The Lager Bloggers


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Checking in from Cartersville, GA


I have been in the Atlanta area working at the Cartersville brewery for the past 3 weeks. Ryan and Lyndsay are here with me for this rotation. We have enjoyed our apartment complex’s pool and gym and have been cooking ourselves dinner almost every night.

The Cartersville brewery is the newest of our twelve US breweries; because of this and the great team they have here, it is one of the most efficient. They make everything from Budweiser to Natural Light and more recently began producing the FMBs like Lime-a-Rita. The brewery received us very well and made a plan to show us every department in detail, in addition to an individual and a group project we have for the rotation. Up until now, we spent a full week in brewing and a week seeing the utilities and the people departments, and we will see operations (packaging) this week. Besides learning about each department’s team, process maps, KPIs and goals, we are spending time with operators and group managers to understand their day-today work.

My individual project has been to optimize the use of an enzyme used in the mashing process, one of the first steps in brewing. The enzyme is more efficient than its predecessor was and I have been testing mashes with different enzyme amounts, temperatures and boil lengths to find which yields the highest RDF (real degrees of fermentation). This has been a very exciting project, which has led me to learn the brewing process in detail. As a group, we are examining the feasibility of providing tours and a Beer Garden at the brewery through local market research, which has also been challenging and fun.




They put us to work - cleaning out the chip tanks!

Filed under gmt14 gmt ABInBev anheuser-busch marc Cartersville

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What’s up in Williamsburg?

Hello Everyone,

I am checking in this month from gorgeous Williamsburg, Virginia. Pearly, Mariel and I will be here for the next few weeks soaking up as much information as we can about the supply side of the company. The Williamsburg brewery is known as the “Can Do” Brewery because it takes every challenge thrown its way head on. One of these challenges is brewing 48 different brands of beer, making brewing and packaging logistics very complex.  We spent the past week learning the in and outs of the brewing process at the Williamsburg brewery. We did everything from joining in daily taste testing, led by brewmaster Dan Westmoreland, to cleaning out the beach wood chip tanks used to help perfect Budweiser and Bud Light.


All geared up to down & dirty in the chip tanks!!

We will spend the coming weeks taking a closer look at utilities, operations, and maintenance at the Williamsburg brewery. We will also be participating in Be(er) Responsible Day this Friday as well as helping out with various lean projects going on at the brewery. For future updates from the Williamsburg brewery, stay tuned for Mariel and Pearly’s posts coming early October!!



Filed under gmt brewery williamsburg conor ward ABInBev anheuser-busch gmt14

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Introducing the 2014 Class of GMTs!

Hello to all of our Lager Blogger Readers!

It’s an exciting time for us GMTs, as we just kicked off our 2014 program!  We started our program in the first week of August, with the 23 United States GMTs in St. Louis, and the 7 Canadian GMTs in Toronto for Country Induction.  The next week, the Canadians joined the rest of us in St. Louis as we underwent Zone Induction, where we even got a two day course in Brewing Boot Camp, where we learned about different beer styles as well as getting to sample them!


                                      All in a Day’s Work

The next week was absolutely crazy, but was definitely one of the most rewarding so far, as it was Global Induction.  All 147 worldwide GMTs converged upon St. Louis as we learned about all facets of the global company, and had the opportunity to hear inspiring speeches from the leaders of our company, including our CEO, Carlos Brito!  Not only did we have the awesome opportunity to learn from and interact with leaders ABInbev, but we also got to do some fun activities like going to a St. Louis Cardinals game and by far being the most energetic people in Busch Stadium.  We also got the opportunity to volunteer for a local organization in St. Louis called operation food search, as well as doing a 147-person ice bucket challenge benefiting ALS research.



Ice Bucket Challenge ABI GMT 2014 from Oksana Obukhova on Vimeo.

                      Bringing People Together For A Better World

After all the GMTs departed St. Louis and headed back to their respective zones, the North American GMTs had one last week in St. Louis, where we learned about our IT and Business Services functions, known as IBS.  Currently, we are all out in breweries across the US and Canada completing our supply rotations.  Check out the location map on the right-hand column to see where we are!  Make sure to zoom in on each location to see everyone that’s there!  Be on the lookout for updates from the GMTs as they are in their supply rotations!  Also, if you have any questions, feel free to shoot us a question either on this blog, or to our emails listed in each of our profiles!  We would love to answer any questions for those of you considering applying for the GMT program!

