Mondelez International is one of the world’s largest snacks companies with more than 70 brands and approximately 80,000 employees. Marcia Young, the company’s senior director of consumer science, has been sending people annually to UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education’s Applied Sensory and Consumer Science Certificate Program since its inception. The program has been instrumental in helping her educate, train and promote scientists on her team. To date, Mondelez International has sent more than 20 employees through the program.
Initially, Young used the program to educate new hires from her team who had little or no formal training. More recently, she’s been relying upon the certificate program to quickly bring members of her team up to date on the fundamental science of the sensory and consumer science field.
How do you determine which employees to send to the program?
When I am hiring someone from within Mondelez who is a senior scientist or higher—but has little or no consumer science experience—this program gives them the fundamentals very quickly, orients them to the field and provides a formal education to go along with their applied RDQ skills. I also send technicians who I am advancing in the organization to a scientist role. In this case, they have applied skills in managing a lab and supporting panels, but lack the education fundamentals to fully execute the role of a scientist.
In both cases, I don’t have the luxury of time to teach them the science. I need to get them going quickly, in contrast to hiring a college graduate with a science degree who will come in with strong fundamentals and will learn from others over time.
What value does our program add to your company and the employees you send?
The program quickly brings my employees up to date on the science and provides a formal education to accompany applied skills. They have more confidence in supporting their clients, managing projects, drawing conclusions and making recommendations.