When you hear about a graduate from Wharton, you might automatically think “finance.”
Julia Sternfeld, class of 2013, followed her own path. “I decided early on that I wanted to study business. Unlike most of my classmates, I didn’t see a future in finance and wanted something more creative that I could be passionate about. I had a consulting internship, but didn’t like that all we could really do was make recommendations – no tangible results.”
However, “tangible results” are what product management at MBI is all about. “I love that my work has a direct and visible impact on our business. I can see precisely the sales figures for my products and how they impact our bottom line. I also love the variety of what I do. I get a mix of writing marketing plans, working on creative materials, coordinating production with vendors all over the world, among many other things.”
In fact, it’s the range of roles and responsibilities that first attracted Julia to MBI. “The amount of responsibility we get when we start as Product Managers is so much greater than a typical job out of college. I easily have more responsibility than any of my classmates and it’s allowed my passion for the job to grow even stronger and I take true ownership over my work.
Julia is a Senior Product Manager in the Danbury Mint and currently manages a selection of jewelry products. She is also managing an entirely new product category: handbags.
“There are some challenges associated with managing a brand new category. From working with the product development team to figure out what designs might resonate with our customers to coordinating with our operations team to set up new procedures for dealing with an entirely new product type. But I’ve learned that venturing into the unknown a bit can be fun. And it’s rewarding to see all of the different pieces fit together in the final product. It also reinforces the fact that there’s always untapped potential for new product types for me to explore.”
Julia learned through her interview process that MBI wasn’t completely “unknown” to her or her family. Although she didn’t know anything about the company at first, she learned a lot about it through her interviews. “I even realized after my first interview that my family has the Easton Press collection of the 100 Greatest Books Ever Written – I grew up with those leather bound books in my house and felt a personal connection to the company.”
Perhaps that collection was originally marketed by someone just like Julia — a top college graduate looking for “something more creative to be passionate about.