Interview with Meagan Campbell
Name: Meagan Campbell
Major, minor, and graduation year: Business Admin, Marketing Concentration, with a Spanish minor, 2009
Job Title: Recruiting and Development Coordinator
Organization/ Place of work: Northwestern Mutual
You're a Recruiting and Development Coordinator at Northwestern Mutual, what does that entail? What are your duties or responsibilities?
-As a Recruiting and Development Coordinator, I help people learn about career and internship opportunities within our company, as well as assist our College Unit Director and Managing Director in developing our interns and new full time Financial Representatives. I meet with people on a regular basis, attend Chamber events, get involved with other organizations, and work on building my professional network. Having a larger network allows me to find quality people who could potentially be successful with our company. We are very selective when it comes to hiring, and there are usually a few steps to the process. We want to ensure that there is a mutual fit between the candidate and our company.
What are the highlights of your job that you enjoy most?
-I enjoy working with college students through our internship program, whether it's current interns in our office, interviewing prospective interns, or even doing a class presentation about our program. After graduating from UW-Superior, I worked part time in the Admissions Office, so I love the college atmosphere. Frankly, I just love meeting new people and being able to share the opportunities available at Northwestern Mutual; it's really quite amazing, so I love talking about it. I heard someone say once that their favorite thing about being an adult was being able to talk to strangers; I couldn't agree more.
What are the challenges that you face with your job that are not enjoyable?
-One of the challenges that come to mind would be trying to educate people about our company and breaking through any preconceived notions they have. Northwestern Mutual is very different from other financial companies. We are a mutual company and operate for the benefit of our policyholders; we have paid more dividends than any other company in the industry. We have unsurpassed industry financial strength ratings, and we have one of the nation's top rated internship programs. We were founded in 1857 as an insurance company, but have grown to offer our clients holistic financial planning products and services.
How do you spend your work days? Do you spend a lot of time office/lab/meetings/outside?
-My work days consist of a little bit of everything. I work at my desk researching, e-mailing, phoning, and scheduling meetings, planning events, planning meetings, and coordinating our entire interview process.I have regular meetings with our College Unit Director and Managing Director. I conduct interviews and assist in development sessions with our interns and new reps. I have offsite meetings, attend job fairs, conduct class presentations, and attend various networking and community events. I travel to our Minneapolis office on occasion, as well as to our home office in Milwaukee.
How did this type of job/field interest you and how did you get started?
-Initially, I didn't know that I wanted to go into a recruiting or development type of position. I was a Business major with a marketing concentration at UW-Superior. The summer before my senior year, I had an internship at an advertising agency. I worked there part time and eventually full time after graduation. I was with the company for three and a half years and gained so much experience in a variety of areas and built my professional network. Because of my network, I met some great people who understood my passions, saw my strengths and referred me to my current position.
What qualifications did you need to obtain this job?
-Some of the basic qualifications for this job included: Bachelor's degree (marketing or communications preferred), excellent verbal and written skills, proven ability to develop relationships with campus directors as well as within the community, detail-oriented, ability to prioritize and multi-task, and obviously basic knowledge and ability to operate a computer and Microsoft programs.
What personal qualities or abilities do you believe contribute most to success in this job/field?
-I feel that in order to be successful in the recruiting and development field, you have to love working with people, meeting new people, and be able to adapt to change. Besides that, it's important to believe in the company you represent. If you are naturally more outgoing that helps too.
What organizations were you involved in during your college years that helped you towards your career?
-The organizations that I was most involved in were Leadership UW-Superior with Ann Miller, Rotaract, and the DBE Banquet committee. I learned so much in each one of these particular groups and was able to have fun and give back to the school and/or community. Through these groups, I met a lot of people which in turn made a lot of other opportunities possible, and continues to do so.
What degrees are appropriate for this line of work?
-For my position, any sort of business degree or communication degree would naturally be a good fit; however I believe that no matter what degree a person receives, it's all about how you market it. All of those general education courses will come in handy someday, trust me.
Where and/or what do you hope to be in 2-5 years? 5-10 years? What are the keys to this career advancement?
-In the next 2-5 years, I want to continue building my career, experience, and professional network. I would like to be involved with more community organizations and non-profits, as well as keep my connections to UW-Superior as strong as they are today.In 5-10 years, I want to continue doing the aforementioned things, but also take the time to build a family of my own.
What was the best piece of advice you received and from who that helped you towards your career?
-There have been so many people who have given me wonderful advice and encouragement over the years: parents, grandparents, mentors, professors, and colleagues. It's hard to narrow it down to just one thing, but a quotation from Abe Lincoln that I often think about because it can apply to so many things is "Whatever you are, be a good one." Check with Ann Miller, she may have that in her office somewhere, could be the reason why it's engrained in me.
Do you have any advice or "words from experience" for a college student interested in this job/field?
-Know your strengths, what motivates you, and what things are you most passionate about. Get involved on campus and in the community; it's never too early to start building your network. Find internships and gain experience in a variety of areas. You'll learn about yourself just as much as you do about the particular position.
If you knew all this back in college, what would you say were the most important classes? Is there anything you would have paid more attention to? Any additional classes you would have taken?
-The most important classes will vary from person to person. Take classes that are related to an area you are passionate about, but since there are plenty of Gen Ed courses; don't be afraid to branch out either. Some of my favorite classes were initially chosen "just to fill a Gen Ed requirement," but in the end I got so much more out of them than 2-3 credits.
In college, people claim that a bachelor's degree isn't enough anymore and that you need a master's or doctorate degree to get your foot in the door. What's your opinion?
-Bachelor's degrees seem like the new norm, but to say it isn't enough anymore is a little too extreme. The type of degree you need depends on what field you're going into and what the current job market is like. Obviously having a masters or doctorate will set you apart, but it will vary depending on the position and company. If you have the opportunity to further your education, I would take advantage of it. I've never heard anyone say that their master's or doctorate was a waste of time and/or money. By furthering your education you're bettering yourself and making yourself more marketable.
How has your Spanish minor affected your career? Your life?
-My Spanish minor, paired with my summer study abroad in Spain, has completely affected my career and my life. First and foremost, the entire experience of learning a language and being fully immersed into a different culture was truly remarkable. Words cannot describe what I learned about the language and culture as well as what I learned about myself. Professionally, it sets me apart from other candidates. My experience has been referenced in nearly every interview I've had since I participated in the program. Studying abroad is an amazing opportunity and I highly recommend it to anyone. Cheri at UW-Superior is wonderful and will work with you to find a program that's right for you.