MBA Recruiter Interview: Jill Godbout, PepsiCo |

MBA Recruiter Interview: Jill Godbout, PepsiCo

By Nicole Willson

Updated July 8, 2019 Updated July 8, 2019

While best known as one the world’s biggest soft drink companies, PepsiCo is also home to other familiar brands, such as Frito-Lay, Tropicana, Quaker Foods, and Gatorade. This diverse brand portfolio, spanning 200 countries, means that the company offers a variety of career opportunities for MBAs – with some employees rotating to new assignments as regularly as every eight months. To learn more about MBA employment opportunities at PepsiCo, as well as what the company looks for in its MBA hires, we spoke to campus recruiter senior manager, Jill Godbout.

PepsiCo is ranked 39th on the Universum Ideal MBA Employer Ranking. Why do you think PepsiCo is a popular employer with MBAs?

I think PepsiCo has a great reputation on campus for a number of reasons including, but not limited to the fact we’re a US$66 billion dollar company with many popular brands that students grew up with, incredible employment possibilities – employees typically rotate to new roles/assignments every eight to 24 months and have endless career path opportunities, our commitment to performance with purpose in everything we do – human, environmental, and talent sustainability.

Could you please provide a brief overview of PepsiCo's MBA recruitment process?

We schedule on-campus events to identify candidates, such as info sessions, classroom/student organization presentations, networking nights, coffee chats and so on, to meet the students and select candidates to interview.

We then host first and final round interviews on-campus and make intern offers immediately following interviews.  Since interns already have an offer in hand, if they come into the office, it is more of a sell/cultivation visit. Most of our MBA candidates are hired in as interns and then convert to full-time.

When we do full-time recruiting, the process looks exactly the same except they only do one round of interviews on campus and the final round interview occurs during our onsite ‘PepsiCo Super Day’ events, in the fall.   

What job are some common job roles for MBA graduates?

The vast majority of our MBA roles are within marketing and finance. We also do very limited MBA hiring in corporate strategy, global procurement, global supply chain operations, and sales.

Are any candidates recruited prior to starting their MBA program?

Most of PepsiCo's MBA intern recruiting is done during the typical on-campus recruiting time period (the spring semester). However, as part of PepsiCo's commitment to diversity, we do a small amount of early recruiting at a few conferences in the summer with our national diversity partnership organizations (Management Leaders for Tomorrow, Consortium, and the National Black MBA Association). These conferences also allow us to see students from a wide variety of schools, beyond the core schools we attend for on-campus events, to ensure that we have diversity of thought and experience within our intern class.

What do you look for when evaluating a candidate's résumé and experience?

We look for a number of things when evaluating a candidate and those traits aren't always evident from a student's résumé, but more so from our interactions and the interview. A partial list would include: interest in the role, passion for PepsiCo, an ability to think analytically, an ability to influence,  great leadership, problem solving and communication skills

When recruiting MBAs do you look for candidates with specific academic or work backgrounds?

Specific work experience is not required for our campus roles and we try to be very open to ‘career switchers’ in the MBA space.  However, our teams sometimes prefer certain work experience when trying to differentiate two otherwise equal candidates. For example, the marketing department might give preference candidates that have worked as a brand manager in the CPG (consumer packaged goods) space prior to business school, or our corporate strategy team may prefer students with former consulting experience; but those certainly aren't requirements and we tend to have MBAs with very diverse backgrounds. For example, one of our former MBA finance interns was a teacher with Teach for America prior to business school and didn't have any finance experience.

Which business schools do you recruit from and why?

We choose core schools for each function at PepsiCo based on a number of factors, including, but not limited to:  the quality of program, the number of graduates that enter into that particular function, distance from a PepsiCo office, the historical success of our recruiting efforts, and alumni performance at PepsiCo.

Below is a list of the MBA programs where we typically get the most hires:

How many MBA interns did PepsiCo have in 2014? Of those interns, how many became full-time employees?

70 interns and 36 became full time; however, we changed our recruiting strategy last year for our sales program to focus on more undergrads and less on MBAs going forward. So if you take out the sales MBA interns from last summer, it would be 56 interns. We hire approximately 110 MBAs – 60 intern, 50 full time – per year in the US.

What should MBAs do to make a good impression?

MBAs should ask questions, learn the business from all points of view – not just their function, form opinions and recommendations and be able to clearly communicate those ideas, have an entrepreneurial spirit, identify problems and come up with a solution, be humble, and have ‘grit’ –   be a team player and volunteer to take on an extra assignment that is needed.

This article was originally published in April 2015 . It was last updated in July 2019

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