GW MBA New York City Career Trek

October 26, 2008, 9:46 am
Filed under: 1

I know. I’m a geek. I embrace it.

This post is a combination of three sub-posts. What can I say? A lot happened my last day of the 2008 NY Career Trek: breakfast with Carol Engel (BBA 1985, MBA 1988), three company visits and dinner with my parents. Okay, maybe you don’t want to read about dinner with mom and dad, but the rest of the day was INCREDIBLE. See below.

THERE’S A 7:45 AM?!
(Don’t you wish you were a morning person, too?)

Carol Engel (BBA 1985, MBA 1988) is A-mazing (say it just like that)! Everyone should have an opportunity at least once in his/her life to spend a meal with someone like Carol. (That’s right. If you’re ever asked if you could have dinner with any three people in the world, scratch off one of those people who just popped into your head and add Carol to the list. Trust me.)

Carol is a fabulous professional woman who has made it all happen. She is the founder of C.S. Engel & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in strategic marketing and licensing. For 14 years, Carol has been responsible for the daily management of marketing and licensing programs for world-renowned companies, brands and licensed properties. She has a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of the global marketplace, and the industry leaders in manufacturing and retail around the world. Since 1998, Carol has been retained by ARS AG to manage and oversee the 2-d licensing of Hummel, M.I. Hummel in the North American market.

It took a ton of tough decisions to get where she is today, but it seems like Carol is able to do it all, and do it well. She can juggle tasks like she’s in Cirque du Soleil. She is a phenomenal worker, wife, mother…you name it. She is simply awesome, fabulously personable, straight shooting, and she loves GW.

So, I guess you could say breakfast was pretty good.

Carol’s willingness to tell the story of her career path was most meaningful for me. She doesn’t sugarcoat things; she tells it like it is. I can’t express how much I appreciate that. She gave my group great insight, letting us know what life in NYC is really like (and where to go to escape), how important good support is and how important it is to make sure you know yourself well enough to make the tough career choices. Carol talked about making the transition from working for others to working for herself. She was completely open to any questions we had…..and she had plenty of her own about our classes and professors, some of whom she had, too.

Carol also gave us some great advice. She let us know we shouldn’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call a bigwig to talk about his/her company’s work. Hey, if we read something interesting in the newspaper or a trade magazine, and we want to know more, why not? What’s the worst that can happen? Our call won’t be taken? Big deal. Pick up the phone.

Another great tip: negotiation. Yes, especially in this economy salary may not be so negotiable, but other things are. And, I hate to say it, but women are traditionally afraid to negotiate. After our breakfast, I felt empowered to get off my duff and ask for a moving allowance if, in 2010, I end up taking a job outside the DC area. Yes, I might be turned down, but at least now I’ll ask.


I cannot tell a lie. (And that’s not because it’s an ethic of the Society of Professional Journalists.) Yesterday, I felt like a groupie. It’s like I was a 12-year-old girl at a Jonas Brothers concert.

Given my background of (among other things) entertainment writing/editing, studying print journalism and working at two magazines, visiting with Time Inc., The New York Times Company and Sirius Satellite Radio was like going to Lollapalooza. (Am I dating myself here? Should I have said Live 8?)

All three visits were off the charts. Each company is outstanding in its own right. Getting to talk one-on-one with so many of the Time Inc. folks before and after the group presentation provided such great insight into the company. I also learned a great deal during The New York Times Company information session, and the office tour was out of this world. Getting to see the company’s walls of Pulitzer-winning articles, the newsroom and the wonderfully sustainable building was truly an experience I’ll never forget. Learning about Sirius and then going into the Sirius Radio NFL studio (and seeing the New England Patriots’ championship chair signed by some of the New York Giants—hahaha) was amazing.

Each of these companies has a very different marketing strategy, which is adjusting to deal with the current economy, the shift from print to web and, in the case of Sirius, a current merger. It was fascinating to learn what the marketing differences are and how each company is adapting….which brings me to:


I was fascinated to learn on this trek how different companies view the role of marketing in their business plans. Is it a necessary evil? Is it just part of doing business? Does the company view it as a direct contributor to the bottom line?

I also learned to look for what impacts those views have. Does morale seem low? Is the personnel count of sync with the rest of the company? Or is the marketing team growing and expanding? Is it constantly innovating? What is the overall marketing strategy?

Different businesses certainly seem to have different approaches. And different industries definitely have different views.

But other factors come into play: the economy, changing industries, changing businesses, etc… It’s a lot to consider when figuring out where to work. And the intimate NY Career Trek is a great platform for fact finding. Asking a ton of in-depth questions is key! Our questions made the already incredible information sessions even more interesting, informative and personal.

I’m thankful I could be part of this experience.

Also, as a first year, while my class has had some time to bond within our study groups, this trip provided us with a way to develop relationships with other members of our class, as well as with part-time students, second years and alumni. It was wonderful just getting to know my classmates much better…and getting to see them outside of class.

Whether we were just grabbing lunch, taking the subway, shopping at Sephora, visiting the Statue of Liberty or walking to the next company visit, we were connecting.

And I can’t thank everyone enough for helping to take care of me while sick. You all are the best!


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I always bring my satellite radio wherever i go because it is great listening to music.’

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Comment by Stevie Lehar

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