Natty Light, Budweiser, Michelob Ultra–No, not a 21st birthday flashback, but rather the subjects of some of Ryan LaMontagne’s presentations to the executives at Anheuser-Busch. Moving from the shadows of the Golden Gate Bridge to the white pillars of Shaw House, Ryan graduated from the Carroll School of Management in 2011 with a dual concentration in Marketing and Management & Leadership. After graduating, he moved to New York City to work as a consultant in consumer goods for four years, until he landed in his current position this past year: Director of Strategic Planning for Anheuser-Busch.
A lot gets packed into a day in the life of Ryan. It can vary from reporting to the Vice President of sales for pricing and performance management about a new promotion strategy, to checking the weather to see where sales can be predicted to be the most prominent. He spends hours preparing the proper documents for any updates on marketing, market share, promotions, special programs, pricing, and trends to present to the senior leadership during their weekly meetings. Ryan touches base with everyone to make sure everything is on time, aligned, and the executives are always informed.
“When you’re in the supermarket, seeing the big Superbowl displays for Budweiser, my team is in charge of putting those displays in the stores they need to be in. That means monitoring the weather, checking-in with vendors to get their opinions on how the displays and promotions are doing, feedback on the pricing we put on our beers,” he said.
Ryan inherited his interest in business from his parents, the people he describes as his real-life heroes: “My dad worked for Clorox for almost 30 years and I was always around the business environment, so it felt like a natural fit.” He interned with his father summer between junior and senior year at BC, and it was based off of his experiences there he was able to earn his consulting job and transition to his current project management position.
He learned a number of his current skillset from his time at BC. He was heavily involved in the Shaw leadership program, which he describes as more of a 4 year mentorship program than just a first year experience: “Seniors would often come and spend time with the freshmen, and I’m still best friends with a lot of my Shaw classmates.” He went on to become a Residential Hall Assistant for Shaw House, participate in a number of intramural sports (football, hockey, basketball), and was a member of the Big Brother/Big Sister program for two years. His biggest regret was not studying abroad.
When asked what advice he would give to BC students, he had a list:
- Start early and work with the Career Center. I didn’t have an offer going into senior year, so you need to start right away, especially if you don’t have full time offers in business. Don’t delay in networking.
- Interview often. It takes you about 5-10 interviews to get really good at telling your story. Even if you’re not interested in the job, you’re fine tuning your story. Don’t feel bad about a bad interview, just use it as a learning experience. People like to see that you can make fact-based decisions, that you can solve problems and analyze on the spot. They’re trying to understand how you think, that you can think in logical steps, that you can make logical conclusions, so come prepared.
- Take some Information Systems classes. They are super valuable in the workplace and a little bit of code (SQL, Java, HTML) gets used in any strategy group, especially with regards to price elasticity in a large corporation, so understanding it can give any candidate a bump up.
Obviously, there are some perks to working in the beer industry. Ryan’s favorite parts of his job are the free beer, the great sports environment, and the people. But his job isn’t all Goose IPA (his favorite) and football. Under the AB portfolio, he works with about 15 major brands, dominating around 45% of the market share. The environment is competitive, and there is a great deal of pressure to meet high expectations. Although he loves getting the hands-on experience of meeting with the executive board regularly, his role is very exposed. He says students interested in his type of position need to be self-starters.
Summer and football seasons keep Ryan and his team busy with sales, so next time you’re tailgating or watching a Patriots game, you’ll probably hear the crisp hiss of a Bud Light opening, and the toast to a job well-done from the New York Anheuser-Busch office.