Until next time,

Eric Foster


              Happy Hour saying goodbye to the Canadian GMT’s


GMT Paintball in what could be considered the worst weather ever (but so much fun!)

Filed under gmt gmt14 eric foster st. louis AB InBev anheuser-busch

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Anonymous asked: Hi! How much does this program cost?

The GMT program doesn’t cost anything, and is in fact a paid position!

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GMT ‘13 Capstone Speeches

The following are transcripts of the capstone speeches given by the representatives of the GMT ‘13 class on May 29th, 2014:


Over the last 10 months, I have sacrificed a lot for this company. I have lost countless friends, because they continued to drink Molson products against my sternest warnings. I have stopped going to some of my favorite bars, because they refused, believe it or not, to switch their Coors Light line for Bud Light. And I even deceived my own grandfather and tricked him into taking a blind taste test to prove that he enjoyed Stella more than Heineken.

I have also spent the last 10 months living the GMT life, and I almost feel unworthy of the rollercoaster ride I have been fortunate enough to have been on since July. It is a privilege to stand in front of you all today, representing the GMT class of 2013, and especially my counterparts from up North. I must say that when I was doing my research for the interview process and read more and more about ZBB, I was half expecting to have to ride my bicycle to St. Louis, and pitch a tent under the St. Louis arch. It has been a life learning of mine, that the degree of satisfaction we derive from our experiences directly stems from the difference between our expectations and reality.

We were told we would learn a lot, but I was not expecting to feel like I just got my MBA in 10 months; We were told we would meet lots of important people, but I was not expecting to “have a casual lunch” with Luiz Edmond, our Canadian President Lisboa and even our Board of Directors; We were told we would tackle important projects, but I was not expecting to be briefed with my whole Calgary office on the introduction of a new 12 can Bud Light SKU that we Canadian GMTs recommended and implemented 2 months prior.

Needless to say, while my expectations were high, the Gap (to use some ABI lingo) between expectation & reality has made this experience something I struggle to put into words. And for those of you who know me, I am not a man who struggles to find words.

At the end of the day, I am standing here representing my Canadian counterparts so I would like to speak to that here. We Canadians may envy you American’s epic first positions, & locations in LA & Miami, but if there is anything you should envy of us Canucks in return, besides our expensed gas, it should be the bond we have forged amongst ourselves and what we have accomplished together, as Team Canada, in such a short period of time.

We spent months in breweries improving everything from the taste of Bud Light, to the efficiency of bottle lines and palletizers. We have ordered pizza to the Edmonton office at midnight, the day before our game-changing presentation. Spent hours locked in a room together in Montreal, building what is now the Corona army. And then we each went our separate ways and drove incremental business for our respective sales regions, distributing Corona surveys in the process.

In short, we have challenged each other, supported each other, and I truly believe motivated and inspired one another to achieve something more than we once thought possible of our individual selves. Being 4 people, in a country that is larger in geographical size and far more beautiful than the US, we have only had each other to fall back on. Taylor and I were placed a 3 and a half hour drive apart for our final projects, and have visited each other 12 times in 4 months (no exaggeration). Darren told me last week that his son asked him where “his friend Ben was” on Skype. Tina has been a huge source of support for me going through an interesting transition period into my first role.   We have definitely had our differences – but I could not feel luckier to have gone through this journey with the 3 of you guys.

So on behalf of all of us, thank you to everyone who made this past 10 months possible – it has been an opportunity and experience I know we will never forget. Now, I will pass the reigns off to Sarah, to wrap-up this journey with a few more words. 


I wasn’t valedictorian or student body president in high school or college, so I’ve never gotten to give a speech like this before. But I think that’s what’s important about this program, and about this group of individuals. At some point we all had a “why me?” moment, wondering how we got this opportunity…and that’s the very reason we were chosen to be part of this company’s future.

They all know, and I want you all to know, that I actually lobbied for the opportunity to be up here today, despite a crippling fear of public speaking. This moment is the first time in my life that I felt I had something valuable to say, and the first time I felt I could understand the sentiments of my peers and regurgitate them in an articulate manner. That’s a testament to how much we’ve all grown over the last ten months. I know I have, and I think you guys feel it too.

