When Craig Vollmer, B.S. ’08, was a student at The University of Baltimore, he was like so many of our students: a working adult. The transfer student from Carroll Community College may have been a little older than some, but he had the distinctive tenacity that defines the typical UB student who works during the day and goes to class at night.
The marketing alumnus was a full-time employee at T. Rowe Price while he earned his degree in business administration with honors and was named Marketing Student of the Year. Having already made his way into his chosen field as a marketing manager, Vollmer sought out a business school where he could complete his bachelor’s degree after receiving credit for his community college classes. In addition, it was important for him to find a school that was empathetic towards working adults and with the flexibility of evening classes.
“I was the poster child of the University’s Knowledge That Works brand campaign,” Vollmer says. “I had been working for a while and I wanted to expand my knowledge and perspectives of not only business but the nuances of marketing.”
Vollmer made a good impression in the marketing department and with several members of the faculty there. One in particular, Prof. Peter Lynagh, was integral to Vollmer’s intellectual development. “Dr. L” as he is affectionately remembered – he died in 2012 — always took the time to mentor his students. Vollmer feels that he benefited from that up-close attention, and it has had quite an impact on his career.
“Dr. Lynagh showed me the value of what he called IMC — Integrated Marketing Communications. Now it’s a focus, and a buzzword, at every company,” Vollmer says. “He also gave me the opportunity to be a co-author on a journal article published in the Journal of Applied Business Research.”
In addition to Lynagh, he credits Prof. Ven Sriram for teaching him the value of a global mindset to marketing and business, and Professor Emeritus Michael Laric for instilling in him the science of marketing – especially in terms of designing and creating models that can turn an idea into actionable (and marketable) product.
Vollmer is now serving as the Director of U.S. Client Marketing at PGIM Investments, a Prudential Financial, Inc. related entity. He began this role during the pandemic and shared observations about how his workplace has changed:
“I see the ways you collaborate, build relationships, and influence others is very different in a work-at-home environment than in a face-to-face environment,” he says. “I also believe that our colleagues have a lot of on their collective work and personal plates right now, so acting with empathy is key.”
When asked what advice he would share with marketing students today about preparing for their careers, Vollmer says it is important to be opportunistic in learning the ways in which functional marketing areas may align with your career interests. Be open-minded, Vollmer urges. Consider a variety of industries and companies. Get a feel for what these companies are actually doing before you plunge in. For example, T. Rowe Price or McCormick are wonderful companies, but the competition for positions can be mega fierce. Some students might have a better chance of getting a break at a mid-size or small company. There could be opportunities at that scale – not only to learn but to gain valuable on-the-ground experience.
Lastly, Vollmer says he’s a true believer in the possibilities of the personal and professional network. Build on that, he says, and you build in your chances of success. There’s no better place to rev that up, he says, than through the UB Alumni Association.
If you’re a marketing student, and you’d like to connect with Craig Vollmer, you may do so through LinkedIn.