A Day in the Life of the Mead Johnson Intern- Katherine Harbin

A Day in the Life of the Marketing Intern

Hello!  My name is Katherine Harbin and I am a DePaul MBA student set to graduate in November 2013.  For the summer, though, I am working as a marketing intern for Mead Johnson Nutrition at their global corporate headquarters in Glenview, Illinois.  Mead Johnson is a company that specializes in pediatric nutrition – specifically, infant formula and pediatric vitamins.  It’s funny; one month ago I knew nothing about infant formula, breastfeeding or babies in general, given that I don’t have any children.  Now, however, I feel like I can go on forever about these things in surprising detail.  It’s all part of a day’s work here at Mead Johnson, and I’m certainly learning a lot.

The interesting thing about infant formula is that it has both consumer packaged goods (CPG) and healthcare/pharmaceutical aspects.  This allows me to gain experience in two very valuable fields.  I work with the team targeting the North American market, which is very different from the Global marketing team, whose main focus is in the developing world.  In the United States the birthrate is much lower than in the developing world, so there is a large difference in the macroenvironment and what the consumer is looking for.  I spend my days thinking about what can help new American moms take care of their babies, and how our company can better serve their needs.

This is the office Katherine works in.

This is the office Katherine works in.

As for the company as a whole, Mead Johnson is a major player in the international pediatric nutrition environment, with $3.9 billion in sales in 2012.  The company has operations in over 50 countries, and is truly a global company.  Since breaking off from pharmaceutical company Bristol Meyers Squibb and launching an IPO in 2009, Mead Johnson has enjoyed a rising stock price as investors appreciate its strong business performance throughout the world, and particularly in the largest infant formula market – China.

Given this background, I truly do feel lucky to be here and gaining corporate marketing experience, especially as I am undergoing a career change and did not have this kind of opportunity before.  Reading extensive marketing research and analyzing data have developed my way of “thinking like a marketer,” and Mead Johnson is very generous in allowing me to participate in daily meetings and interesting projects.  I can’t believe it’s already been one month since I have been here – pretty soon I’ll be back at DePaul, but for now it’s great to be back in the working world and gaining essential experience I know will help me in my career path.

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