Surprisingly, I remember the first day of the program like it was yesterday. I arrived at the Drury, mother in tow, and ran into Alaina in the lobby. I remember telling my mom how nice she was. I remember that Ashley and I discovered we had the same purse and shared a love for practical fashion accessories. I remember showing up to the restaurant late where all these wonderful people were eating, and Alec getting my attention from the far end of the table just to say hello and ask me how I was doing. I remember dancing at Big Daddy’s and getting to know each other with little to no regard or understanding for the number of PowerPoints we were destined to sit through over the next few weeks. Most of all, I remember feeling right away that we all just fit. As my fellow GMT put so simply when I asked her what I would do without her: We’d survive, she said, but just less so.

From Day 1, they told us we would be sponges, yet we all still underestimated the knowledge we would gain and the exposure we would have. In ten months, I saw six breweries, four WODs, and two region offices, and I now have friends in all of them. Or at the very least, someone I could call with a market-specific question. 

Aside from learning the ins and outs of the way this corporation works, and in addition to gaining an understanding of how to leverage each component to create a more profitable future, we’ve also walked away with intangibles: increased self awareness, a sharp ability to focus and to be patient, a deep sense of determination. These are skills we have been cultivating throughout our entire lives, and they’ve only gotten stronger.

Over time, we’ve come to take pride in our contributions to the greater good of this company; we’ve come to support each other, both professionally, and otherwise; we’ve stood in airports carrying all of our earthly possessions, fighting to keep our eyes open and frantically searching for WIFI; we’ve made homes in the unlikeliest of places, but have most often considered home to be more of a feeling than a location. For me, when we first started this grand exploration, well, I didn’t quite feel that I had a home. And oddly, even though we have become only more transient, I somehow feel as if I – as if we – have more of a home than ever before. In fact, we have dozens of them.

I know I speak for all of us when I say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all who facilitated this experience for us. A huge thank you to Jackie, who is the only reason we are all here today with our heads intact and shoes on both feet. Thank you for providing us with so many new homes. From this point forward, it will be our responsibility to help make a home for those who come after us, and to attempt to make a difference with all of the knowledge we have accrued.

Thank you. 


Hello, thank you all for joining us today.  My name is Alec Stirton and I am honored to speak to you on the behalf of the 2013 class of GMT’s.

10 months.  That’s how long most of us sitting up here with there ridiculous hats on have been with the company.  It’s almost unbelievable how quickly it flew by.  It was definitely the fastest 10 months of my life.  From bunking up in the Drury for orientation, to the time in breweries, our WOD rotations, time spent in the field and finally our 4 month project, it’s safe to say we covered a lot of ground.

During all that time, we had the incredible opportunity to work with the innovations department through our Build a Brand project, and that is what this group of people has elected me, or offered me up depending how you look at it, to speak to you about today.

The summer before we started we were informed about the opportunity we would have to literally build a brand from conception to completion for the most innovation company within the alcohol industry.  I mean this is a company that has been around and innovating for almost 100 years before the television was created.  This seemed like a fairly daunting task.   Here we are fresh out of school and we are posed with creating the next bud light platinum, the next Lime-A-Rita. I think the team will back me up here that those are hard acts to follow.

So we spent our summer preparing for everything this program would throw at us, all the while this exciting reminder laid in the back of our thoughts.  We get to BUILD a brand.  I remember talking with another GMT, Ben Graziano over the summer and naively coming to the conclusion that this would be EASY.  “Dude, we should absolutely make a stout!  I can’t believe no one in the company has thought of that yet!!” 

Come to find out that in fact there is an entire department of talented people working tirelessly on hundreds of innovations at any given time.  And yes, the novel idea of adding a stout to our portfolio had already been covered.  (Side note,  I just want to say that the bare knuckle tap handle is one of the best of all time, and I’m looking for one for my kegerator if anyone has an extra one lying around).

So finally when we got here to St. Louis and had a chance to sit down with Pat and Val, they explained the parameters of our project.  We were to create a brand based on key consumer insights that launched under one of our flagship brands.  Also, we needed to keep in mind the specific consumer demographic, the entire brewing recipe and including costs, transportation of the product, the branding, the packaging, volume projections and a 1YP around activation, oh and by the way it had to sell 200,000 barrels.  But we got to work. 

