Meet TAI Adjunct Professor Allison Dupuis

Professor Allison Dupuis is teaching ADV 4333 Topics in Digital Media Marketing for the Temerlin Advertising Institute. Professor Dupuis spent several years as a Career Counselor in the Hegi Career Center at SMU. She then transitioned to digital marketing and has built a successful career as a digital content manager at BuzzShift.

What made you want to become a professor?

I actually never thought I would be a professor. My dad has been a professor of Pharmacy at UNC-Chapel Hill for the past 30+ years, so I’ve been exposed to college life and higher education since birth. I love learning, working my interns at work, discussing new avenues of digital advertising, and exploring new sides of digital media, psychology, and technology. Considering the majority of expertise in my field is so new, I didn’t think that my career would take a traditional path towards teaching.

When the opportunity arose to teach digital content marketing at TAI last year, I jumped on it immediately. My sister is also a college professor, so it was nice to have two family members that could advise me on planning a curriculum, creating a grading system, and staying energized all semester long while balancing a full-time job, teaching, and life outside of work. Being a professor was never my plan, but I guess I may just be genetically predisposed to becoming “Professor Dupuis”.

What is your background in the subject you teach?

My background is a combination of traditional studies in sociology, psychology, strategic research and planning, and education plus self-taught experience in social media, graphic design, drawing, and photography.

My current work is all of those fields wrapped into one job as the Director of Content & Creative at BuzzShift. I focus in digital content strategy and help our clients at BuzzShift grow their businesses through online tactics and campaigns. My work analyzes target audience needs and wants to position a product or service as the optimal solution. I work with an amazing team to distribute creative and engaging content through social media channels, websites, emails, and other digital platforms.

A simple example of this work would be helping a company launch a workout app and running Facebook and Instagram ads to increase downloads to tech savvy individuals with a propensity for working out and brand affinities and online behavior connected to brands like LuLuLemon, SoulCycle, Nike, etc.

What has been your favorite memory from teaching for TAI so far?

There was one class where the room temperature was so uncomfortably hot. That day we were focusing on creative brainstorming and leveraging channels features to inspire great content. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to go outside and have a brainstorm in the fresh air. We had a lot of fun that day, explored various prompts and tactics, and my class came up with some amazing ideas on (1) how to celebrate Avocados on Instagram to increase awareness and then (2) creating a campaign that infuses the Starbucks into the wedding planning process to drive email acquisition.

What is your favorite part about being a professor, and what do you hope to get out of being a professor?

I just love learning about my students, getting them out of their comfort zone, and offering them help in whatever they need. We always start class with a fun personal question, have breakout projects, and I make sure we are actively reflecting and questioning everything. I want them to be honest with themselves, each other, and with me, so I do everything I can to get them comfortable with expressing their opinions every time we meet. We learned about new digital channels, brands, methods, and explored the best and worst of advertising together. I hope to always learn from others and have a great time discovering new ideas; and that was definitely the case with my class this fall.

What made you want to go into advertising? How did you get where you are in your career?

I always enjoyed learning about people and art & design. Honestly, I never planned to go into advertising. But looking back, I’ve realized that if you don’t understand human behavior and the art of persuasion, you’re going to have a really difficult time succeeding in business or relationships. And then in advertising and digital marketing, this is when you get to put a twist on that knowledge with art and design.

I was drawn to social media and technology because of the empowering and interesting effects it had on people. Before switching to an agency, I learned everything I know about design and technology from experts and explorers on the internet. Now I learn from my coworkers, industry, and the internet. I believe the most successful people in digital advertising and the people who push boundaries, hack the system, and always fight to individualize their brand messages for niche populations. After they figure out the right messages, they fight to ensure their ads include stand-out motion graphics and design. Why? Because we need them to stop scrolling and swiping and pay attention and fall in love with your brand.

I got where I am today because I said yes to learning, yes to new relationships and projects, yes to failing, and saying no to toxic environments and people.

How did you originally get to working at SMU? Why did you make the switch from working in the Career Center to becoming a professor?

