Entrepreneur and former Real Housewife of New York City, Jill Zarin, speaks to Rutgers MBAs
By Adam Shatzkamer, MBA ‘13
Newark, N.J. - On April 19, 2012, the Rutgers MBA Association for Marketing & Strategy (RAMS) hosted Jill Zarin, an entrepreneur, marketing strategist, retail and fashion expert, and former cast member of The Real Housewives of New York City during a “lunch & learn” session where she spoke to Rutgers Business School MBA students about her experiences developing products and building brands and dispensed advice to students on networking, getting the most out of their career and educational experience, and balancing the demands of work with the need to have a healthy family life.
RAMS set up a Twitter hashtag for the event, “#ZarinAtRutgers,” and encouraged audience members to tweet questions for as well as comments both before and during the event. Several students participated, sending messages and quotes via the microblogging service such as: “@dhruvibrahm [First-year MBA Dhruvi Brhambatt]: @Jillzarin: ‘I'm not a model.’ @ShatzyGoesPro: ‘You're a role model!’ Indeed, she is. #ZarinAtRutgers.”
First-year MBA and Co-President of the Pharmaceutical Management Club and Supply Chain Student Initiative Julie Oka tweeted: “@juliepharma: "send everyone a thank you note. send a thank you note to the doorman!" #ZarinAtRutgers.” The integration with Twitter made for an even more interactive event and reminded students of the value that web 2.0 technologies such as Twitter can provide when marketing to today’s connected consumers. The fast-moving banter on Twitter also earned Rutgers a mention in Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s “B-School Twitter Roundup” on April 24, 2012.
After discussing networking and career strategies, Zarin moved on to field questions about the product development process, go-to-market strategies, and retail distribution.
Zarin suggested going to trade shows and reading trade journals are useful methods to conduct a competitive analysis and to get to know what is coming next: I’ve learned that the future is something to prepare for,” Jill added poignantly. She told MBAs that knowing your strengths and opportunities – skills familiar to any MBA who has worked with the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) framework – is crucial in developing and launching products that will succeed in today’s hypercompetitive market. “Know your strengths and work with them. If you're not a numbers person for instance, get an accountant on board.” She stated that one never knows how the connections made during the course of doing business will pay off in the end: “Make friends with those assistant buyers...they're going to get promoted one day. Leverage your relationships.”
A key takeaway from Zarin, to “Make them your friend; you never want to say no to your friend, so it’ll be harder to turn your business down” was summed up well by RBS flex-time MBA and Senior Public Relations Specialist Hannah Redmond summed up the event in this final Twitter message: “@RutgersBSchool : ‘You have to make sure whoever you're doing business with feels your passion. You have to be memorable.’ @Jillzarin #ZarinAtRugters”