Part of this experience was learning to work with a group of the most competitive people I have EVER met.  At first we were hesitant to share ideas within our group, god forbid the other team (shout out team hops).  But soon we found that everyone had different backgrounds grounded in difference experiences and perspectives that would help shape the end products we are so excited to share with you today.  More than anything, we have been exposed to the framework of which this company operates within.  We have identified key consumer insights that will help drive incremental growth while leveraging our company’s core strengths in brand recognition and scale. Ultimately it has been a great opportunity to learn and grow as new AB InBev employees.

As the past class of GMT’s warned us, this wouldn’t come easy, but sometimes you need to go through something yourself to really appreciate the another person’s advise.  This process was in fact, a challenge.

On our team alone we went through the concepts of a coffee beer, a tea infused beer, a long island ice tea, a cucumber mint…thing, a beer cocktail, pre-prohibition cocktail, ginger beer, and at one point Sam even recommended we just pitch the idea of bottling water.  What a big reveal that would have been huh?

But through the stage gate processes, the late night phone calls across multiple time zones and countries, we were able to complete this task of identifying 2 unique gaps in our vast portfolio and we have them here for you today.  Obviously none of this would have been possible without the help and guidance of a large number of you in the room today.  In particular, Colleen Lucas, Rod Reed, Dharma Tamm, Rob Naylor, Jim Efftink, Kate Neff, Pat and Val of course.  This group has massive responsibility on their plate as is, and they took the time to go above and beyond and help us work towards our final product.  For all your efforts, we sincerely thank you.

This industry is an ever changing one, now more than ever.  With spirits and those annoying craft guys nipping at our heals, it is extremely important that we continue to innovate to build upon the historic success this company is known for. 

It’s a tall task, but we truly do have the most driven, dedicated, and insightful group of employees here at ABI, as we learned through our work with all of you over these past 10 months.  No one knows what the future holds for this company or for the future of the industry we work in, but to me that is the exciting part.  We are the industry leaders and we have the reach, the brewing capabilities, the sales force, the marketing department unrivaled by anyone else. We have brands that are some of the most recognizable across all industries in the globe.  With things like this on your side, it’s hard not to be excited about what the future will bring.  This is an exciting time for the class of 2013 GMT’s and for the company as a whole.  We look forward to the challenge of shaping the future of this company and thank you for the opportunity to work with all of you throughout the course of our build a brand project.

On behalf of all the GMT’s up here today, we thank you.

Filed under speech capstone graduation gmt13

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A look into the GMTs’ experience in LA

As the program comes to a close, I’m sad to say this is my last rotation recap video! It’s been a blast making these videos to share our experiences with you, and even more of a blast living them!

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“Every chapter has an ending, but every ending is just a new beginning.”

Spring has arrived and that means the 2013-2014 GMT program is coming to an end!  I cannot believe how quickly the past ten months have gone by.  I can still remember… the Senior Leader Breakfast last February where we got to meet our class for the first time; checking into each apartment in St. Louis, LA, Tulsa, and Atlanta; the presentations throughout training weeks in St. Louis and the lasting impressions they had on me.  The list could go on and on.  More than anything, I would like to take the time to thank the rest of the GMT13 class, our fearless leader (Jaclyn), and everyone at AB who continues to support the GMT program.

Spring has arrived at the St. Louis Brewery!

Before all of the graduation excitement can begin, we all must deliver during our last few days in our 4-month project assignments.  I have been working hard in the St. Louis Operations Department to drive awareness and understanding of how to react appropriately to low and high fills on a can or bottle line.  When I first started the project, I took manual measurements at all of the fillers (5 can lines & 4 bottle lines) every day.  Since this proved to be too small of a sample size to work with, I implemented a continuous data pull using a PLC calculation.  After lots of data analysis, I developed a monitoring tool that drives financial savings when used proactively.  I also had the opportunity to work with some of our filler operators to develop a two-tiered reaction plan to be carried out when low or high fills cause extreme losses on a line. 