I graduated with a masters degree in strategic planning & higher education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. I wanted to help students find great jobs, and leave college understanding who they are and who they want to be. Prior to my graduate program, I didn’t have a great job. It was 2008, and the economy wasn’t in great shape. I literally couldn’t even get a job at Forever 21. But luckily I was able to become a temp at Carnegie Mellon University and met so many awesome educators and administrators. Because my job would switch every few months, I was able to learn and develop my strengths and avoid roles that exacerbated my weaknesses. I knew if I could do this for myself, I could help other college students do the same before they graduated.

After a few years in higher education, counseling students and leading personal branding workshops on interviewing and LinkedIn, I made the jump to social media marketing for brands and businesses.

Last fall, more than 3 years after leaving SMU, I sat on a nonprofit social media panel for Social Media Dallas. Peter Noble from TAI just happened to be in the audience. I’m candid, a little fiery, and always trying to make a joke and I guess that stood out during the session. Peter approached me and recommended that I send him my resume for a potential teaching opportunity at SMU. I said yes, followed up (just like a typical career counselor would recommend you to do), and then said yes again to the job.

A lot of people might see the career jump as weird or unconventional (and it might be), but it always seemed like the planned happenstance theory in action. Build your skills and strengths and then just say yes.

How have you seen the advertising industry change since you started?

I’ve seen Amazon start to takeover the world and turn into an advertising platform following Facebook. Companies who still spend millions on TV commercials and billboards that have minimal tracking capabilities, yet distrust and fear digital ads (even though it has the proper targeting features, saving them money, and the human connection to our fans that we’ve wanted forever). I’ve witnessed 3rd party delivery systems turn the QSR industry on its head, and the life and death of Vine. It’s been an interesting road, and I can’t wait to see what I get to experiment with at work next.

How do you incorporate aspects from your work into your teaching?

Every class is a different perspective on traditional content marketing and advertising that I deal with at work. I break some classes down by topic (social media, influencers, email drip campaigns, paid media, etc.) or modern day advertising challenges and trends (6 sec ads that still need storytelling, brands & their trolls, or what we can learn about branding from online dating apps and transfer that to advertising).

At my job, we work hard, but we also get to know each other well and are very collaborative. I infuse those values into my class with breakout assignments and projects. Decks and presentations are also crucial to synthesizing complex digital methods and persuading those who control the purse string, so we actively discuss different philosophies on persuasion and positioning in business.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I’ll give you two. (1) I can jumprope on my butt and (2) I’m a quarter Korean with blonde hair and blue eyes.

TAI Student Austin Inglett Works as Assistant Media Buyer for Davis Lenz Media

Austin Inglett in the Davis Lenz Media office.

TAI digital media strategy student Austin Inglett turned his summer internship with Davis Lenz Media into a permanent Assistant Media Buyer position, where he has conducted media buys for various clients including music festivals and political campaigns.

“During [the] spring semester, I honestly just applied everywhere I could for internships that aligned with what I am studying here at SMU, Advertising and Markets & Culture,” Inglett said. “Haley Beth Davis, my boss and also my ‘work mom,’ liked my résumé and cover letter I sent in, and invited me to her office for an interview. The rest is history! Ironically enough, I was hired even before I was formally accepted into the Temerlin Advertising Institute, though I was fortunately formally accepted a couple weeks later in April 2017.”

A typical day for Inglett is almost entirely task-based. With some tasks taking longer than others, Inglett has learned that the reward is worth the time and effort.

“Getting rewarded for your hard work is one of the best feelings you can have,” Inglett said. “During the summer, I was working on a very complex Excel document for one of our clients, Voodoo Music Festival – one in which I had to call numerous stations and continuously update the statistics and information – and it was incredibly exhausting. After spending a ton of time on it and sending it to the client, I was thrilled to hear that Voodoo loved my work, and to celebrate, my boss took me out to get some sushi! It was super satisfying!”

Juggling school and work has also been a challenging yet rewarding experience for Inglett, who has learned the value of time management while trying to balance assignments for both.

Inglett’s office.

