I briefly mentioned my distance learning trip in another post, but this will serve as my official debriefing.
The trip served as an advertising elective class through the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. My classmates and I spent a week studying up on the big NYC agencies. The second week was spent in New York touring 12 ad agencies, PR firms, and related companies. Finally, we spent our last week working on spec campaigns that were aligned with the business philosophies of our favorite agencies. It has been a really great culmination of the semester. Plus I always like group projects…which is a good thing, as my professor says, “Welcome to advertising. Your life is now a group project.”
The primary goals of the program were:
a) Networking – We connected with 41 young professionals that were more friendly and accommodating than I expected or even hoped. It was incredible to talk to Grady alumni because they get it. They gave advice tailored specifically to the path that I’ve chosen, because they were taking the same classes as me within the past few years. They talked about the challenges of relocating from Athens, GA to New York, a move which I dream of making within the next few years.
b) Experience – It was amazing to see some of the best agencies that exist in the hub of the advertising industry and to talk to industry professionals about what exactly they do. It’s hard, without a trip like this, to understand the difference between account managers, strategists, and creatives – let alone to realize that different advertising agencies actually have completely different brand philosophies and approaches to their work.
Overall, it was exactly what I needed to give me confidence in my decision to study advertising. It’s such a interesting field, and I’m excited to be a part of it.