Alumna Feature: Amy Cooley ’18

I came to SMU and wanted to be a theater major. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work out. At the beginning of my freshman year, I asked myself, “what can I study that still allows me to be surrounded by unique, creative, and thought-provoking people?” Luckily, I found Advertising which allowed me to think creatively, problem-solve, and exhibit my presentation skills acquired from experience in theater. I also majored in Spanish which helped me learn more about other cultures.  This better positioned me to navigate the world advertising because I can understand and interact with people who speak different languages.

After being accepted into the TAI Strategic Brand Management program, I met with my academic advisor. She told me about Dieste, a multicultural advertising agency in Dallas. After that conversation, my goal was to work for Dieste because it fuses my two majors and celebrates the diversity of every person.

I was hired as a Project Manager at Dieste after I graduated in May. In my opinion, the project manager is one of the most valuable positions to have at an agency. I oversee the strategic process from start to finish and interact with every department that is involved with the project (e.g. creative production, financials, brand leadership). I am now knowledgeable of the departments’ goals so I can empathize with them and better understand their needs. This will help me in the future as I continue to navigate different fields in advertising.

I cannot speak more highly of TAI and the faculty because they prepared me for my first professional role in Advertising. My brand management classes taught me how to think strategically, how to strengthen brands, and how to manage specific daily tasks. My ethics course helped me view the world through different cultural perspectives and understand the ethical responsibility in advertising. And although I was not enrolled in the Creative Advertising program, the Introduction to Creativity course prepared me for the wonderful weirdness that I experience among the creatives on my team. Finally, my two years of experience on Ad Team solidified what I had learned. I exemplified my project management skills as the Team Director and provided prospective employers with a printed plan book, visual and textual proof of my professional skills. I was confident in my interview with Dieste but I believe that the book sealed the deal.

I encourage current TAI students to embrace the department, the faculty, and the programs it offers (like Ad Team *wink*). While actually working in the field leverages your professional experience, TAI gets you there as close as possible. Additionally, I encourage you to embrace your niche. Continue to pursue your passions. Working at Dieste has further emphasized the importance of embracing cultures. Beyond ethnicity and heritage, the unique interests of people become parts of their culture. As advertisers, the better we can understand everyone’s interests, the better we can connect them to the brands we represent.

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