“I have had to complete some assignments over a couple weeks in advance so I wouldn’t overload myself during the times where work was busy,” Inglett said. “Keeping a planner or a to-do list is definitely the best way to juggle work and school! Furthermore, in my experience, I feel that the education I am receiving at SMU is excellent; however, more recently, I have found that the true learning comes from the combination of work experience and the classes you take. Gaining a thorough understanding of the operations of agencies, as well as client-side organizations, and getting lots of hands-on experience using the tools you read about in your textbooks is absolutely crucial to setting yourself up for success.”

During his time at Davis Lenz Media, Inglett has learned irreplaceable lessons about working in advertising, and working in the “real world” in general.

“Be friendly and form positive relationships with those you work with,” Inglett said. “This will help you to complete tasks at an even faster rate! To go along with [that], a little bit of trust goes a long way, especially with those whom you work with. Don’t simply double-check your work before you send it to a client – quadruple-check it at the very least! Accuracy is vital in media buying & planning! Cherish the quiet times – life can be rather stressful when everything gets busy. This sounds super generic, but practice does indeed make perfect. Once you get into a rhythm with all the software and tools you need to use, everything gets easier and more refined.”

Inglett at his desk.

All of these experiences have helped solidify Inglett’s desire to work in the advertising industry as well as his love of advertising.

“Since I took my first advertising class, I really felt ‘at home’ with it,” Inglett said. “I, of course, hope to continue working in advertising as a media buyer/planner, or another position I feel I can excel at. Agencies like The Richards Group and Leo Burnett have been tremendous inspirations for me, so I can certainly see myself working at a larger agency. I’ve had a wonderful experience working in the world of advertising so far, so why stop now?”

TAI Student Emma Clayton Shares Experience Running Fashion/Lifestyle Blog

Image from Clayton’s blog “Dash of Serendipity”

Many people aspire to start a blog, but many are unsuccessful when it comes to turning that blog into a profitable outlet. TAI student Emma Clayton has been running her own blog, Dash of Serendipity, for over five years. She has even been able to make a profit off of her blog through affiliate links and sponsors.

In the beginning, Clayton had no intention of starting a blog, but as she gained a large following she decided to start an official blog, which is a combination of fashion, beauty, and just life in general.

“Back in 2012 I created a Tumblr account, just as all my friends were,” Clayton said. “Slowly I started posting photos of my outfits and gained a pretty large following through that. Eventually I realized I wanted to have the opportunity to write more in-depth posts and moved my blog to a platform more suited for blogging. My first Tumblr username was ‘sweetest-serendipityyy,’ after the Lee DeWyze song ‘Sweet Serendipity.’ As my blog was getting bigger I realized that [it] might not be the most professional name, so I came up with ‘Dash of Serendipity.’”

While running a blog sounds like fun and games, there can be many challenges that arise along the way, especially for a student who is also managing school and extracurriculars.

Another image from “Dash of Serendipity”

“This year trying to juggle the work from my classes and everything else I’m involved in on top of my blog has been difficult,” Clayton said. “I am the Director of Communications at SMU Relay for Life and the Vice President of Public Relations in my sorority, which are both positions that demand a lot of my time. I definitely haven’t posted on my blog as frequently as I would have liked to this year, but that serves as motivation to keep trying to become a better time manager and planner.”

Clayton’s interest in fashion and running a blog led her to major in Advertising with a specialization in Digital Media Strategy and minor in Fashion Media and Graphic Design. With this combination, Clayton is learning all the right skills to continue running her blog for a long time.

“One of the reasons I was interested in pursuing the Digital Media track in Advertising was because of my blog,” Clayton said. “After a few years of having my blog I realized that I was organically teaching myself how to advertise in the digital space as I was promoting and sharing my blog content across many platforms. Now, I see myself using and solidifying the ideas and strategies I’m learning in my classes on my blog almost immediately after learning them.”

Some of the strategies Clayton is learning in her Digital Media Strategy courses include SEO and using Google Analytics to boost her blog on the web.

Image from “Dash of Serendipity”

“Most recently, I’ve been able to use a lot of the skills I learned in my Media, Metrics and Measurements class to more fully understand Google Analytics,” Clayton said. “I’ve been using Google Analytics on my blog for a few years, but was very unfamiliar with the information I was generating. Now, I feel like I have a more solid understanding of the platform.”

