TAI Creative Student Riley Frost Interns with Brass Tacks Collective

TAI creative advertising student Riley Frost has been working as an apprentice at Brass Tacks Collective since July. While her experience is considered an internship, it is far from the average agency internship.

“Brass Tacks Collective runs on a paid apprenticeship program,” Frost said. “My day-to-day job is working with a team lead that acts as a guide throughout the creative process for each project. I work with other apprentices in a collaborative rather than competitive manner, and one of these days will be given the responsibility to lead a project.”

Frost in the Brass Tacks Collective office.

Frost was encouraged to apply for the position by TAI creative advertising Professor Willie Baronet, and she has loved her time there since the beginning.

“Our days at Brass Tacks are full of jokes, sing-a-longs, and tons of fun,” Frost said. “We work for several non-profit organizations around the Dallas area, and those heart-warming experiences are some I will never forget. Our team goes into every meeting with confidence and of course a sense of humor. One thing is for sure; boring days at Brass Tacks do not exist.”

Brass Tacks brands themselves as a “teaching agency” that is made up of paid “apprentices” working on local clients. Since starting, Frost has gained valuable skills that she can apply to her future career.

“It has only been about three months since I started working at Brass Tacks, and I have learned so much,” Frost said. “I have learned how to use new programs such as Sketch and Invision, as well as deepened my understanding of the Adobe Programs. Production skills aside, I have learned how the real world of advertising works. Clients can be difficult, but you have to go into each situation poised and patient.”

Frost has also taken the skills she’s learned in her advertising courses and applied them to her work at Brass Tacks.

“Everything I have learned [in my advertising classes] has come into play in some way or another,” Frost said. “The main one though is the importance of having a concept behind any design or campaign.”

Working for such a unique agency has given Frost a perspective on what she wants for her future career in the advertising world.

“It has taught me that I want to work at a small agency rather than a huge machine of a company,” Frost said. “I want to do work for big clients, but also want to give back to the community. Brass Tacks has taught me how to balance both.”

One thing Frost wanted to make sure that everyone knows is that, “Brass Tacks rocks.”

The Temerlin Advertising Institute for Education and Research (TAI) trains students to search for unique solutions in advertising, preparing them for work in advertising agencies, media firms, corporate marketing departments, design studios and more.

TAI Student Laura Walsh Interns with Moroch

Walsh and other Moroch interns.

The summer of 2017 has been filled with many student accomplishments, as we’ve had several students interning at some of the top agencies locally and nationally. TAI Creative Advertising student Laura Walsh spent her summer interning with Moroch Partners at their Dallas office.

“Because Moroch is great at having creatives work on a variety of clients, the entire creative department was basically my team,” Walsh said. “I worked with a specific team depending on the client. There were times that I would concept with the Executive Creative Director and maybe two others for commercials and then there were times where we as a department concepted together. I also worked with other studio and production interns to create content for social posts.”

Walsh supported clients such as Vision Works, Taylor Hooton Foundation, Llano Wines, Teazzer’s Tea, and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. Assisting with the conception and production of several McDonald’s commercials was especially exciting to Walsh.

Walsh covered in McDonald’s french fries for National French Fry Day.

“I learned more than I ever could have imagined,” Walsh said. “Even when there were slow days and I was working on more boring project I still felt like I was learning. I learned more about the creative process in an agency environment, that some clients are awesome and others you want to throw out the 11th floor window. As one of my Creative Directors said “Everything is a teachable moment. Even when you screw up and accidently insult the client’s eating habits during a presentation.”

One of Walsh’s favorite memories from her internship was getting covered in McDonald’s French fries for National French Fry Day. She emphasizes that one of the best things about Moroch was that there was no typical day.

“Some days were filled with kickoff meetings and brainstorm sessions and some days were slower in terms of work than others, but every day was great and something new,” Walsh said. “On any given day you could find me creating logos, ads, website content, branding collateral, content boards, presentation decks etc. I also participated in campaign concepting and brainstorm sessions as well as client photo shoots and video/commercial production.”

Moroch slide
Walsh on the Moroch slide.

A lot of the experience that Walsh has had from class and projects helped her be successful in the internship.

“I think honestly everything I’ve learned came into play at some point or another, especially with my creative core and graphic design classes,” Walsh said. “[The internship] definitely solidified a career in advertising.”

Temerlin Advertising Institute is lucky to be located in a top 5 media market, giving our students easy access to all kinds of agencies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

TAI Student Cheyenne Tilford Interns with DDB Chicago

Cheyenne Tilford posing with Ronald McDonald statue.

