Part of a series of Q&As with Olin alumni. Today we hear from Elisabeth Conrad, MBA ’16. Elisabeth has been with Anheuser-Busch InBev in New York City since her graduation.
What are you doing for work now, and how did your Olin education impact your career?
I’m the Global Director of Sustainable Brands and Innovation for AB InBev, the world’s leading brewer. I help our brands, including Budweiser, Stella Artois, and Corona, design and communicate sustainable programs. Sustainability is critical to our business and increasingly important to consumers, so we have major opportunities to bring consumers into all the work we do—like when we used this year’s Budweiser Super Bowl ad to promote our commitment to renewable electricity.
My Olin education is critical, especially the strategic thinking. Everything I do now is cross-functional, spanning procurement and supply, to marketing and sales. It’s really system design. I could never have done my role without a holistic foundation.
What Olin course, ‘defining moment’ or faculty influenced your life most, and why?
John Horn was one of the best teachers of my life. His infuriating and enigmatic signature response – “It depends” – is the only constant in an ever-changing corporate landscape. He really taught me how to think about business problems in a holistic way.
How do you stay engaged with Olin or your Olin classmates and friends?
I try to keep up with OWIB and with the WCC, especially when they recruit in New York where I live now. It’s very important to me that Olin continues to recruit the best talent, especially women and diverse candidates.
Why is an MBA important?
More than skills training or business knowledge, my MBA taught me how to cope and thrive in challenging, ambiguous climates. It grew my confidence and taught me to focus on adding value, rather than getting the “right” answer and being “perfect.”
Looking back, what advice would you give current Olin students?
Your cases put you in the shoes of a CEO. But that doesn’t mean you are a CEO or should be. Let go of the hashtag approach to work and business: focus on learning and striving to be a little bit better every day.
An earlier version of this post referred to Elisabeth as a BSBA. This has been corrected and the Olin Blog regrets the error.