Clayton’s favorite part about having a blog is having a place to channel her creativity, and she hopes to continue her blog as long as she can.

“There are times where school gets more busy and difficult where I have to put my blog on the back burner,” Clayton said. “I always realize during these times that I feel like I’m lacking something. Having my blog to put all of my creative energy into is really great.”

TAI Student Kelsi Jiang Shares Experience as Research Assistant in Psychology Lab

Research has always been the necessary backbone of many fields, including advertising. However, not everyone has the keen eye and skill required to be a successful researcher. TAI student Kelsi Jiang is a talented researcher in both the advertising and psychology fields.

Jiang is working on research studies within the Psychology department at SMU. She is working with Psychology Professor Michael Chmielewski and PhD student Rui Tang on several personality studies. She has various roles as a research assistant, including entering, managing and analyzing data, recruiting and contacting participants, and administering psychology tests to participants.

Jiang outside the SMU Psychology lab.

“Dr. Chmielewski’s lab focuses on personality studies, which covers psychopathology and normal-range personality with an emphasis on structure and assessment in both domains,” Jiang said. “Our current studies available for SMU Psychology students to participant in are: 1) Understanding personality through your cognitive ability. and 2) How college changes you over time.”

Her advertising classes have helped her to grow in her communication skills, which are very important for working in a research lab.

“As an international student, I used to avoid conversation and communication as much as possible,” Jiang said. “That can be a huge problem in research, and the difference between me and other research assistants who also [administered] tests to participants might become a reason for differences in the data. I would say all the advertising classes helped me develop my confidence in talking to people and polish up my communication skills.”

Jiang’s psychology research training also helped her in her advertising classes and in previous jobs.

My research experience helped a lot in finding information and sorting out what is meaningful to the question of interest,” Jiang said. “I think the biggest benefit is my ability to read patterns from data and summarize key takeaways.”

Jiang’s love for research has taken her down the path to two separate majors; however, advertising and psychology backgrounds can work together very well.

“In many ways psychology and advertising work together,” Jiang said. “I think the most obvious one is in the research area. Marketing research and consumer research is the foundation of creating a successful ad campaign. Being able to read the research data and understand the research process [allows] marketers to better reach their target audience. On another hand, consumer behavior studies actually have a lot overlap with different areas of psychology. Learning those related theories could be very helpful to understand how people think and act.”

Jiang has always had a passion for research, which began from simply planning travel schedules for her friends and family. From that point, her courses at SMU influenced her love for research even further.

“I was obsessed to search information online and figure out how to make the best plan, most efficient, most interesting at the best price,” Jiang said. “When I started to study psychology, I didn’t know much about research. The first time I learned about research was my Research Methods class [for Psychology] where I got to know different types of research and how amazing and clever a lot of studies were designed. I always knew I loved numbers. As the research methods class went into more details, I find data and statistics is also a very important part of research. That also increased my interest and motivated me to take a Statistics minor.”

After graduation Jiang hopes to find a job in the advertising and marketing industry. She wants to specialize in search engine optimization or research, where she can use both her psychology and advertising training.

“Many people think that research is boring, complicated and time consuming,” Jiang said. “However, when you are really into it, you can find a whole different world. Numbers are not just numbers anymore, they tell you more reliable information than your thought and imagination [can].”

TAI Student Paige Brown Will Graduate a Year Early

Many students enter college with no idea what they want to major or have a career in. This can put a lot of students behind when it comes to graduating on time. However, if you’re one of the lucky few who has a good idea of what you want to do then you might even be able to graduate early. TAI student Paige Brown will be graduating this May, an entire year earlier than expected, with an Advertising (Digital Media Strategy) major and a French minor.

Brown came into college undecided on a major. She only knew that she had strengths in English and the humanities, and did not want to pursue math and science.

“I briefly considered being a markets and cultures major,” Brown said. “I also contemplated applying to Cox Business School to study marketing, but decided against it. I did not want to spend money or time on learning a lot of general business prerequisites, such as accounting or economics, and only taking a handful of actual marketing classes. I chose advertising because it is a more specific, creative alternative without all of those excessive prerequisites.”

