Former journalist Tia Craddock, PTMBA ’13, did more than pack her bags when she attended the 2012 National Black MBA Conference in Indianapolis. Working with a career coach at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, Craddock practiced her pitch and interviewing skills. Then she reviewed her performances on video.
“She asked me almost impossible questions, just so I could be prepared for anything,” Craddock says. “So when I got to the conference, I was sharp.”
The preparation paid off. Craddock impressed recruiters from the Hershey Company, which led to her current assignment as Reese’s senior associate brand manager in Hershey, Pa.
The job comes with obvious perks. “Candy is everywhere,” Craddock says. “In every conference room, on every end table, in every kitchen — there’s always something new for me to fall in love with.”
Sweets are nice, but more important for Craddock is the way her employer gives back to the community through initiatives such as the Milton Hershey School. “The Hershey Company cares about people,” Craddock says.
Switching careers can be difficult, but Craddock says the Smith community helped smooth the transition. “Smith has an awesome group of career coaches,” she says. “And the alumni network is amazing.”
During most of her part-time program, Craddock kept her position as a news producer for the local ABC affiliate in Baltimore. The job required creativity and people skills — two of Craddock’s strengths that she wanted to leverage in any future assignment. But she also wanted more opportunity for data analysis.
She says brand management provides the right mix. “I loved journalism,” she says. “But I always thought marketing was very dynamic because it uses every part of your brain.”
Now Craddock manages diverse teams, tests new products and crunches data. She also travels to meet retailers, suppliers and customers. “Every day is different,” she says. “And that’s what I love.”
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business
The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.