Caroline Quinn ’22 is pursuing the Certificate in Business Fundamentals and is checking off the internship requirement this summer. Follow along as she reflects on her experience, lessons learned, and how her liberal arts education and Holy Cross network are helping her along the way.
Summer Series: Part One
I’m in the midst of my ten-week-long internship as a Sales Strategist with PepsiCo, and I’m happy to say that my experience thus far has been extremely captivating and enriching despite it being 100% virtual. For starters, I’m working on the Allied Brands Team which focuses on PepsiCo’s partners (like Ocean Spray and Voss Water) who independently produce/manufacture their products and then distribute/sell through PepsiCo. This is a symbiotic relationship with this arrangement because the Allied Brands benefit from PepsiCo’s nationwide presence and reach, and PepsiCo benefits from selling products that it doesn’t produce or typically sell. My particular project is oriented around an Allied Brand called Bundaberg Brewed Drinks. Before PepsiCo partnered with Bundaberg in 2017, it had never sold a craft soda. But now, PepsiCo is highly competitive in that market because of this partnership. Bundaberg’s top-selling product is ginger beer which is a premium, non-alcoholic, craft soda that is commonly used as a mixer. Regarding my project, I’ve been tasked with creating a feasible strategy to grow Bundaberg sales by 4X in the US. While this is a tall order, I am confident that I am putting together a really great pitch that I’ll present at the end of my internship. Much of my confidence can be attributed to the Ciocca Center and Holy Cross as a whole.
The Ciocca Center for Business, Ethics, and Siociety has given me great insight into the business world, specifically through workshops in the Certificate in Business Fundamentals. Firstly, the Fullbridge Professional Edge Program proved to be a critical experience for me, as it resembles this internship on a micro-level. With my Bundaberg project, I am focusing on identifying key opportunities within distribution (the number of stores we sell Bundaberg at), velocity (the amount of Bundaberg that each of those stores sells), and portfolio (the diversity of flavors available at these stores, like diet and root beer). This requires me to explore data and identify points of opportunity, similar to the work I did during Fullbridge. Secondly, the Excel Tutorial was instrumental, as it gave me a sufficient understanding of how to organize, navigate, and summarize data. I’ve used Excel every single day of this internship, and I’m happy that I didn’t have to waste precious time on learning the basics. Thirdly, the Global Supply Chain Workshop provided relevant vocabulary and information about the realities of producing consumer goods. Bundaberg is made from ginger root and cane sugar, brewed for three days in Australia, loaded onto a cargo ship for a six-week-long journey across the Pacific Ocean to a port in California, held up in customs for roughly two weeks, shipped to distribution centers, then sent out to retailers around the country like grocery stores, restaurants, and bars to then be consumed. I don’t think I would understand the intricacies of this process if it weren’t for this workshop. As I am formulating a plan to grow Bundaberg’s sales, I’m able to take into account supply chain management because of what I learned at the workshop. Lastly, the Marketing Communication & Sales Workshop gave me a great sneak peek into PepsiCo as an organization. This workshop was led by a team of PepsiCo alumni who challenged the cohort to create a plan for promoting SodaStream in colleges around the country. Not only did I get better acquainted with marketing and sales in general, but I also saw how PepsiCo employees operated. They were excited and passionate about the product, and they also gave great constructive feedback after the presentations.
There is such a strong link between Holy Cross and PepsiCo which is something I am so grateful for. After securing the internship in November, I was invited to and regularly attended the HC PepsiCo Happy Hour– a casual biweekly Zoom call with PepsiCo employees who attended Holy Cross. This included everyone from Maegan Moriarty ‘20 to Kristen Buonassis ‘11. As I got closer to my internship start date, my relationship with these alumni grew stronger and ultimately provided an amazing foundation for this summer. I had the privilege of starting my internship with a great support network. In fact, my mentor on the Allied Brands Team is Maegan! She has been such an incredible resource, as I can ask her anything and she’s always eager to help. Also, Chris Vandervoon ‘19, a judge during the workshop, is a Commercial Intern Orientation Leader so I was immediately greeted by a friendly face on my first day. Maegan and Chris frequently provide me with support and the now weekly happy hours have made me feel like I’m already a part of the family. I’ve chatted with my fellow interns, and many of them have struggled to feel connected to PepsiCo because it is challenging to create rapport in a virtual setting. I am so grateful for the unique connection that Holy Cross has given me and I look forward to continuing to build those relationships.