Gaining internship experience is an important part of growing your skillset, and something we encourage all students to take part in during their time at SMU. TAI Strategic Brand Management student Cheyenne Tilford spent this past summer interning with DDB Chicago.

“I was the global account management intern working on the McDonald’s account,” Tilford said. “I was tasked with managing the global network; making sure all DDB offices working on McDonald’s across the 42 markets were performing to standards, formulating plans to strengthen global creative excellence, rebranding the famous Hamburger University, as well as working with the other nine interns to generate an integrated marketing campaign to promote a new product.”

Working solely on the McDonald’s account, Tilford had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of that client, even getting to work on a team creating a new campaign for a new McDonald’s product.

“We were assigned an intern project where the other nine interns and I had to develop an entire integrated marketing campaign from start to finish,” Tilford said. “The product we were launching was a new line of burgers. It was super exciting. We got to go to McDonald’s headquarters and even taste the burgers. My favorite part of the campaign process was the research and brief-writing portion. I loved digging for insights using research presented from the client and various social listening tools.”

Tilford and other interns provided with plenty of McDonald’s throughout internship.

Being an intern, you never know what you’re going to be tasked with. Luckily Tilford completed a variety of tasks, giving her valuable experience that she can use throughout her career.

“Each day was different, which made it exciting,” Tilford said. “Some days I would be sending mass emails to the account managers across the 42 markets. Sometimes I would attend meetings with clients. I helped in the rebranding of Hamburger University, drew up plans for how DDB-McDonald’s could achieve creative excellence across all markets, coordinated a global brand planning workshop and much more. Some days I would be writing and researching all day, and other days I would be in meetings and discussions. That is the beauty of advertising; every day brings something new and exciting.”

Along with her direct manager, who was an Account Executive, Tilford worked with several other members of the global team that were at the VP level or higher and worked in international offices. All of these factors made her internship that much more beneficial for the future.

“This internship got me even more excited about going into advertising,” Tilford said. “I refined my skills working on Excel and creating sleek presentations. I also boosted my communications skills, both written and verbal. In addition, I gained more confidence as the internship progressed to voice my opinion. It is a very exciting time for the field with so many changes happening. I find excitement in this, and I can’t wait to see what is in store for me.”

Tilford and other DDB Chicago interns.

Internships are one of many opportunities TAI students have to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. In addition to gaining valuable professional experience, Advertising majors can also earn course credit for an internship. Learn how to become a TAI internship provider here.

TAI Student Wade Burton Shares Freelance Design Experience

Many creative advertising students and professionals alike have a working job as a freelance designer. However, not everyone is able to turn it into a successful job outlet. TAI creative advertising student Wade Burton is currently enjoying success as a freelance designer, while balancing the hefty load of schoolwork that comes with his major.

Wade Burton (’18)

Burton didn’t start designing with the intention to be a freelancer. After downloading Adobe Illustrator and playing around with it, he became inspired to constantly create.

“It was a very natural progression from there,” Burton said. “Friends and friends of friends started seeing this work I did, probably on my Instagram or Snapchat, and started reaching out. When labels need to be used, I prefer designer to graphic designer simply because when these people tap me for work, what I have realized they want more than my computer clicking abilities is the way I think, and that’s easily the most rewarding part of the freelance work I do.”

Through his experience freelancing, Burton has become firm in his viewpoint of creativity and creative work. He prefers to take a less mainstream approach to his work for clients.

“My learning experiences freelancing are also fairly nontraditional as far as I understand the industry,” Burton said. “[TAI] Professor Mendenhall once spoke to 99% of graphic design work being able to create on the computer screen what your client dictates to you, and 1% being you executing your vision. I took this to heart, and told myself from the start that I always wanted to operate exclusively in that one percent – to the occasional chagrin of Prof. Mendenhall’s project grading rubrics. I made the conscious decision that if I ever wanted to get into design full-time, I would only do so upon being recognized for my personal style. I hold respect for graphic designers, and I hold even more respect for those who break the mold, going against the status quo and earning recognition and praise for it.”

Created for the Perot Museum, from Burton’s portfolio.

As part of his time in the advertising program, Burton was able to be a member of SMU’s 2016 NSAC Ad Team. Through the Ad Team experience got a glimpse of what it’s like to work under the guidance of superiors.

“Ad Team taught me how to exercise humility and practice respect for authority,” Burton said. “Working under a boss is a subject that my freelance work never really broached on, because I always maintained total control of the product until the contract’s completion. Additionally, Ad Team taught me how rewarding a project’s journey to completion can be once you see it entirely through. Even in summer internships, that feeling of completion is frequently lacking. In the agency world, it can take months or even longer for something like a TV spot to go from project brief to production to airing. Ad Team provided a complete experience of this lifecycle in a single semester, even if it didn’t end on a nationally displayed television commercial.”

