“My degrees from IU South Bend helped me move up the ladder quickly,” said Amy Simeri McClellan, BS ’03; MBA ’07, who today is vice president of sales and marketing at Martin’s Super Market, and a 2016 Michiana “Forty Under 40” awardee.
McClellan worked at the local grocery chain while she was a student at Elkhart Central High School, where she graduated salutatorian of her class. Her freshman year she attended another university, but transferred to IU South Bend to be closer to family, and she resumed her employment at Martin’s. “There was something about having a job that I really enjoyed,” said McClellan. As a student, she also interned at a small advertising agency, Emerson Design Studio. “I learned a lot about the business and the creative side of working in an agency,” she commented.
In her position today, she oversees the grocery chain’s marketing and merchandising initiatives. She finds her understanding of market research and business statistics very relevant to her job today. “As I have had to make competitive pricing decisions,” she explained, “I know that my education has helped to guide my choices. As it relates to advertising, forms of media continue to change and evolve over time, but the science behind why and what should be communicated doesn’t change.”
Not entirely sure she made the right choice when she transferred to IU South Bend, McClellan’s doubts were quickly defeated. “I knew after one semester I made a good choice,” she explained. Small class sizes and the quality of the faculty made the difference for her. “I was not one of a hundred students in a class,” she explained. “The small class sizes held me and my classmates to a higher standard.”
Math and science are her strength, so she enjoyed courses that focused on analytics and statistics. “Professor P.N. Saksena was an amazing teacher,” she recalled. “I rely on marketing analytics and data to predict trends in my business today.” In her current role, she still calls on the concepts from her entrepreneur leadership class taught by Professor Mark Fox. “The skills I gained putting together a business plan in that class are still very relevant to my job today,” she explained.
As a marketing executive, McClellan returns to campus on occasion to talk to marketing and advertising students. “I’ve gone back to Professor Monle Lee’s classes to make presentations about marketing and advertising initiatives at Martin’s Super Market,” she explained. “I enjoy sharing with students the practical applications of marketing and advertising.”
In addition to talented faculty, McClellan appreciated the diverse student population she found in her classes at IU South Bend, especially the international students. “It was a great experience to work in teams with talented, smart people,” she explained. “We learned how to tap each other’s skills and abilities---something I do every day in my job.”
As she reflected on her career, McClellan said, “The quality of the education at IU South Bend is excellent and very relevant in today’s marketplace. The concepts and the skills I acquired in my undergraduate and graduate classes continue to apply to my job today.”