David Hu ’03S (MBA)
Global Director, ABIU Commercial at Anheuser-Busch InBev
By Joy Underhill
Hu recently joined Anheuser-Busch InBev as the global director of ABI University’s commercial programs. In that capacity, he heads commercial training that enhances employees’ functional skills and competencies, and expands learning and development for the company’s global zones. “At ABI, we invest in developing our leaders, and building commercial capabilities is mission critical for us to deliver on aggressive growth targets,” he says.
Before starting at AB InBev, Hu spent six years at The Coca-Cola Company’s Atlanta headquarters as director of marketing strategy and commercial insights. His challenge in that position was to innovate in the new media landscape to keep customers excited about the highly recognized Coca-Cola brand. “We’re all about enhancing consumer engagement through all consumer touch points in order to expand our brand,” he says. Hu has seen many brands have their ups and downs, but only a handful—like Coke—are in a position to make a meaningful difference long term.
Hu was involved with go-to-market strategy at Coke as well, leveraging social media, digital, and mobile technologies to make it happen. He further led a global initiative to apply neuromarketing to branding, advertising, product marketing, packaging innovation, and other areas.
While at Coca-Cola, Hu served as chair of the Chinese Professionals to bring together those of Chinese heritage for networking and sharing career stories. “As a minority, we benefitted from connecting and learning how to better serve the Atlanta community,” he says. “We also had a lot of fun!”
Simon’s small size gave Hu the opportunity to form deep relationships with both peers and faculty. “My Simon network certainly expanded my career contacts,” he says, “and I still call people from 15 or 20 years ago to share experiences and stories. It’s even easier now with social media, and we’ve formed a close-knit community.”
Hu also benefitted from his involvement in Simon’s Marketing Club, where visits to area companies helped define his career passion. Simon’s strong emphasis on quantitative analysis has served Hu well through marketing’s increased reliance on data analytics.
Hu’s job requires him to travel worldwide, so he values family time with his wife and two children in Atlanta. “My kids are digital natives, so I pay attention to what they say,” he notes. “They teach me how the next generation thinks, which is where my thinking will have to go as well.”
For recent Simon graduates, Hu offers this advice: “Always keep learning! We live in an emerging, fast-paced world, and a hunger for knowledge will serve you well.”
He also believes that while it’s important to have a career plan, it’s equally important to remain flexible and embrace change. “Look how quickly technology has advanced over the past few years—from Blackberry to iPhone in a heartbeat. By developing a passion for what you do and maintaining a forward-looking mindset, you can meet the demands of our complex times.”