For our final week of the program (Graduation), we will reunite as a class for a few days in Chicago.  We will get some last-minute training done and we will also get to have breakfast with the Board of Directors.  This will be an incredibly unique opportunity that we are all looking forward to.  After that, we will have our Graduation ceremonies and Build-A-Brand reveal back at the corporate offices in St. Louis.  For graduation, we have all been instructed to design an Anheuser-Busch-inspired cap.  I already know which brand I’m going to focus on, so now I just need to buy the materials!

What’s next for me?  I am moving to the Cartersville Brewery near Atlanta to work as a Group Manager in the Brewing Department.  I am looking forward to joining the team there while continuing to see what amazing things my fellow GMTs can accomplish.

Buffalo Chicken Totchos in Atlanta…need I say more?!

To the GMT14s: get ready for the best 10 months of your life!

To everyone else reading: thanks for following our journey!!


Filed under GMT13 ABInBev NAZ St. Louis

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From Consumer to Purveyor

Unfortunately, my new title is not as awesome as “Purveyor of beers,” but as I start to look at my training in the rearview mirror in the car that is my career, I look ahead to the road of becoming a sales rep in this dynamic industry.

After putting the finishing touches on my Field Assignment, and handing over the final deliverables, I’ve begun to make the transition into my new role a bit ahead of schedule. I’ve been given a whole territory full of exciting new opportunities, both on and off premise, that I’ll be managing full time for the foreseeable future! It’s going to require another move, yet it’s comforting knowing that there will be more stability than simply 4 weeks in duration. I’m not at liberty to discuss too many of the details surrounding the new role, but I am certainly excited to make the full transition and start to work hard at driving results for a new team!

Some of my new tasks will include: making daily sales calls to different restaurants, bars, stores, and everything in between, developing promotional strategies for specific partner accounts, and driving incremental volume wherever possible in order to help the team stay ahead of forecasts. Due to the regulatory nature of Canadian beer sales, there are very specific channels of off-premise that I’m going to be responsible for within my new territory as well. The great thing about working as part of a sales team is just that, the team dynamics that come with knowing that each week, your work will either help or hinder the progress of the entire team. Furthermore, knowing that there are numbers to describe each and every result in your own world of sales is a pretty amazing benefit, as you can see the direct impact of your work.

Since the beginning of the program, I’ve taken significantly less photos, therefore it’s fitting that at this point so close to the end, and I have nothing new and exciting to share… so here’s a photo of the latest addition to the Ontario market!

I’m not much for long goodbyes, but I will close by saying that I’ve had a great time in the program thus far, and I’m excited to learn new skills and take advantage of new opportunities within the commercial organization at ABI! It’s been a blast blogging with you, cheers!


Filed under GMT13 ABInBev NAZ Ontario

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What Separates a Trainee?

Hello Bloggers,

For my final blog post I felt a recap of my experiences in the GMT program would be appropriate. So what does separate a Trainee from say a typical “I just graduated college first position?” Well…….

Trainees look forward to college graduation – Instead of dreading college graduation; Trainees can actually get excited about it! Trainees have the opportunity to work for the best beer company in the world while traveling the country learning and developing technical, leadership, and managerial skills. Not to mention, all of our expenses are covered leaving a pretty sizeable disposable income for just graduating college.

Trainees are very mobile – I have lived in St. Louis, Atlanta, Columbus, Denver, L.A., and Jacksonville in a 10-month time span. Living in so many different cities has not only allowed me to explore new cities and make new friends, but it has also made a lot of awesome weekend trips possible including Las Vegas, New York, Disney World, Chicago, Nashville, San Diego, Breckenridge, Boulder, Asheville, Colorado Springs, Cedar Point, St. Augustine, Hilton Head, and the list goes on… You could say Trainees know a thing or two about how to pack a suitcase.

Trainees have an appetite for learning – I still have not heard of any other position with any other company (Budweiser creed anyone?) that gives you exposure to literally every single facet of the company in the first year (unless it’s a very small company). Trainees start off in St. Louis where they get an introduction to the country, zone, and global operations. Trainees then move out to the breweries where they rotate through every department – brewing, packaging, logistics, utilities, maintenance, people, and quality assurance. Trainees then move to the commercial side of the business where they spend time in both a wholesaler and a regional sales office, while once again rotating through every department and job function. Trainees are then sent back to St. Louis to learn about all of the corporate functions including information business services, marketing, legal, corporate affairs, logistics, procurement, finance, and people. Trainees then have the opportunity to manage a four-month project that drives improvement at a brewery, sales office, WOD, or corporate function. Needless to say, Trainees know a little about a whole lot in the beer industry.

