1. Name (First and Last)
Starcom Mediavest Group
Associate Media Director
6. Graduation Year (list as "Month Year")
8. Minor and/or Certificates
Cooking, reading, running, obsessing over all things fashion (it's a bit of an addiction)
Career Information & Advice
11. What are your job responsibilities/duties?
High level strategic planning on the Kraft account. I focus on understanding our client’s brand category dynamics and their business goals to ensure we’re building media plans that can deliver against them, as well as providing guidance on larger industry developments like shifting consumer digital trends, growing Hispanic and millennial audiences, category competitive threats and opportunities, etc.
12. What does a typical day look like?
Media is interesting in that every day is different, especially across accounts and different stages of your career. One hour you may be analyzing target audience data and pulling out insights, the next you are brainstorming breakthrough ideas for a new product launch, the next you are presenting a strategic approach to clients for the year’s social efforts. There’s a lot of pivoting in and out of various projects and discussions. For those in a buying role, you may be taking meetings with vendors to stay on top of developments in the marketplace, or negotiating rates for a digital buy, or putting together a print title recommendation. Then there’s operations, reporting, billing, and their day-to-day will look different too.
13. What do you most enjoy about your job?
The fast-paced, ever-changing and growing nature of the industry, and the breadth of opportunity available in media and at Starcom. The historical hard lines and borders of what media means and what role it should play are increasingly blurred. Media agencies can behave like creative agencies or content developers or programmatic digital networks, it offers a lot of opportunity to lean into the types of things you are most passionate about and find most interesting. It's also pretty cool to see a huge media execution or something that's never been done before come to life.
14. What is the most difficult aspect of the job?
There are realities that are unavoidable. Budgets get cut, clients don’t buy an idea, no matter how well you try to sell it these things happen and it can be disheartening when you put a lot into your work. However, learning to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches is not only a valuable career skill, it’s also an important life skill, so to some extent, you just need to dust it off and remember that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
15. What on-campus activities were you involved with? Where did you gain relevant experience?
AAF and NSAC offered some really excellent opportunities. I cant say enough good things about my NSAC experience. Serving as a VP, it gave me my first real taste in managing and leading a team, touching all the different aspects of advertising, and getting true real-world experience by pitching to judges (who will basically become your clients). I think it personally helped solidify that advertising was the right choice for me, and that leadership was something that inspired and drove me.
16. How did your experience at ILLINOIS and in the College of Media prepare you for your professional life? For this specific position?
The College of Media provides so many wonderful opportunities to get involved in different fields within communications, you have the freedom to explore what you think is appealing and decide if it could be a potential career path. It’s not uncommon to hear that people didn’t do much with their college degrees, but I found the opposite to be true. A lot of what you do in advertising classes is what you’ll end up doing at an agency, so you don’t feel totally overwhelmed when you get there (which is also a credit to the College staffing educators with experience in the field). I also love that the College requires some hours be taken outside of Media... it enabled me to easily pick up a minor in Sociology, which I was really interested in, and I like to think it’s made me a better marketer and human being.
17. What advice do you have for students interested in this field?
Be curious and passionate. Figure out what interests you, understand what jobs, clients, agencies, etc. are out there that align with those passions and go for it. And never, ever stop learning and wanting to know more. In this industry, hobbies can become careers and diversity in experience and knowledge is really valued - so the more you know will never be a bad thing.
18. What is one thing that you know now that you wish you had known when you started in the field? When you graduated from the College?
The advertising world is small. Make connections while so many networking events and activities are presented to you. Your classes are full of potential future coworkers, clients, or agency partners and you never know if you’ll need them in the future. Also, realize that you’re going to start at the bottom of the totem pole? if you are passionate and want to move forward with your career, you will, but you’ll have to work for it. And that’s often true of any field.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to make bold moves. Your first few years post-graduation is a great time for that, especially if you have to move in with your parents like I did (like pretty much everyone I know did, actually). You’ll get to save money and don’t have a ton of responsibility right away, so take advantage of the unique time in your life and make a controversial choice if you feel strongly about it. I decided to live in Spain for a while, and it’s still one of best experiences I’ve ever had. Mostly personally, but it’s unexpectedly given me some good global perspective for my career too (and maybe that’s how you can pitch it to your parents).