Professional headshot of woman wearing floral top and glasses
Courtney Harris, MBS'21

At the Professional Science Master’s program, we provide students with invaluable exposure by welcoming industry experts into our classrooms, fostering real-world insights and connections. 

In this semester’s MBS Spring Life Sciences series, Professor Mark Burgess invites marketing professionals as guest speakers to his course, Market Assessment and Analysis for Business and Science

On February 29th, Professor Burgess hosted Courtney Harris, an alumna of our MBS program, to share her insights through Zoom. Harris currently works at Colgate-Palmolive in personal care implementation and support. 

In her presentation to students, Harris discussed how storytelling and marketing have shaped her career. She framed her professional narrative through the traditional story structure, providing tips on how to leverage valuable tools provided by the Master of Business and Science (MBS) degree.  Read more about Harris’ professional journey through the MBS degree and beyond. 


After graduating from college, Harris considered becoming a librarian. However, her love for lipstick served as her inciting incident—it inspired a change in direction. 

While exploring academic pathways at Rutgers, she came across the personal care science concentration in our MBS degree, a perfect fit for her to transition from a consumer to a product formulator. 

Rising action 

  • Build your brand awareness. Identify your values and analyze your passion and unique skills. 
  • Position yourself in your community of interest. We provide students with many opportunities to do so through our alumni-student mentoring program and mixers with our Industrial Advisory Board. (Join the MBS student LinkedIn group and connect with us!) 
  • Conduct a personal SWOT Analysis. For more information about the benefits of a SWOT analysis, check out MBS Executive Coach Abbe Rosenthal’s tips on improving the job search process. 

After enrolling in the MBS degree, Harris took action and made a plan. She became a “professional student,” building her personal brand and gaining confidence. In her presentation, Harris shared how to use strategic branding to assist in self-discovery and career planning. 


The climactic moment of Harris’ journey through MBS culminated in her Colgate-Palmolive externship. Although when she initially felt daunted by the project in an unfamiliar area, her externship advisor, Abbe Rosenthal, encouraged her to take on the leadership role that later shaped her career. You can read more about the story in Harris' alumni spotlight.   

Harris advocated for seizing such "externship moments," encouraging students to step outside their comfort zones. 

Falling action 

Harris completed the MBS degree, got exposure, and secured her job at Colgate-Palmolive. For her falling action, Harris offered advice for students post-graduation. 

  • Be open-minded about exploring job descriptions.  
  • Embrace career pivots by leveraging all experiences and transferable skills. 
  • Be resourceful. Learn internally within your team and across different departments. Engage in career chats and seek advice from others. 
  • Be brave to express your ideas. Opportunities often arise when you give yourself a chance! 


Harris encouraged listeners to differentiate themselves as MBS students, own their stories, and spotlight their niches. (You can check out our previous workshop on how to leverage the MBS degree.) 

She also highlighted the importance of creativity and finding joy in your work. 

Epilogue: 2-minute tooth brushing pitch 

Staying true to her brand as a personal care scientist, Harris provided students with her own spin on the personal pitch. She gave students a 2-minute pitch to ponder when brushing their teeth. 

  • Don’t let FONT (Fear Of Not Trying) get you down. 
  • Don’t be perfect. Setbacks are a natural part of professional growth. 
  • Regularly reflect on your personal brand, positioning, and SWOT analysis. 

“Studenthood will always be an iterative process,” Harris emphasized.  

She left students with one final piece of advice: Trust your journey and take advantage of the resources provided by the MBS program to empower your career development. 

Many thanks to Harris for her valuable insights! Stay tuned for more speakers in the MBS Spring Life Sciences series. To view our upcoming events, check out our events page. You can also follow us on X (Twitter), LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.   

Author(s): My Le Published on: 03/11/2024
Tags: personal care science, MBS Alumni, guest speaker