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Indiana University Bloomington

Center for Brand Leadership

Kelley Advantage

The Center for Brand Leadership is a close-knit group of top MBA students, faculty, alumni, and corporate partners who share a wealth of industry knowledge and contacts.

Focus on Altruism Brings Joy to Others

Joy Somerset MBA'10

Joy Somerset

“My internship was inspiring, and that made it easy to wake up every day and put everything into the office that I could.”

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After taking a career assessment test at the start of the Kelley MBA program, Joy Somerset learned she possessed the skills to be successful in brand management. Not unusual for a Kelley student, she scored high in creativity and account management. But one area that Somerset scored exceptionally high in—altruism—caught her career coach’s eye. “My coach said I needed to pay attention to this because altruism was very important to me, and if I ignored it, I would not get the most out of graduate school.”

Somerset took this advice to heart, and she started looking for career opportunities in brand management with an altruistic aspect. The opportunity came in the form of health care and life sciences. Somerset joined the Academy PLUS Life Sciences in addition to the Consumer Marketing Academy, making herself an attractive candidate for employment at one of the major players in the field. She interned with Eli Lilly and Company after her first year in the MBA program.

While at Lilly, Somerset worked to educate physicians and patients on a new use for Alimta, a chemotherapy drug for patients with lung cancer. She attended medical conferences, spoke with physicians, met with patient advocacy groups, and gathered as much data as she could to form a communication strategy.

“I found out there were some gaps in what patients needed,” she says. “We wanted to inform doctors that there were some changes going on with the patients who were diagnosed with cancer, and there was a great opportunity to talk with them. Communication is key.”

Somerset was able to have an impact on the lives of patients, fulfilling her desire for altruism. When she was offered a full-time position with Lilly well before graduation, she knew her answer immediately. “This was an organization filled with people who want to help and change the world,” Somerset says. “My internship was inspiring, and that made it easy to wake up every day and put everything into the office that I could.”

Published April 11, 2011