Trainees have a big network – possibly the most appealing aspect to the GMT program is the sizeable network that you create in a 10-month time span. First, we have the network of Trainees which includes current and alumni Trainees across the globe. The North American Zone 2013 GMT class has 19 Trainees while the Global 2013 GMT class has ~140 Trainees across the world. Second, we have the network of people we meet and interact with through our rotations which includes people in the breweries, sales offices, WODs, and corporate functions – I’m just going to estimate at ~300 people. Last but not least, we have the network of senior leaders that we meet and interact with throughout the program through project presentations, mentorships, and social interactions such as happy hours. By the time the program ends, Trainees have a network that is rivaled by maybe only Verizon…

Trainees get a lot of exposure – I don’t know of many positions out college that allow you to present projects and ideas to the senior leaders of the company from both a zone and global perspective – especially in a company the size of AB InBev. As stated above, Trainees have a lot of interactions with senior leaders throughout the program. Trainees also get a ton of exposure and interaction with the leadership teams in the breweries, regional sales offices, WODs, and corporate functions.

Trainees get to build a brand – One of the coolest projects in the program is the Build-a-Brand innovations project where we get to create a new beer brand and follow the structured stage gate process that our innovations department follows to rollout new products. We come up with the concept, determine our target consumers/occasions, develop the liquid, develop the packaging, create the marketing plan, calculate the financials, and present the final product to the senior leaders.

Trainees have big expectations – the company invests a lot of time and resources into developing Trainees, because Trainees are expected to be leaders in the company and drive improvement in every single job function. A question I get asked quite often is: “Well, what do you do after the program is over?” The answer is: absolutely anything you want. If a Trainee wants to go into marketing, sales, brewing, logistics, people, Clydesdale training, or whatever else – it is up to them to go after it and make it happen. So what I am going to be? Well, Carlos Brito of course…

I hope it is apparent that the Global Management Trainee program is an unbelievable opportunity and one that should be taken full advantage of…. In case you are interested in a quick life update of what I have been up to in Jacksonville, see below:

Player’s Championship at TPC Sawgrass

Golf on the beach

Golf on the marsh

And finally more golf

$25,000 Smart Bottle that measures line pressure

Amish life: making apartment furniture to save some $$$

My alarm clock….

The happiest or unhappiest place on earth – depending on your patience

Stay Golden Bloggers….

-Nate Hungate

Filed under GMT13 jacksonville ABInBev NAZ

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We Came, We Saw, and We Will Conquer

Hey everyone, this is Suraj checking in from LA.

Yikes, the GMT program sure has moved fast. It feels like only a couple weeks ago that I was wrapping up my six week rotation here at the LA Brewery—and that was back in September! Now it’s nearly May and I am busy grinding on my project, incorporating some of our tools to sustain so that the practices and procedures I’ve implemented will have a lasting effect.

Along the way, I’ve had some fantastic opportunities and learned some valuable lessons. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been able to present my project to Zone and Global level management—even now it is still surprising to me how visible GMT’s are within the company. I’ve also learned the challenges involved with driving behavioral change amongst an entire workforce. It’s not easy, but by using our VPO tools and being on the floor daily to interact directly with our operators, these changes can be implemented more systematically and seamlessly.

There’s only about a month left in our program, but our responsibilities are far from over! As previous posts have mentioned, we have our Build a Brand project presentations to MANCOM coming up during our final capstone week. It’s an intimidating prospect—to have your team’s entire year’s worth of work presented in only 20 minutes, but I’m confident in our team, the brand we’ve developed, and most importantly, I’m confident we will conquer the other team (boom, shots fired!).

After the program, I’m excited to be joining the IBS Infrastructure Projects team in St. Louis where I’ll be working on implementing and designing technology solutions for our company. It’s moving pretty fast, but I can’t wait to start my new position, move into my sweet apartment with fellow GMT’s, and then spend the summer watching the World Cup, brought you by Budweiser.

This is probably my last post and I just want to thank you, Lager Blogger nation. You have all been incredible and I hope you follow next year’s talented class with the same enthusiasm!