Brother "Lives Mas" at Taco Bell HQ

Sep 13, 2018 – How many people have thought at one point in time while eating Taco Bell, "I could get paid to do this!" For Brother Vinay Somashekar, California-Irvine, that dream is a job perk!

Vinay has been working for Taco Bell at their corporate headquarters in Irvine, California almost two years. And while Taco Bell is known for its banter on social media, clever Super Bowl commercials and locations across the globe (and of course serving up DELICIOUS  fast food), it takes some serious talent and determination behind the scenes to make it happen. 

Working on the Corporate Strategy team, Vinay explains that his day-to-day responsibilities fall under the following categories: pricing, international growth, executive presentations, competitive intelligence, investor relations, and ad hoc analysis. So what do those categories entail? From managing company-owned restaurant pricing, to analyzing growth opportunities, to even drafting presentations on behalf of C-suite executives, it's safe to say that Vinay earns the perks. In addition, he closely monitors industry trends and competitor performance, and also drafts Taco Bell's quarterly results and commentary for the investor relations team at Yum! Brands (a Fortune 500 company that operates KFC, Pizza Hut & Taco Bell) in order to help them prepare for quarterly earnings releases to Wall Street. 

As you can imagine, scoring a job with a company like Taco Bell is nacho average task! "I interviewed with 11 people in total throughout the entire process," recalls Vinay. "In order to stand out from the crowd, I made it a point to show my genuine fervor for Taco Bell - not just the food, but the brand as well. Taco Bell's brand is renowned for its bold and creative innovation as well as its light-hearted and witty persona that resonates with its consumers. I intentionally exhibited a parallel between the brand and my own personality in order to demonstrate a cultural fit. For example, my thank you emails were jokingly peppered with corny fast food puns." 

While Vinay spends much of his time invested in the strategic planning and implementation of this powerhouse company, the job definitely has a tasty side. In fact, he says, "The coolest thing about my job is being able to participate in frequent taste panels where we get to try out dozens of innovative product ideas - most notably future menu items that have not yet to be released domestically, as well as international menu items that are not available in the U.S." 

A dedicated Deltasig for life, Vinay has given back to his collegiate chapter by frequently visiting and giving presentations about his career, as well as advice for job searching. "Being a Deltasig prepared me for my job by instilling in me the value of building and maintaining relationships," he says. "A large part of my job is cross-functional and involves leveraging relationships with many people across the business. Taking the time to build and maintain these relationships goes a long way. Like they say, 'If you want to go fast, travel alone; if you want to go far, travel together.'

Finding a meaningful career can sometimes feel difficult, however Vinay provides practical advice for brothers graduating in the near future, or for those who are looking to switch jobs. "My advice for brothers looking to find a meaningful career is to fully understand and embrace that it isn't something that happens overnight. A career is long and dynamic, and the only way to find meaning is to strap in and enjoy the journey. I believe the real meaning in a career stems from a constant urge to challenge oneself and an insatiable curiosity to learn new things. In terms of what to look for in a company, my advice would be to find a place that goes out of its way to hire a person, not a skill set. In my opinion, a remarkable company hires employees for their attitude and subsequently trains them for their skills. This is because skills and responsibilities can be taught, but a positive attitude and a thirst for knowledge is innate." 

Taco Bell
Brother Somashekar pictured at the Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, CA. 

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