PepsiCo trawls schools in search of top international talent

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PepsiCo UK, the soft drinks maker that also owns the Walker’s Crisps and Quaker Oats brands, took the first steps last year to becoming an international MBA recruiter. Like many consumer or technology companies in the UK, it places
a real value on MBA graduates, writes Della Bradshaw.

The issue, says Ben Lamont, talent acquisition manager, is that attracting the best people is becoming more competitive. “The question is, how do we go to a diversified and new source of talent and bring them into our business?”

MBA graduates tick all the right boxes for PepsiCo, he says. They are academically qualified with a strong professional background and are self-starters. They are also actively looking to get back into the job market.

PepsiCo UK did its first campus presentations at two UK business schools, London Business School and Warwick, in February, looking for both graduating students and those who wanted a three-month internship. It has since expanded the number of European business schools it actively works with to four, adding Insead and IMD to the list. Next year it will also recruit in the US at the Kellogg school at Northwestern University.

The UK arm of PepsiCo does not have a formalised training programme for MBAs and those that it recruits are placed where there is a vacancy The idea is, however, that these individuals will move quickly up through the business, says Mr Lamont.

The scheme has already had some success; three MBA graduates from the targeted schools have recently joined PepsiCo UK, with a fourth joining in January.

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