Smeal Alumni in Profile: Marketing grad finds reward in B2B realm

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Tom Wittig was not familiar with the business-to-business (B2B) realm of marketing when he began his Penn State education. But by the time he graduated from the Smeal College of Business in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing, he had a sense that it was the career for him.

Wittig recently landed a job working as an inside sales executive with QlikTech, the company who pioneered in-memory associative analysis technology with the QlikView platform. In 2012, QlikTech was ranked No. 3 on Forbes’ list of America’s 25 Fastest-Growing Tech Companies.

“QlikView is a business discovery platform that enables users to explore huge volumes of business data quickly and easily,” said Wittig. “It empowers business users to navigate through their own data, and ask and answer their own stream of questions.”

“B2B is very much about relationship-building. You have to be invested in people and contribute to their problem-solving.”

Wittig chose to major in marketing because he wanted a solid foundation to enter into a career in sales. While he had anticipated working in the business-to-consumer (B2C) realm, he said an upper-level class with Carolyn Todd, instructor in marketing, opened his eyes to the opportunities in B2B.

“Most people are more aware of B2C marketing because that’s what they see,” said Wittig. “It was very interesting to discover this whole other world in marketing and sales.”

As Wittig learned more about B2B marketing, he began to see the fundamental differences in how it worked relative to the B2C realm.

“B2B is very much about relationship-building,” said Wittig. “It’s about getting to know the customer and discovering how you can help them add value to their business. You have to be invested in people and contribute to their problem-solving.”

Wittig says his Smeal experience prepared him for his current position, not only because of Smeal’s reputation for excellence in B2B marketing but also because of the emphasis on teamwork and leadership.

“When I think of Smeal, I think teamwork, leadership and integrity. I see those as the pillars of B2B marketing.”

He continued, “I work on an incredibly diverse team. We all have a critical role — it’s never just me from beginning to end. That’s something you learn right out of the gate at Smeal.”

“When I think of Smeal, I think teamwork, leadership and integrity. I see those as the pillars of B2B marketing.”

Smeal is well-known for its strengths in B2B marketing. The college houses the Institute for the Study of Business Markets, a center of excellence dedicated to the research, education and practice of B2B marketing. The center’s executive director, Ralph Oliva, and its research director, Gary Lilien, are among the many faculty with expertise in the B2B arena.

Smeal Alumni in Profile
A Penn State Smeal College of Business degree prepares students for a vast array of career opportunities. Catch up with Smeal graduates via our regular Alumni in Profile feature, which details the unique paths alumni take as they embark on their professional lives, as well as the ways they stay engaged with their alma mater.

The Smeal alumni network is more than 73,000 members strong. They're doing impactful work in diverse fields all over the globe, and many of them are also involved in giving back to the Smeal College of Business.

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Last Updated September 10, 2013