience and enjoy Minneapolis. The city is gorgeous in the summer, and everyone spends all of the sunlit hours enjoying the outdoors. Our housing was just a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River, so my after-work run was along its shores and across the famous Stone Arch Bridge. Additionally, we were placed in the hopping North Loop, so there always was a delicious brunch or dinner to discover at its many restaurants. As if that wasn’t good enough, I had some old friends from my undergrad days living in town, so I got to catch up with them and spend a great summer together!
My summer at General Mills was an exemplary experience, and I feel so honored that I got to have my dream summer internship with them.
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