TAI’s Creative Advertising program has taught Burton a lot about the creative world, especially the many different approaches to creativity and how to apply that in the advertising industry.

“Temerlin’s Creative program has shaped the way I think about creativity as a whole,” Burton said. “Lots of people will say that you can’t be taught creativity, which I would agree with to some extent. But you can be better taught how to think creatively. Thanks to Mark [Professor Allen] and Willie [Professor Baronet], I have learned to take in everything as inspiration. Whether it’s inspiration for what not to do, or work that I wish I had come up with, I have learned a greater appreciation for everything artistic because sources of inspiration come from all over. Mark and Willie have also taught me the importance of creating good advertising work. Their constant feedback and willingness to help and see us succeed pushes me to always create the best work possible. These are people who I didn’t really know two years ago, and now would be ashamed of disappointing by doing anything short of excelling in this creative program.”

Created for Southwest Acupuncture, from Burton’s portfolio.

Burton is currently an art direction intern at McCann Humancare, a health subsidiary of McCann New York, where he’s been able to put his creativity to the test.

“It’s a pretty common industry stigma to work in health, or pharma as most people will call it,” Burton said. “So I learned quickly to get over that because worrying about other people’s negative opinions of your job can really slow you down and there’s no time for that, especially when you’re working in NYC. I’ve also come to learn that of the most exciting aspects of working ‘pharma’ is that the extensive restrictions breed creative excellence. The second week that I was here, the McCann Health network swept the floor at Cannes, heading home with 25 Lions. Suffice to say, any lingering fears of having to do mundane work subsided upon receipt of that announcement.”

All of his experiences, both school and work-related, have truly helped shape him as a person and guide him towards having a successful career while leading a healthy lifestyle.

“I believe that all of my experiences speak directly to my strengths of independence and adaptability,” Burton said. “Living in New York City is not easy, especially going into a creative field. Being able to live comfortably on my own and constantly roll with the punches has prepared me for life after graduation. I think independence is something extremely undervalued and under-taught. Having friends and a burgeoning social life is fantastic and undeniably necessary to personal health, but finding your own way in this transition out of college into the workforce doesn’t happen if you exclusively live other people’s lives with them and are afraid to be independent.”

TAI Students Elissa Evanich and Bella Pepin Intern with D Custom

Every semester multiple SMU and TAI students intern with D Magazine, as they have a wide variety of positions available to students and allow them to gain experience during the school year. This semester, two TAI students on the Strategic Brand Management track, Elissa Evanich and Bella Pepin, are both interning with D Custom, a content marketing agency owned by D Magazine.

Evanich (left) and a group of interns at D Custom.

Evanich serves as a Content Marketing Intern, while Pepin is a Social Media Intern. Both work on social media but different aspects of it. Evanich does competitive research and social media analytics, while Pepin primarily produces content for D Custom’s social media platforms. That being said, the average day of an intern is similar regardless of position.

“I come in and check my email first,” Pepin said. “There are always emails about happenings or free stuff from the D Magazine team downstairs, so I look out for those. I write, edit, and schedule out social for the week. I go to all the meetings my manager attends, which is a lot. We have an intern project due at the end of the semester, so we work on that during work hours too.”

As the internship has progressed, Evanich has learned the importance of certain skills to the world of content marketing.

“Content marketing is interesting because it learning how to write as the voice of the brand,” Evanich said. “This internship has given me additional experience in writing and speaking professionally. I think being able to not just sell yourself but also your ideas is very important. ”

Evanich also emphasized the importance of Google certifications in content marketing and encourages anyone interested in the field to pursue the Analytics certification as soon as possible.

Along with specific skills relevant to content marketing, Pepin has learned some broader lessons that apply to all agencies and jobs.

“[I’ve learned that] not every person is right for every job,” Pepin said. “Agency culture and workplace culture are of supreme importance. The industry can change in an instant, but I like knowing that I am learning whatever I can today to be better tomorrow. [I’ve also learned that] I love Dallas more than I thought.”

A unique aspect of working for D Magazine or D Custom is having other TAI students going through the same experience as you. While most interns all have a separate title and purpose, they work together and help each other out during the workday.

“We work together on a lot of stuff,” Pepin said. “It is nice to have a familiar face and someone to talk to if I’m struggling. Sometimes there are ah-ha moments when things that we’ve learned at TAI are applicable to what we are doing, and it’s cool to know that she gets it.”

