The insider's guide to the Jerome Fisher Program at the University of Pennsylvania

A Summer in Toymaking at Hasbro


by David Tompkins, M&T Class of 2016

I think anyone who’s known me for more than about ten minutes knows that I want to be a toymaker. It’s pretty much all I talk about – I even wrote my college essays about it!

Understandably then, I was absolutely thrilled to spend my summer working with Hasbro – the toy company beloved for its popular PLAY-DOH, NERF, MONOPOLY, FURBY, SUPER SOAKER, TRANSFORMERS, G.I. JOE, MY LITTLE PONY, and MR. POTATO HEAD brands (among many others).

My role, as a marketing intern on the global brand team, involved a healthy mix of traditional intern duties – like submitting paperwork, shipping samples, and reporting weekly sales – and higher level work that interns at many other companies might not get the chance to do – like analyzing global sales data for pricing strategy, helping to develop expansion opportunities with new partnerships, and new concept development.

There were many, many times this summer when I realized just how helpful my M&T education has been. I won’t write you a book with every instance detailed out, but I’d like to give two examples – one on how M&T prepared me to work with teams and one on how it prepared me to work in general.

One of the projects I worked on was an intern concept debut. The interns formed teams and came up with new ideas. My team had two designers, two engineers, and two marketers (myself included). My team was having some trouble coming to agreement on a mechanism. The design wanted a certain feel to the toy that the engineers said was impossible. This disagreement became a major restriction for our group’s progress.

I think one of the first things you learn in M&T is how to communicate between two groups who speak very differently (normally engineers and more business-minded folks). I was able to use this learning to see that the designers were speaking broadly, while the engineers were speaking specifically. Using my experience with engineering, I proposed a new mechanism that was technically feasible and also fit within the broader feel that the designers wanted. We went forward with it and the idea was well received!

The other example I’d like to use is a data analysis project. In this project, I had access to a massive database with sales data from the last few years in nearly ten countries for a wide range of competitors and for Hasbro. I looked to analyze our performance at different price-points and find where we were performing well, and where we had room to grow. I then made recommendations on how we ought to go after the opportunity that I found.

It was an interesting project because it required the two core pillars of M&T – engineering and business. After performing rather heavy data analysis, I needed to interpret through a business lens. They’re very different skillsets and I don’t think I could have done it without the M&T Program.

Apologies for the long post! Thanks for reading! If you’re an M&T student and are considering working at Hasbro, let me know and I can put you in touch with a recruiter. If you’re a high school student considering M&T – I really recommend it. It’s incredible.

David, from Arroyo Grande, California, is a member of the M&T Class of 2016. He studies Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at Penn Engineering and Marketing and Operations Management in the Wharton School.

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