By Alina Tang
When I first entered college, I had never heard of Mondelez International. I had no idea that it recently branched off Kraft Foods, that it employs more than 105,000 people globally, and that it is one of the world’s leading snack companies (#1 in biscuits, chocolate, candy and powdered beverages; and #2 in gum and coffee).
But today, Mondelez International has easily become my dream company to work for, not only because of its unique work environment and corporate culture, but because it has inspired me to pursue global marketing as a future career. And it’s all because of a certain Chief Marketing Officer by the name of Haiyan Wang.
I first met Haiyan when my Global Leadership Program organized a company visit to Mondelez International’s Shanghai office. Nicknamed the marketing guru of her team, Haiyan explained how she successfully launched the Oreo cookie in China.
Because Chinese consumers have very different snack preferences from Western ones, many changes were made to fit local tastes, including lowering the sweetness level, altering the packaging, and varying the sizes, shapes, and colors.
After a long year of experiments and tests, Haiyan and her team finally settled on the perfect recipe, and the Oreo became a hit. From taking time to understand what the locals want, to actually implementing the marketing strategies, this entire process was fascinating to me because it demonstrated that even the boldest and strangest ideas can materialize into an amazing reality—like the Green Tea Oreo!
Ever since hearing Haiyan’s inspirational Oreo story, I have not stopped thinking about her drive to build a global brand, and how much I would love to head my own promotional campaign.
Shortly after coming back from the trip, I applied to the subsequent GLP Summer internship and was lucky enough to land a marketing position with Multipure Drinking Water Systems in Shanghai! For two months, I conducted industry research on different product categories, created a drinking water habits survey for locals, and finally, developed a go-to market plan to introduce U.S. made water filters to Asian markets.
Even though I do not necessarily have an interest in water filters, my hands-on experience with Multipure only further solidified my desire to pursue global marketing.
Someday, I hope to use what I’ve learned from Mondelez and Multipure to dive into industries that I’m passionate about, such as food, fashion, and entertainment, but on the international level.
As the world becomes more interconnected and interdependent, it is crucial to be able to understand how people conduct business across different cultures. Because I enjoy human interaction and following international trade, I would love to launch popular American products in foreign countries and vice versa.
To me, the build-up of a project on a global scale is incredibly exciting. I bet every time Haiyan walks into a Walmart or any kind of Chinese supermarket, she can see all her hard work come to life in the stacks of Oreos on grocery aisles and kiosks. There’s nothing like looking at a final product and thinking, “Wow, that was me. I did that.”
My dream is to strengthen my global business acumen and skillset, so that I can be the chief marketing officer of a multinational company, just like Haiyan. The combination of her sharpness, charisma, and understanding of international markets is extremely inspirational to me, and I believe it is the reason she has become so successful.
I can only hope that one day, I will be known as a marketing guru just like her.
Alina Tang will graduate from USC in 2016. She is majoring in business administration and plans to work in the Management Development Program at Mondelez International and gain more experience in global marketing.