Mapping out a Path
Paige Chapman, Eller MBA ’13
By Liz Warren-Pederson
While still an undergraduate studying finance, Houston native Paige Chapman knew she wanted to earn an MBA. “I took the GMAT right after graduating from Texas A&M,” she said. “I knew that this would force me to go to graduate school in five years or else take the GMAT again!”
Two undergrad internships with Chevron — one in finance in Singapore and one in marketing at Chevron’s San Ramon, California, headquarters — led to a full-time offer with the brand marketing team.
“My team members and I each had a specific focus area,” she said. “I managed Chevron’s ExtraMile convenience store (c-store) promotions. In this role, I managed a $3 million budget and held the contract for our print supplier.”
It proved to be a good fit. “I loved this role and learned a lot about project management, vendor management, and contract negotiations, in addition to managing the creative design and execution of point-of-purchase materials,” she said.
Four years into her work with Chevron, Chapman was assigned to a special project working with the National Petroleum Council (NPC) on a study about future transportation fuels. “This study was intended to explore all major future transportation fuels such as electricity, biofuels, and hydrogen, and draft a study document that would be submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy and then the Executive Branch,” she said.
More than 100 firms and universities collaborated on the project. “Most of the study participants were experts in one of the future transportation fuels,” she said. “I was on the study from a project management perspective. I was responsible for managing the electricity, biofuels, and carbon subteams.” Each team was comprised of 20 individuals, all representing different companies. “My role was to help the participants reach the study milestones and submit their draft papers to the study management,” Chapman said. “It really put my project management skills to the test. I learned a lot about the feasibility of alternative transportation fuels.”
Coming off the NPC study, Chapman was ready to acquire an MBA to advance her career. “I knew that a full-time program would be best for me and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect — my assignment ended just in time for me to start the Eller Full-Time MBA program in August.” She relocated to Tucson from the Bay Area and jumped into her first year.
As she gears up for her summer internship with Henkel, Chapman cites her market research and business communication courses as valuable preparation. “I expect my Henkel internship to have a market research focus so I will be using the skills I learned in class,” she said. “The business communication class all first-year MBAs take was the most influential class for my overall career. I learned how to become a more dynamic speaker and how to handle tough presenting situations.”
Long term, Chapman aims to continue advancing in brand management. “As a consumer packaged goods company, Henkel provides a great opportunity and I am very excited to gain experience working at a company focused on brand marketing,” she said.
As a veteran traveler — in addition to her Singapore internship, Chapman studied abroad in Italy and has visited 13 countries — she hopes to work internationally. “I would like to take on multiple expatriate assignments,” she said, “and I aspire to one day be the CMO of a major corporation.”