Most college graduates' vision of working at a Fortune 200 company probably involve coming to work in tailored suits in a downtown office building.
What’s Danielle Karnbach's (BSBA '16, BA '16) normal day at the office like? Try driving around in a 24-foot-long, peanut-shaped vehicle.
Karnbach’s career is off to an unconventional start, but she’s loving every minute of it. Karnbach is touring the Midwest as a Brand Specialist and Spokesperson for The Kraft Heinz Company (No. 156 on the Fortune 1000 list). Mr. Peanut, the brand icon for Planters, is celebrating his 100th birthday this year.
Karnbach's résumé was as impressive as it gets for a college senior: A 3.75 GPA, a study abroad experience in France (she also earned a bachelor's degree in French), leadership positions in student organizations at the Heavener School of Business, and an internship at the U.S. State Department.
Yet, despite those notable accomplishments, Karnbach hadn't secured a full-time job entering the spring semester of her senior year. The prospects she pursued didn't pan out, and the offers she did receive weren't to her liking.
She found the Planters position by accident. While browsing UF's Career Resource Center's website in preparation for Career Showcase, she clicked the wrong tab and stumbled across the job posting. Karnbach, a marketing major, was intrigued.
"When I read the job description, I thought it was right up my alley," said Karnbach, 22. "The job duties, a year of traveling, and my goofy personality made it a good fit."
Karnbach was one of nine recent graduates selected out of a pool of more than 1,500 for this position. She was flown to Chicago for two days of final-round interviews with Planters Vice Presidents, an executive audience considering the nature of the position.
"It was incredibly professional for what seems like a lighthearted job," Karnbach said. "We're face-to-face with the consumers representing the brand, and they take that very seriously."
For the past three months, Karnbach has been traveling the Midwest with two fellow brand specialists in their hard-to-miss, 24-foot-long NUTmobile.
“We get a lot of honks on the highway,” Karnbach said. “It rides as smooth as peanut butter.”
Karnbach and her team—the other two teams are travelling along the East and West Coasts— visit various events and festivals spreading goodwill and promoting the Planters brand. The reaction the team receives from their stops in small towns across the Midwest has been impactful for Karnbach.
Despite the fun nature of the job, Karnbach said she’s been exposed to valuable and practical marketing lessons.
"You really get to see the power of a brand and how it can impact so positively," Karnbach said. “We’re interacting with so many markets, learning to maintain and adapt our brand image, and directly interacting with consumers. You learn about these things in class, but to see them carried out in real life is beyond powerful.”
Karnbach will continue touring the U.S. until the campaign’s conclusion in June 2017.
“In this one year I’ll pack more marketing research than I ever could sitting behind a desk,” Karnbach said. “I think this could be a great jumping off point into a career in marketing.”