Heather Seamans (MBA ’18) Shares Her Darden MBA Journey to ‘Sweet’ Success
Success is sweet, but for Heather Seamans (Darden MBA Class of 2018), it feels a bit sweeter. The soon-to-be Darden alumna is preparing to launch her career in brand management at one of the largest chocolate manufacturers in the world, The Hershey Company, after graduation. Seamans came to Darden knowing there were two things she was passionate about: food and a career in marketing. She can now proudly say that her journey at Darden led her to a career following both of those passions.
Seamans, who was working for an economics consulting firm before Darden, knew that she wanted to make a career switch and saw an MBA degree as a way to do so. When she visited Darden and experienced the case method instruction, she was sold.
She had a very specific career goal in mind when she arrived at Darden, which was to work in brand management at a consumer packaged goods company, ideally in food. “Food has always been a passion of mine; it’s a way to connect with people. I also saw marketing as a way to use both sides of my brain. There’s the creative side, but then also the numbers and management pieces that are a part of the job.”
As Seamans began the recruiting process, she quickly realized the power of the Darden network and the community of support that alumni provide to students. “Last year, every alumni I contacted, whom I had an email for, responded back, and I was able to have a conversation with each person.”
In her First Year, she landed an internship at Ford Motor Company in their Marketing Leadership Development Program, where she was able to implement what she was learning in the classroom and acquire fundamental skills that are critical to marketing.
When Seamans returned for her Second Year, Hershey was a target company at the top of her list. She grew up in Pennsylvania and felt a strong connection to their brand. She had made it to a final round of interviews with Hershey in her First Year and was determined to land her dream job.
“I had a jumbo Hershey Kiss from when I did the final round of interviews last year on my T.V. stand as motivation to keep going,” Seamans said. “I had that visual every day to remind me of what I wanted.”
The Darden community and its energy also helped Seamans maintain her resolve to follow her passion. “One of the things that I noticed during my time at Darden is that people are able, encouraged and willing to follow their passion here. Being in a community like that helps you to stay motivated and follow your passion,” said Seamans.
To work toward her end goal, she took advantage of multiple resources, including the Darden Career Development Center and alumni — in particular, alumnus Jeff Tang (MBA ’13), who served as a key resource and provided valuable advice along her journey.
“I was committed to my goal and they were committed to my goal, which built a strong support network.” In the end, Seamans landed her dream job.
Seamans reflected on what makes Darden such a unique place as she prepares for the next stage in her life. “What makes Darden unique goes beyond just the classroom experience and case method. It is the quality of the relationships that you develop in this tight-knit community. I have felt that the faculty and staff at Darden care about getting to know you outside of the classroom setting and are genuinely invested in your success.”
Seamans remains confident of two things about life after Darden. One is that the support network she has gained will be there throughout the life of her career. The other is that Darden will never have a shortage of Hershey chocolate when she comes back to visit.