The “Know Your Audience” series on the HBS Recruiting Blog highlights trends in recruiting for various industries. Learn more about student interest, effective recruiting strategies, and best practices from HBS staff dedicated to your industry. 

Meet the Team 

Lauren Murphy – Corporate Relations Director and Career Coach 

Katja Frey – Recruiting Relations Manager 

Get to know Lauren and Katja, the Career & Professional Development team that manages relationships with Consumer Products companies and works with HBS students interested in the industry. Lauren started her career in consumer products before joining the CPD team in 2003 as a career coach and sector lead for the consumer products industry. Katja brings a wealth of operational knowledge from her experience in logistics and event planning at HBS and a personal passion for the industry.

What Students Want

Over the past five years, there have been noticeable shifts in the types of companies and products HBS students are especially drawn to as they pursue B2C career paths.

First, Katja finds that there has been an increase in students who are pursuing consumer products internships at startups. Larger consumer products companies with a strong presence on campus continue to attract students, however the interest in smaller companies is notable. In early stage companies, there is often a need for operations talent which is well suited for HBS students with a general management focused MBA.

Further, Lauren has seen a shift regarding the types of products students are passionate about. “We are seeing increased interest in innovative consumer products including tech enabled products and companies in the health and wellness space” said Lauren. Wellness could be narrowly defined to physical and mental health, but more broadly students are also interested in environmental, global, and community wellness.

“There is a lot of synergy between our motivated and community minded students and the companies that are offering products that are socially and environmentally responsible,” added Lauren. “Students are willing to do the work to find those companies and help them grow.”

A Dynamic Industry Needs Dynamic Recruiting

Consumer Products is a dynamic and ever changing industry that attracts students who relate to, and are excited about, specific products. “There is an explosion of new ideas, new products, new subcategories, and new companies, and students are excited to be a part of these changes” said Lauren.

Key to tapping into this excitement and attracting the right students is showing what makes your Consumer Products company unique throughout your recruiting process. For some companies, that will include hosting recruiting events.

Consumer Products companies who host effective recruiting events represent a variety of different subcategories from cleaning products to cannabis, but their events have some core elements in common. Lauren recommends that “companies bring several representatives (including HBS alumni whenever possible) and a strong presenter” in order to showcase company culture, highlight career paths, and engage the audience. Katja adds that students also appreciate interactive events during which students can engage with company representatives and learn by asking questions.

Making HBS Connections

Company events are just one piece of recruiting and for many companies successful recruiting does not require a presence on campus.

For Consumer Products companies interested in hiring HBS students for internships or full-time roles, Lauren and Katja stress the importance of connecting with the Career & Professional Development office for referrals. “The connection with our office has been an important source of referrals for Consumer Products companies, even for those companies who do not plan to post a position or are not quite ready to recruit” said Lauren.

Lauren and Katja frequently have phone calls with companies around the country, and travel throughout the year to meet companies in person. When the HBS team knows your company goals, and the skill sets your team needs, they can educate students and help you connect with your ideal candidates. Working with Lauren and Katja results in a customized approach to recruiting that is highly effective and efficient.

Getting the Word Out

When meeting with Consumer Products companies, two recommendations that Lauren and Katja will often offer are 1) engage with student clubs and 2) utilize the HBS Resume Databases.

“Consumer Products spans five different student clubs, Marketing, Food, Agribusiness, and Water, General Management, Cannabis Club and the Brew Club, so companies can reach students with different interests in different ways” said Lauren. Contact information for all of the student clubs is available on our website.

The Resume Database is another important tool as it allows employers to connect with students 1:1. When using the Resume Database, Katja recommends using the filters for interests and experience to find talent specifically well suited for success at your company. Lauren adds that contacting individual students rather than sending mass emails helps foster relationships and builds connections from the very beginning of the recruiting process.

Connect with Lauren and Katja

To discuss your recruiting strategy, contact Lauren and Katja who will be happy to help you plan for a successful year of consumer products recruiting at HBS.