MBA Class of 2003
Senior Brand Manager, Marvel
At graduation, Kelly Stone credited Simon's core curriculum and her marketing specialization with preparing her very well for what she hoped would be an accelerated career path in brand management. The years since have confirmed that confidence. The strong analytical framework for decision making comes into constant play in her work as a senior brand manager at Hasbro. The flexible Simon skill set promises to be increasingly valuable in the context of the challenging and changing global economy."
"Oddly enough for a marketing person, it was Simon's sterling reputation in finance that attracted me. Brand management is an interesting blend of the creative and the analytical. I think that the challenge of succeeding at a school known foacccr its rigorous quantitative curriculum created a competitive edge for me in the job market. Additionally, the international influence of the student body was highly interesting to me–I love international travel and learning about other cultures."
When Kelly Stone tells people that she's senior brand manager of NERF, she has no shortage of things to talk about. As one of Hasbro's top brands, NERF is turning 42 this year. It's come a long way from its beginning as a little orange foam ball. The NERF brand now encompasses a variety of sports, blasters, hand-to-hand combat swords, licensed footwear and apparel, and even a new NERF video game for Wii™. Stone's job is to manage the NERF business in the US. "No two days are the same," she says. "My responsibilities run the gamut: retail pitches, merchandising strategy, pricing, and supply chain management, as well as traditional marketing activities such as consumer promotions, media planning, and advertising," Stone says. Look for the new sport of NERF Dart Tag to be introduced this year, featuring an international league with formalized rules. "Right now, we're producing commercials, working on print/online overlays, and hosting major tournaments in partnership with the Dew Action Sports Tour," she adds. At Simon, Stone found the education she needed to pursue such an exciting and dynamic career. She believes that most companies offering consumer packaged goods won't even consider hiring people for brand management unless they have an MBA Although Stone chose Simon for its reputation in finance, she enjoyed the small size of the School and its international influence. "Brand management requires both creativity and analytics," she notes. "I needed a strong foundation in quantitative decision-making." Stone was also able to study in Australia and get to know her classmates, who have provided her with a close-knit social network from around the world. "As a Rochester native," Stone says, "I can't think of a better place in which to live, work and study!"
Stone's favorite professor was Ron Schmidt, who taught the course STR 403, The Economic Theory of Organizations. By challenging his students to formulate and articulate opinions, Stone developed a skill set she uses every day. Although fielding cold calls and poring over stacks of articles was at times painful, she knows she gained considerable knowledge from it. In her spare time, Stone runs marathons, volunteers, and travels internationally. Her next big trip will be a trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro in December 2009.