Sharing the internship experience, Evanich and Pepin have been able to learn and grow together, applying what they’ve learned in their Strategic Brand Management classes as well as learning new skills.

“We both have a similar skill set since we have been in the same classes,” Evanich said. “So if I don’t know how to do something, she doesn’t either. In that way, we both can ask another employee to help us out, and we both learn from the experience.”

Both Evanich and Pepin have enjoyed learning and growing their skill sets at D Custom. As their internships are almost over, Pepin has advice for any students that are looking to apply there in the future.

“If you are planning to apply to D Custom, know the difference between the agency and D Magazine,” Pepin said. “D Custom is completely separate and different from the publication, and you should know why before [you] apply.”

If you are interested in applying for an internship with D Custom or D Magazine and have any questions about the experience, feel free to contact Elissa Evanich (eevanich@smu.edu) or Bella Pepin (ipepin@smu.edu).

TAI Student Eric Sedeno Shares Experience Interning with Photomadic

Many students have a specific idea in their head about what type of company they want to work for. Usually this is a well-known, popular company that students idolize. However, these students often don’t realize that smaller, less well-known companies can provide an equally wonderful, if not even more hands-on experience. TAI student Eric Sedeno is interning this semester as the Jr. Design Intern with Photomadic, a small photo solutions and event marketing company in Dallas.

TAI student Eric Sedeno

Sedeno is an Advertising major on the Creative track with a minor in Graphic Design. He has had a lot of past experience with graphic design, which helped him get the job.

“I actually did not apply to this internship,” Sedeno said. “My boss found my LinkedIn profile and thought that my work was great and sent me an email about their company and what they were about. I visited their office and enjoyed how young and energetic the office was and decided to accept their job offer.”

The atmosphere and culture at the Photomadic office has provided Sedeno with many great memories already.

“One day after work we went to Sandbar [Cantina and Grill] to celebrate [a colleague] Dave’s birthday,” Sedeno said. “We played volleyball and bonded for about 2 hours and it was a great day. The other night we shot a promo video at a brewery in Dallas and everyone had a great time. It was fun to see everyone get even more comfortable and I felt like I was a part of the office crew.”

Many of the skills that Sedeno has learned in his graphic design and creative advertising courses have come in handy during his internship. He has learned many new skills as well.

Sedeno with his boss at Photomadic.

“Although I had a lot of design experience before my class, Intro to Graphic Design has really taught me about how to apply design principles and organize my projects better,” Sedeno said. “It’s really nice to take the design rules I am learning in class and applying then almost directly to what I am doing at my internship. [My internship] has expanded my knowledge of Photoshop tremendously and they have given me time to learn more Adobe programs, which is something I never thought I would have the chance to do.”

After graduation, Sedeno hopes to have a career as an Art Director in the advertising industry. His work experience and school training should help him to achieve this goal.

“My career is going to be as an Art Director in the Advertising industry so having any extra design experience is great,” Sedeno said. “I love being able to expand my knowledge on the programs that I will be using for the rest of my career. I even have my boss as a resource for how I should make my website look and what people in the design side of the world expect things to look like and what matters when they want to hire you.”

Although this was not a typical internship experience, from the application process to the job, Sedeno has had an incredible experience so far.

“I was very skeptical about taking this internship because I had never been approached about working in a place that I had never heard about,” Sedeno said. “But I took a chance, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. I have learned a lot and built some great relationships. I have grown a lot as a designer and I am able to make money while gaining all these experiences. I can’t wait to see what else I gain from the rest of these experiences.”

TAI Graduate Student Lauren Lombardo Interning with Dallas Zoo

All students want to have a unique internship experience that they can brag about and proudly place on their resumes. An internship that sets you apart and is out of the ordinary. This semester, TAI graduate student Lauren Lombardo is doing just that while completing her Executive Internship at the Dallas Zoo.

Lombardo inside the Dallas Zoo.

Lombardo is working one of few indoor jobs at the zoo as the Communications and Marketing Intern. Her job responsibilities include writing editorial content, writing features for the blog, and participating in social media efforts.

“I’ve learned a lot about taking on different voices and writing for different audiences,” Lombardo said. “I create content for a variety of outlets at the Zoo, and each one needs to be tailored specifically for that outlet. I’ve also learned to be a better interviewer. A lot of the content I write is dependent on what I can get out of people, and my supervisors have shown me how to ask more robust questions in order to dig a little deeper.”

While this internship shares similar responsibilities to that of many other marketing internships, Lombardo’s position at the Dallas Zoo offers her unique experience working for a very different type of brand than typically taught in advertising courses.

