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If you’ve reached for a product to alleviate a headache, muscle pain, or a cold, there’s a good chance you’ve encountered a brand that Angela J. Vann ’94 has managed.

Since completing her MBA at Duke University, Vann has worked at Bayer Healthcare in Morristown, N.J., managing brands such as One-A-Day vitamins, Aleve, Bactine, Flintstone Vitamins, and Alka Seltzer Plus. About two years ago, she became global brand leader, Aspirin.

“I’m now responsible for the strategy for Aspirin all around the world. I help guide the different countries as to where we want Aspirin to go in the future, what kind of new products we’re working on, how we communicate the product to consumers, and what the brand stands for.”

A double major in economics and finance at Transy, Vann spent two years following graduation as a financial analyst for a brokerage firm in Florida before deciding to take her career in a different direction. She began to pursue her MBA at Duke, where she learned about brand management, a line of work that sounded appealing and familiar.

“It reminded me a lot of when I was membership director for Phi Mu at Transy, working and coordinating with many different people. I was responsible for recruiting new members, but I wasn’t an expert at making signs, choreographing routines, writing skits, and creating posters. I worked with people in the sorority who were good at those things, and together we created a unified program to help sell ourselves to new students.

“As a brand manager, you’re responsible for developing advertising, producing the product, handling the budget, managing public relations, and working with sales people. You may not be the expert in any of those elements, but you work strategically and pull all the pieces together in order to do well.”


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