After graduating, Sesay felt he owed it to his professors, friends, family, and especially his mother to do the best he could. “All the years that they spent mentoring me to be a much better person, not for that particular moment but for the future,” he says.
Searching for the next big thing, Sesay landed an opportunity as a pre-sell account manager with Pepsi in 2015. He felt a sense of nostalgia towards the brand – as a soccer fan, he often saw a lot of Pepsi marketing where he lived.
“So, when the opportunity presented itself, it was a no-brainer for me,” he says. Not only did he have a connection with this brand, but he also knew that this opportunity would develop his business acumen immensely.
His first entry-level job required him to fill coolers with cans or stock up merchandise at stores. Within a year he became the sales senior associate.
And along came another promotion with bigger responsibilities such as managing the account for Big Y, a retailer in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Though this felt like a burden at first, Sesay knew to trust the process and put in the work.
This led him to become the national account manager for Rite Aid. “That, too, was a big step forward,” he says.
SUPPORTERS MAKE EVERYTHING POSSIBLE
He found true mentorship and encouragement during his time at Rite Aid and was awarded the ring of honor by Pepsi, an honor award given to one-tenth percent of sales workers across the world.
Sesay knew this couldn’t have been possible without his support network.
“I’m the one that gets to hold the ring but at the end of the day, there are many people involved and I want to make sure that they get their flowers as well,” he says.
During this time, Sesay realized he wanted to go back to school. “That’s when I decided, ‘Okay, if I’m going to do it, this is the time, and I can make it happen. If I wait, I might be at a point with more constraints,’” he says.
DIRECT APPLICATION OF ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE
Though most of his classes have been online, he thinks that NYU designed zoom classes in a way that facilitates engagement. “That is not to say it was always easy to pay attention, but it is evident that professors spent valuable time thinking about the right number of breaks, breakout sessions, and student participation to include in their remote classes.” So far, he has enjoyed the learning process.
The part-time program has proved to be valuable for his job. “I can come back to work the next morning and apply whatever it is that I’ve learned into my job,” he says, whether it’s strategy, accounting, or finance.
Sesay has been a part of the Pepsi family for six years now and his commitment to the company is evident. During his time in the industry, he has seen tremendous change, which has led to his ultimate goal: “To work with other like-minded people to create and lead that change.”