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Lindsay Johnson

NYU, '16

Sometimes, art and commerce do coexist harmoniously.  Before Lindsay Johnson majored in Communications at NYU, with a minor in Studio Art, “I was involved in multiple art classes inside and outside of high school.  From graphic design to drawing, I spent most of my free time in creative pursuits.  In college, while working as a design intern at a few different companies, I came to the realization that I wanted my career to be a combination of creative work and a business environment.  My only specific plan for after graduating was to have a job in marketing, ideally for a product or consumer good.”

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Luckily, her position as a Product Manager at MBI has allowed Lindsay to enjoy the best of both worlds.  “Besides the day-to-day creative decisions like critiquing mailing materials and collaborating with product development, the role presents the challenge of thinking outside the box to drive the business forward.  Whether you come up with an idea for a new product or internal procedure, you’re asked to push the boundaries of the day-to-day and think ‘big picture.’  I think MBI is unique in this sense since Product Managers are often expected to come up with these larger-than-life ideas.”

After finding MBI on NYU’s career site, Lindsay learned that, like the proverbial girl next door, it had been right under her nose all along. “Having grown up a few miles from MBI in Wilton, I didn’t make the connection it was ‘the place with the Christmas lights on 95’ until I came to the office for my second-round interview.”  Jim Zulick, she recalled, “gave me the impression that your experience as a Product Manager is what you make it to be.  While he said the role gives recent college grads a lot of responsibility, it was clear that managers are expected to take that responsibility and do much more.”

And she did plenty:  “From writing copy to directing layouts to analyzing results and drafting marketing plans with data, managers are exposed to a myriad of tasks and responsibilities.  Because of this, I didn’t feel like I had a solid grasp on the role until 5-6 months into work.  The learning curve is incredibly steep and the amount of work managers are tasked with cover a wide array of responsibilities that are, at first, daunting.”  Yet the payoff was satisfying, and Lindsay notes that “the individual nature of the role has allowed me to hone in on projects or products that personally excite me.”

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Lindsay found her internship experience a definite asset.  “I interned at two start-ups with very small teams.  While this differs from MBI’s structure, their set-ups showed me the importance of being a self-starter and recognizing that you’re a critical part of the team.  This gave me a crash course in being able to identify things that need to get done, and also constantly looking out for ways that improve and grow the business.”  At any given time, while now managing women’s handbags, earrings and jewelry, “I’m usually writing 3-4 marketing plans and working on implementing 10+ marketing efforts.”

Lindsay calls “openness to discussion” a hallmark of MBI’s corporate culture, and recalls, “A year into working at MBI, my group switched divisions within the company.  The change was startling.  Within the coming weeks, however, I felt immediately at ease realizing it was a learning experience for everyone affected by the change.  Not only was I asking questions about this division’s strategies and business, but others were asking me about my experience.  The switch showed me the two-way street of communication at MBI:  while you’re learning from others, others are also learning from you.”

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“Good results are exciting and rewarding,” says Lindsay.  “Knowing that you wrote the plan, led creative materials, and acted as the key-decision maker for a successful product is a satisfying experience.”  She also values the position’s diversity.  “Given the wide scope of the role, tasks, while often the same in procedure from day-to-day, vary in content by project.  Each presents its own unique challenges that require different thinking or solutions.  Thankfully, MBI has a great network of people who are incredibly knowledgeable to help you work through each day’s challenges.”

Like many of the associates at MBI, Lindsay values that “great network” on both the personal and professional levels.  There is always a strong camaraderie among new hires who start together, some of whom make the reverse-commute from New York to Norwalk, which provides additional bonding opportunities.  “I’ve found great friendships with the other managers in my starting class, as well as others in the office.  Recently, a few of us have started going to exercise classes after work in Darien.  The ‘NYC/Metro-North’ crew has also grown close, since we spend time commuting together.”

 

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