After deciding on advertising, Brown took the required courses and applied for the advertising program in the Spring semester of her freshman year. Once admitted into the major, TAI’s advertising program is designed to be completed in two years – four consecutive semesters. With good planning and foreword thinking, Brown was able to finish her requirements for graduation in three years.

“I was officially accepted into the school the summer before my sophomore year,” Brown said. “It is only a 2-year long program, so I knew I would be able to complete my major studies by 2017. After double-checking to make sure I could also fit in my French minor, University Honors Program, and general UC requirements I went into my academic advisor’s office and changed my graduation date. For other schools besides TAI, I may have needed to take J-term or summer courses to accomplish everything in time to graduate early but I was able to get everything completed in the fall and spring semesters. This was extremely helpful because I used winter and summer breaks to intern.”

Throughout her years in the advertising program, Brown has had the opportunity to connect closely with fellow advertising students as well as getting to know her professors on a more relatable level than most.

TAI Digital Media Strategy students

“My favorite part about the advertising program was the people,” Brown said. “The faculty members are so inspiring, and care deeply about your future. There were several instances when my professors shared job opportunities with me, set up interviews, wrote recommendation letters, nominated me for scholarships and awards, and encouraged me to apply for Ad Team. Not only did they do this, but they all took the extra step and continually followed up with me to ask how things were going or if they could do anything to help me. The peers in my digital advertising classes also became my friends as we spent hours with each other every day and bonded over group projects. The class sizes were small, you always felt engaged and present, and it was extremely motivating.”

Her advertising courses provided her with a strong skillset to succeed in previous internships, as well as her future endeavors.

“My advertising classes have prepared me by covering real life case studies, terminology, and know-how,” Brown said. “One of my favorite classes was about how to behave and communicate in an agency setting. All of the courses are very practical and can be easily applied to your career if you are going into digital advertising. There were countless times at my internship where someone would introduce an idea or task to me, and I would already be familiar with it because of prior class discussions and projects.”

This past summer and fall semester, Brown interned with digital marketing agency Wpromote, acting as both SEO & Social Intern and Client Success Intern.

Brown (left) and fellow intern Alex Perez in the office.

“My internship experience was incredibly relevant, and made me feel like I am ready to enter into my advertising career this upcoming May,” Brown said. “I was assigned real work, had a number of helpful mentors from various departments, and created and presented a full digital campaign to the VP and other agency leaders. I now have working experience with SEO, social media, paid search, content creation, and client services. I feel confident and well-equipped for my future in digital advertising.”

With internship experience and her advertising degree in hand, Brown is planning on starting a career in the advertising industry post-graduation.

“I’m leaning towards [working at] a full service digital agency because of my degree’s digital specialization and my previous internship and work experience,” Brown said. “Digital is what everyone is using now, and will continue to use for the foreseeable future, and it’s always changing. I love that advertising in the digital space is a valued expertise that challenges you to keep up and continue to learn.”

TAI Digital Media Students Reflect on Industry Guest Speakers

In the past month, TAI Professor Eunjin (Anna) Kim hosted several guest speakers in her Digital Media Strategy 1 course. The speakers included: James Moore, Chief Revenue Officer at Simpli.fi; Paul Buckley, President of D Custom; Mike Wylie, Managing Director Dallas at Wpromote; and Brad B. McCormick, Chief Digital Officer at Moroch. Respectively, the speakers lectured about Programmatic Advertising, Content Marketing, Paid Search & SEO, and Social and Mobile Media Marketing.

TAI Digital Media student Alex Gurasich was very interested by Moore’s lecture on Programmatic Advertising. As a topic discussed often in Digital Media classes, students enjoy seeing the everyday applications.

James Moore speaking about Programmatic Advertising.
James Moore speaking about Programmatic Advertising.

“Programmatic advertising is the process of automatically buying ad space in real time to best suit the consumer,” Gurasich said. “Moore discussed in detail the process of programmatic buying and how the Internet has evolved since its conception. Moore was very energetic and passionate in his teaching, and made the hour-long lecture seem short with the amount of information he managed to talk about. While many of the topics he touched on had been discussed in past classes, he did an excellent job at conveying the sheer vastness of the web, what it can do, and where it is possibly headed. James Moore was a very passionate and intelligent guest lecturer, and it was a great pleasure to get to talk with him.”

