Viditi Shah, Marketing Graduate, USA
My experience at Mars taught me to expect the unexpected
Do you know why millennials rank Mars Wrigley Confectionery in the Top 50 companies to work for? It’s not because it’s exciting to work for a confectionery company that has greatly diversified into producing other foods known the world over – it’s because Mars prioritizes its Associates over everything else, including business. My experience, as an intern and currently as a full-time employee and an expecting mother, has been nothing less. Let me tell you my story.
Prior to joining Mars as a full-time Associate in June 2018, I was pursuing an MBA degree. In my second year of school, I landed a 12-week summer internship at Mars as an MBA Marketing Intern. A recruitment team from Mars came to our school and gave us a corporate presentation which showcased what the company is about, what it does, what the work culture is like, and what the Associates are like. Everything about Mars that I learned that day resonated with me; I knew I’d fit right in! For me, the culture of a company is the deciding factor, and that’s the reason I chose to apply at Mars.
The application and interview process
The members of the recruitment team were friendly, approachable, and supportive. They spent quality time getting to know us and answering our questions about the business. They also invited us to the office to experience a ‘Day in the Life of Mars’ before initiating the formal interview process wherein we had a chance to meet Associates, taste different candies, interact with candidates from other schools applying for the same position and have a fun-day exploring the open office culture. We attended a case-study workshop to demonstrate our capability to question and devise creative solutions. Following this, we were invited to a final round of interview. While the entire process seemed lengthy, their decision to hire interns was prompt. And, I was one of the lucky ones!
The Mars Internship Experience
Once I chose my area of specialization (marketing), I was assigned to the M&M’s core team to work on a 2020 activation strategy-led project where I collaborated with several teams including Research & Development, Finance, CMI, Customer Marketing to understand feasibility, desirability and viability of the creative business solutions I proposed. The goal was to devise an innovation strategy that would win the loyalty of millennials and Gen Z. The support I received from my team during this period was immense and continuous. I felt they were genuinely interested to see me grow. Senior management and colleagues were always available to chat and lend their support. I built many relationships and honed my people management skills.
Landing A Full-time job
Towards the end of my internship, little did I know that waiting for me around the corner was a full-time offer to join Mars as an Associate!
Today, I am an Assistant Brand Manager for the Filled Bar – Innovation business (Filled Bars include Snickers, Twix, Three Musketeers, and Milky Way). My job involves bringing alive new innovations to elevate the core business by introducing new products, new flavors, new textures, and new packaging that excite consumers. The best part of my role is that I get to introduce all of this and get to try out new flavors before they hit the market.
Expect the Unexpected
During my internship and my initial days as a full-time Associate, I experienced the unexpected. While interning, I was given the opportunity to work on a real project with real impact for M&M’s. The focus of the project was to devise a long-term activation strategy to ensure younger consumers continue buying our product well into the future.
Later, when I joined full-time, after completing my final year in school, there was a substantial gap between receiving the offer and joining the business – almost a year. During that period, I was expecting my first child. By the time I joined Mars, I was half-way through my pregnancy and had to soon apply for maternity leave. I was skeptical about the whole situation on how my manager and team would react. But to my surprise, everyone was supportive and thrilled for me at the same time which added to my excitement on joining the business. My manager assigned projects with just the right amount of work on my plate so I could smoothly transition into my maternity leave and yet at the same time learn and on-board quickly into my role.
If you asked me what was the one thing that has surprised me most about my Mars experience, I’d say it’s the work-life balance. Mars genuinely cares for its Associates. If it hadn’t been for their supportive, welcoming, and family-oriented culture, I wouldn’t be here today.