University of Southern California

Emily Tighe
Title
Seeing the Big Picture
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Graduating Year
2011
Undergrad Institution
University of Southern California
Hometown
Maryland and Northern California

A major minor

Emily Tighe wants to know what makes people tick, and her minor in consumer behavior gave her real insight into demographics and segmentation. And it thoroughly changed the way she views the marketing landscape.

“You can’t just market to one consumer segment,” she observes. “Even within America, it’s so different with each segment. It’s something I never noticed before, and now in every advertisement—in everything—I’m always critically analyzing each marketing approach.”

Emily also benefited from the minor’s interdisciplinary focus. She took courses in psychology, sociology and communications, all of which advanced her knowledge of business and marketing. “I was learning how consumers behave, what makes them react the way they do, why they make these purchases and what drives them,” she says.

Feeling at home

As for her own decision to attend USC Marshall, Emily was driven by the university’s culture and broad range of opportunities. “There’s something for everyone here, and I really liked that. Everyone had a lot of pride about being part of the USC Trojan Family. It felt like home.”

But the most surprising aspect was the faculty’s friendliness. “Several professors really helped me along the way, and that’s not something I was really expecting. I was thinking that professors aren’t going to know me. But they really take the time to know you. They take an interest in you as a person, and in your career.”

Making friends

Emily believes students should take every advantage USC Marshall offers, not just academically but also socially. “You will meet so many people here that have done so much, and it’s really good to keep in contact with them. The Trojan network, it’s a real thing. It’s really amazing how much people are willing to give back to USC.”

She also urges students to get involved on campus. For her own part, Emily joined the Marshall Women’s Leadership Board her freshman year, and eventually worked her way up to serve as the group’s president. She was equally active in her sorority and rarely missed a Trojan athletic event.

“I’m a big sports fan, so I loved going to the basketball, volleyball and football games. And I loved the events the program board put on—all the concerts on campus. It’s really been a great experience.”

Kraft-ing a career

Emily is launching her career in the management development program at Kraft Foods, where she will experience a variety of business operations, including sales, account management and customer logistics. “The idea is a fast track to get you higher in management,” she explains. “Then after the year and a half, you decide which direction you want to take your career within Kraft.”

Whichever direction Emily chooses, she feels confident in her future—thanks at least in part to the practical focus of the Marshall curriculum. Through such courses as Therese Wilbur’s New Product Development & Branding, Emily says: “Everything we were learning directly applied to how it is in the real world. We got to formulate new products and learn how to brand them. I don’t know if you get that at a lot of other schools.”

Ultimately, she thinks she will return to school to get her MBA and pursue a career in brand management, her favorite Marshall course. “In brand management, you get the whole big picture,” she explains. “You take a brand, and it’s kind of like your little baby, and you really need to set it up for success. You’re dealing with the products, the pricing, how to market the product, and any public relations or events that go with that. You’re really tying it all into one big, integrated marketing campaign.”