Student Perspectives

Student Perspective

Julianne Feder

Julianne Feder

MBA 19

Associate Brand Manager
Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream (formerly Nestlé)

A menu of resources for a career in food

The Berkeley Haas resources in the food space are multi-faceted, starting with Will Rosenzweig and the Sustainable Food Initiative through the Center for Responsible Business. You also have connections to alumni who have made their mark, like John Foraker at Annie’s and professors like Bill Pearce, a legend in the industry.

Being in Professor Bill Pearce’s Strategic Brand Management class, and having him as a mentor, was tailor-made for someone interested in the food and brand management space.

For my Power & Politics class I interviewed Haas alumni working in the food space about their roles and responsibilities. I actually used the paper I wrote for the class, “Hello former Scrappy Entrepreneur: Welcome to Big CPG” to prepare for my new position.

A shift in direction toward brand management

My career goal was always ‘food or bust,’ but Haas exposed me to a new different set of options within the industry. Through my classmates and interactions with guest speakers and professors, I saw the many facets of the food world. That opened up the options to what I could do and how I could make a bigger impact.

Coming into business school, all of my previous experience had been pretty entrepreneurial, from being a private chef to running my own food blog and culinary consultancy. But all of my education in running a business had been a trial by fire. I knew I needed the solid business fundamentals that an MBA could give me.

Initially, I dismissed the idea of brand management as a career. But listening to people like Nestlé’s Kim Peddle Rguem at the Marketing Summit during Career Week helped me throw out my preconceived ideas. I realized being a brand manager was like being a mini-CEO and could give me the training I wanted. My internship at General Mills confirmed my change of heart, and I’m thrilled to be working at Dreyer’s, formerly Nestlé.

Hands-on experience outside the kitchen

The Food Innovation Studio was a terrific opportunity to try out different entrepreneurial ideas. I recruited a team to test out a more community-oriented cooking class model. We put on several pop-ups and got a lot of great learnings. We ultimately decided not to pursue it, but I was able to test my hypotheses in the process.

I continued to try out entrepreneurial ideas in Lean Launch Pad. Leading a team of three Information School students on our project was challenging and rewarding. Using design thinking concepts, we piloted ToGather, a response to the question ‘How can we encourage people to cook and eat together more often?’

One of my big takeaways as a leader and a team member is the importance of listening with an open mind and listening to really hear, not just to anticipate the point that you want to make. In the end you become a better contributor and leader.

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