BS in Marketing, 2006
Position: Global Sourcing Product Manager
As a Global Sourcing Product Manager for Target, Rob Stange’s job is to negotiate and manage the company’s relationships with vendors. He ensures customers’ expectations are exceeded by having great products available on the sales floor. How does Stange stay on the cutting edge of product demand? He travels all over the world, meeting with business professionals to learn about new opportunities in products, manufacturing and new trends we may not necessarily see here in the United States.
Stange has traveled to China, India, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Germany, Turkey, Canada and across the U.S., representing Target to the vendor community. Throughout his international travels, he utilizes key concepts from his marketing classes. “When working with vendors, I am completely dependent on strategic planning and communication. I have to effectively tailor my messages for my audience in order to make sure everyone understands and agrees with my strategy,” Stange said.
“During one of my trips, I was leading a meeting overseas, and there were people from five different countries present. I had only one shot to meet with this diverse group of people together in the same room. Much like one of my marketing plans books I completed, I had to ensure all of my business updates were accurate and could be understood by everyone in the room; communication is key.”
Based on everything he’s experienced so far in his career, Stange would put his marketing education against any “Ivy League school.” He feels his marketing classes prepared him to enter the professional world. “The marketing department has the amazing ability to bring real business situations to the classroom with top-notch faculty. I worked on advertising campaigns for local non-profits, challenged myself through analyzing case studies and I even taught international marketing at our sister campus in Dalian, China. This prepared me to enter the job market with more than just theoretical knowledge of marketing—I was able to apply my understanding of marketing, so I could be a driver in the industry,” Stange said.
Stange’s advice to current students would be, “Success in marketing requires an appreciation for both business analytics and strategic communication. You need to navigate through the numbers and facts to make a valid business decision. However, your ideas will only go as far as you are able to communicate them to others. Take the time to nurture your skill sets in both areas—the MSU faculty can be your champions through this learning process!”
Stange will be back to MSU next spring for the 2014 Public Affairs Conference.