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Mattel's Rules of the Job Game

Work at Mattel is less about playing games than designing and marketing them. Thaiz Chanman has been at El Segundo (Calif.)-based Mattel (MAT) since May, 1997, and is now serving as its MBA program manager. Before assuming her current role a year ago, Chanman worked on a variety of executive-development projects, as well as in packaging, marketing, and corporate communications within Mattel. In her time as MBA program manager, Chanman has increased recruiting significantly, doubling the number of summer-intern hires from 20 to 40.

About 80% of summer interns receive full-time offers. MBAs looking to be among that group need to demonstrate a blend of creativity, passion, and innovation, Chanman says. She recently spoke with BusinessWeek Online reporter Jeffrey Gangemi. Here are edited excerpts of their conversation:

Where do you do most of your MBA recruiting?

Traditionally, we targeted the University of Southern California Marshall School of Business and UCLA Anderson School of Management, as well as Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management and Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management. We have also gone to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for a few finance people.

This year, because we doubled our internship hires from the previous year, I tried to include more California schools, like Stanford Graduate School of Business, University of California, Berkeley Haas School of Business, as well as The Paul Merage School of Business at University of California, Irvine and Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business & Management. For finance, we're also targeting the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

How well is the MBA recruiting program supported within Mattel?

This program is truly the pipeline for talent within our organization, specifically on our finance side. Our CFO believes strongly in developing people, and he supports our program. This is where the new generation of management is coming from.

What's your on-campus recruiting schedule?

We start in the fall. All through October and early November, I go out to campuses and conduct information sessions and presentations. I'll then go back to campus in January or early February to conduct the first round of interviews on campus. We then extend offers by early March.

Because we try to use our intern program as a pipeline for full-time hires, we don't generally go back on campus to recruit second-year students.

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