KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Selling beer.
Some would say it's a college student's dream come true.
Sydney Taylor, who will receive her degree in food and consumer package goods marketing, is living that dream.
This summer she'll begin her career as an on-premise sales representative for MillerCoors. She'll train for six weeks at the company's headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin before selecting the region she will ultimately work in.
Taylor, a Vicksburg native, initially enrolled at WMU planning to study anthropology. After a year, however, her career goals shifted, and she found herself looking for a new focus.
"I had a couple of friends who were in food marketing and they liked it, and it was an almost 100% job placement rate," says Taylor.
Taylor is a vegetarian, so she knew she didn't want to market meat products for a living. She gravitated toward alcohol sales, having some experience making beer through WMU and Kalamazoo Valley Community College's sustainable brewing partnership.
With the help Dr. Marcel Zondag, associate professor of marketing, Taylor scored a marketing internship at Arcadia Brewing in Kalamazoo. That turned into a part-time job doing social media marketing for the brewery. According to a recent survey of WMU graduates, 61% had a job while they were a student that allowed them to apply what they were learning in the classroom.
The real-world experience Taylor gained at Arcadia set her apart from the pack as she was interviewing for full-time jobs in anticipation of graduation. She encourages other students to recognize the importance of experiential learning.
"When you find what you want to do, stick to it and make sure you put all your effort into it, getting as much experience as you can," says Taylor. "Who you know is important. Use the professional connections your professors have to find opportunities."
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