Intern Diary: How I Made a Major Career Shift (Without Leaving Unilever)

Brian Wise
Intern Diary: How I Made a Major Career Shift (Without Leaving Unilever)
Sponsored by, Unilever

WayUp teamed up with seven Unilever interns who wrote about what it’s like to work for a company that makes products used by 2.5 billion people around the world. Today’s post is from Brian Wise, a student at The Ohio State University majoring in industrial and systems engineering.

Fun fact: I may have just finished a marketing internship at Unilever, but I actually started my career there working in engineering. I took time off of school for a co-op as a Project Engineer, followed by a Unilever internship as a Process Improvement Engineer working in factories. Then I left Unilever (briefly) to work in program management, where I helped build custom military and off-roading vehicles.

Don’t get me wrong. Working in engineering was a great experience, but I realized that I wanted something more than working with machines and construction projects. I wanted to focus on the consumer and the market.

From Machines to People

Through a friend, I learned that brand managers get to oversee a company’s brand from a holistic perspective, from supply chain all the way to advertising. So I applied to spend my last summer internship before my senior year of college working in marketing at Unilever. And I got the job!

As I was walking into the Unilever office on the first day of my internship, I realized I had so many preconceived notions about marketing—and boy did those change quickly.

I learned about the volume of work and effort that goes into making a product, different marketing processes, and how my previous engineering career path is just one part of the monumental tasks required to launch something new.

A Major Adjustment

I can’t go into the specifics of my project, but I’ll tell you this: switching from engineering to marketing was both a process adjustment and a mindset adjustment. Still, there were some similarities.

For example, I’m very analytical, and enjoy diving into the technical aspects of things, which is valuable for complex engineering projects. That same mindset is a strength for solving complex marketing problems.

However, when it comes to communicating those solutions to a marketing team, your audience doesn’t always have the same depth of perspective on a topic that you have. For that reason, it’s important to be able to provide both a 10-foot and 10,000-foot view of a project, depending on who you’re talking to.

Looking Back

I can say without a doubt that I have been converted to a marketer. I loved my experience as a summer intern at Unilever for a number of reasons, especially the work culture and the people here. But the biggest reason I love working at Unilever is the ability to move around to different roles and gain different experiences—or start an entirely new path in my case! They say you come to Unilever for a career, not a job, and that to me is the biggest reason I want to be here for the long term.

Head over to Unilever’s page on WayUp to check out open opportunities and apply! And click here to read what other Unilever interns had to say.