When Mike Wylie came to lecture from Wpromote, he also brought along a recent SMU graduate, Jordan Pierson, who works with him. Pierson graduated from Cox School of Business with a BBA in Marketing in 2014. Having an SMU alum come back to speak to current students provides a unique perspective, as students can easily relate to them.

Mike Wylie and Jordan Pearson by the TAI sign.
Mike Wylie and Jordan Pierson by the TAI sign.

“Being able to hear two employees from Wpromote talk about their work in digital marketing was a unique learning experience for our class,” TAI Digital Media student Shelby Pointer said, “teaching us about real-world applications of what we’ve been learning in our advertising classes all semester. It was especially helpful having a recent SMU graduate as one of the speakers, as he was able to answer our questions about finding internships and tell us what kind experience is the most valuable after graduation. It was also very enlightening when Mike explained the more complicated procedures of SEO and Programmatic advertising and how they can be used to create the most effective advertising campaigns possible. We’ve been talking about these methods of digital advertising in our classes and I found it interesting to see them in use in real ad campaigns.”

Professor Kim’s students found McCormick’s lecture on Social and Mobile Media especially thought-provoking, as he explained to the students how difficult it can be to accurately track success in digital advertising.

Brad McCormick lecturing about Search Advertising.
Brad McCormick lecturing about Social Media Marketing.

“McCormick presented relevant and interesting information on digital advertising and how the real world works,” TAI Digital Media student Becca Romero said. “McCormick quoted John Wanamaker [saying], ‘half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.’ He explained that even with all the digital data we have it is impossible to know exactly who to advertise to; however, advertisers can get very close. His main point was that advertising is not only a creative field it is a scientific field as well. McCormick was lively and maintained the classes’ attention throughout the presentation. Altogether McCormick was informational on social media, responsive design and paid, owned and earned digital media.”

TAI Professors from each advertising track, Creative, Digital Media, and Strategic Brand Management, host guest speakers and lecturers in their courses throughout the semester. This provides a different way for students to engage with the material and see the “real-world applications” of what they are learning in the classroom.

TAI Digital Media Strategy Students Dive Into The Changing Landscape of Fast-Casual Dining

With the success of fast-casual restaurants on the rise, fast-food chains have to find new ways to attract customers as they’re losing market share to their fast-casual competitors. Many restaurants are trying to appeal to the popular consumer segment of Millenials, who seem to value overall experience and atmosphere very highly when it comes to dining out.

Fast-food chains, including KFC, Arby’s, and Taco Bell, have started redesigning their restaurants, inside and out, to appeal to consumers. According to Ad Week, a lot of these chains, Arby’s especially, have seen aging customer bases. Redesigning the physical stores, many of which are outdated, is a way for these chains to increase customer satisfaction in their existing customers, while creating interest in consumers who might not be customers yet.

One view of Dickey's Barbecue Pit's new restaurant layout.
One view of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’s new restaurant layout. Photo credit: Franchise Times

“The fast-casual restaurant industry is a market that is still in its growth phase, meaning that there is a lot of room within the market,” TAI Digital Media student Nicholas McCall said. “For the fast food industry, the barriers to entry are almost non-existent due to their already existing supply change. A small change in the food and atmosphere of a fast food restaurant would not be tough to make happen; however, rebranding a company’s [established] brand into a healthy, fast-casual option would be slow to materialize.”

These new and improved store designs have typically followed updates to the stores’ menus, keeping up with changing consumer tastes. The overall idea is for fast-food chains to be able to compete with rising fast-casual restaurants, urging customers to spend more time in the store by providing a better atmosphere and better food options.

“Consumers are busier than ever as well as more focused on their health,” TAI Digital Media student Paige Brown said. “Fast-casual restaurants offer the best options available that provide both of these increasingly influential factors at a reasonable price.”

