Job advice from a 3M marketing guru

The William & Mary Marketing club hosted its first speaker October 3rd, featuring Gregory Winn, the retired international director of 3M.

Opening with some advice about applying for jobs (something that is always on an MBA’s mind!). Winn emphasized the importance of the interview. This, he said, was really where you get to set yourself apart from simply being words on a resume. Be sure to research the company—really research it, not just the night before you go to the interview, he said, and make sure you show them what your value will be to the company.

“Go in there with a plan of ‘how can I help you’,” he said, adding that, when he was hiring employees, that was what he was looking for. “Think about it, and have ideas with substance.”

Winn then went on to discuss the highlights of his career and a brief history of the company, which began as the Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company and whose first technology, sandpaper, was the foundation for the global force 3M is today. The precision coating the company developed, Winn explained, became very important, and is used now in everything from the famous Scotch tape to medical supplies.

Winn also discussed how 3M, which has so many brands, manages to continue to be a powerful market force. He said it came down to brand management, and, essentially, consistently high quality products that continue to adjust and react to market demands—including seeing around the bend at what consumers will want in the near future.

Winn also discussed his role within the company, where he served in 16 different positions all around the world. Taking to heart the company’s mantra of “adjust and react”—something he encouraged all attendees to do as well—he said that one of the biggest things he learned when working in an international setting was to do just that: learn. This was very important when doing business in other cultures, he said, and one of the best things you can do in a similar situation is have a mentor who can show you the real world of where you are doing business.

Winn stayed after for a Q&A with students, and then for one-on-one questions for those who approached him. For more information about Winn, visit his Linkedin profile.

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Ashley Ames

Ashley Ames is a full-time MBA candidate with the Mason School of Business at the College of William & Mary.

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