One view of Dickey's new restaurant layout.
Another view of Dickey’s new restaurant layout. Photo credit: Franchise Times

This semester, TAI’s second year Digital Media Strategy students are working with a class client, Dickey’s Barbecue, in the fast-casual industry in their Digital Media Strategy 3 course. Last year, Dickey’s introduced their newly designed store into the market, with a completely new tone and vibe. Now our students are working to help Dickey’s find innovative ways to bring new consumer segments into their store, mostly through digital efforts.

As we’ve seen, newly designed stores and up-to-date menus are a must-have to be competitive in the market. With fast-casual restaurants continuing to improve, will fast-food chains be able to keep up? Even a newly designed fast-food restaurant might not be enough to beat out the modern feel of a fast-casual restaurant. The stigma surrounding fast food might be hard to overcome for these chains.

TAI Student Joshua Oh Shares Experience Participating in MAIP Internship and Program

This summer, TAI Digital Media Strategy student Joshua Oh participated in the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP). Through this professional development program, a select number of students are chosen every year to participate in summer-long internships across the country, as well as workshops and seminars.

Oh (far right) with a group of MAIP participants.
Oh (far right) with a group of MAIP participants.

“MAIP, in my point of view, is a really great opportunity for multicultural students to enter into the advertising world,” Oh said. “It also gives participants access to advertising internships that are really only accessible to those with direct connections. MAIP is also a great way to meet other people from other campuses around the world and build relationship with them.”

Over the summer, Oh worked at Hill Holiday, an advertising agency in Boston. The Hill Holiday internship was structured around a “pitch project” that all the interns in every department would participate in.

“Each of the interns were assigned to different parts of the agency,” Oh said. “For example, I was assigned to media planning and other interns were in production, new business, account planning, and other positions. For the pitch project, which was the highlight of the internship program, all 33 of the interns were split into four teams and two ‘clients.’ The two teams on each client were awarded a prize. So each intern had the work that was assigned to them by their supervisors, as well as the work for the pitch project.”

Oh (far right) with all the interns from Hill Holiday.
Oh (far right) with all the interns from Hill Holiday.

Although he worked in the media planning department, Oh also got to shadow video producers, something that he is interested in for the future.

“My favorite moment from my internship was when I got to talk to the producers and videographers at my agency,” Oh said. “Even though they assigned me to media planning, I had the opportunity to shadow some of the producers and ask questions during my downtime. It helped give me a better focus of what I wanted to pursue postgrad.”

During his internship, he worked with some pretty big clients and did a lot of hands-on work.

“I was part of the Dunkin’ Donuts team,” Oh said. “I pulled reports, helped budget the months, analyzed invoices, and other media planning duties. I also assisted the Supercuts team with Google AdWords.”

Outside of his internship, Oh also attended workshops and completed assignments that helped him get a better idea of the advertising world.

“MAIP planned small workshops for us, the MAIP interns, that were located in various ad agencies around Boston where we listened to speakers, asked questions, ate food they provided, and participated in activities,” Oh said. “We were also given a coding assignment on Khan Academy that was due by the end of the internship.”

The biggest workshop MAIP interns attend is a seminar in New York at the end of the summer. MAIP interns from all over the country come together for this seminar.

“My favorite memory from the program was the entire week I was in New York,” Oh said. “At the end of the internship, every MAIP participant gets flown to New York and not only do we get to attend seminars and career fairs, but we get a lot of free time to explore the city. New York City is now probably one of my favorite cities after Dallas.”

Throughout the program and internship, Oh learned a lot of valuable lessons that he can use well on into the future.

“I learned that almost everything in life can be negotiated,” Oh said. “Whenever I needed help or needed a fast break, all I had to do was ask. At first I was so surprised about how willing people were to help me out even though we’d never met before. I also learned where to focus my efforts to pursue the career path that I want to pursue and not put time elsewhere.”

Overall, Oh speaks very highly of MAIP and values his time in the program, as its benefits will carry on far after the program’s end.

“Although the internship had its ups and downs, emphasized by the fact that MAIP was in a transition period, the entire program was so beneficial,” Oh said. “I had so much fun, learned a lot about the advertising world, and gained so much global insight. The entire program also became worth it after I attended the MAIP Career Fair in New York. I saw how desperate the agency representatives were to hire people and how interested they were about our experiences.”