“A typical day at the Zoo is probably a little different than most of other internships,” Lombardo said. “Usually, I come in to the administration office and check e-mail, respond to inquiries, and catch up with my supervisors as they’ll often assign me special projects to work on. I might write a blog post, which involves calling and interviewing a keeper or possibly going to an event. I usually try to draft an engaging social media post to go along with a blog. Every Zoo employee has a radio, so we’ll often receive radio calls about important events, like an elephant introduction, and head over to watch it during the workday. Other times, there might be a behind the scenes tour for interns that I’ll go to. I like to eat my lunch by the Sumatran Tigers or on Cat Green by the native Texas cats and walk around the Zoo. I usually finish up my day by working on the member newsletter, which means I have to contact the different Zoo departments to get the latest scoop on what they’re doing. Overall, a typical day is full of lots of writing and animals!”

Sumatran Tiger in the Dallas Zoo.

Lombardo’s love for animals and conservation has made her experiences at the Zoo incredibly special for her. Since she gets to spend a lot of time around the Zoo, she has seen several special events and exciting moments.

“My favorite moment from the internship has been attending the Zoo’s Cheetah Encounter,” Lombardo said. “As an intern, I was allowed to watch the Encounter from a VIP viewing area, so I was up close and personal for the whole experience. Winspear, the Zoo’s cheetah, took off running from one end of the exhibit to the other, and it was so amazing to see this athletic animal in action. I could even hear him purr at one point! Winspear also has a canine friend named Amani, who helps keep him calm [because] cheetahs are naturally nervous animals. The keepers took the time to talk with me about cheetah conservation and tell me more about the relationship between Winspear and Amani. Conservation is extremely important to me, especially when it comes to big cats (big cats are my favorite animals), so this was an extremely insightful and fun event. I often attend events like this and write blogs or social media posts about the experience.”

Lombardo got her undergraduate degrees in English and Geography from the University of Texas, and is now getting her Masters in Advertising from SMU. Her internship with Dallas Zoo provides her a perfect opportunity to combine her interests.

“The internship speaks to my two very specific areas of interest – writing and conservation,” Lombardo said. “My [undergraduate] Geography coursework specifically focused on sustainability. I never thought I would find an internship that incorporated these interests so well, but it’s made my time at the Zoo even more special and invaluable in terms of experience.”

In the future Lombardo hopes to work in the field of advertising and marketing as a professional copywriter.

“I would like to work for a either a non-profit or an agency that specializes in non-profit advertising and marketing,” Lombardo said. “My internship at the Zoo has provided me with direct experience in crafting copy for a non-profit and appealing to the members/donors that support the 501(c) community. I would also specifically like to work on campaigns that revolve around conservation and social responsibility, which is a major area of focus in the content I produce for the Zoo.”

TAI Alum Marissa Lopez (’16) Shares How Undergraduate Experiences Influenced Her Career Path

Recent TAI graduate Marissa Lopez (’16) is now working as a Junior Art Director at BBDO in New York. Lopez has quite an impressive resume, participating in both the NSAC Ad Team and AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student (MPMS) program along with a variety of internships during her undergraduate career. Every unique experience that she had in college prepared her for the career she has now.

Marissa Lopez ('16)
Marissa Lopez (’16)

Lopez took advantage of all the internship opportunities she could. She had three advertising internships during her college career, at both large and small advertising agencies and directly for a brand. Working for such different companies allowed Lopez to get an idea of her ideal workplace.

“The summer before my Senior year was when I had my first advertising agency experience,” Lopez said. “I was an art director intern at Dieste, a multicultural advertising agency located in Dallas. I had the opportunity to work on Cricket Wireless, LaLa Yogurt, and AT&T accounts. When I returned to school in the fall I started an internship at Southwest Airlines as a digital marketing and design intern. I took this opportunity because I was interested in seeing the difference between advertising at an agency versus in-house. At Southwest I got to focus on how print translates into the digital sphere and website design. In the Spring of my senior year I worked at a smaller, boutique agency called Willow St. located in Deep Ellum. It was a great experience and I learned so much. The perk of a small agency at an intern level is the one-on-one time you get with industry professionals. During my time at Willow St. I designed packaging, a website and was constantly producing social media content for various brands. I think working at a smaller agency while still in college helped me to really focus in on my graphic design skills.”

All of these internship opportunities taught her some very important lessons that helped prepare her for her job today. While each taught her different skills and lessons, she took away several pieces of advice that can be applied to all internship experiences.

“Some of the most important things my internships taught me were how important work environment/company culture is, time management, and how to successfully handle direction and criticism,” Lopez said. “Once you set foot in the advertising industry you’ll be quick to notice that no one is going to hold your hand. It’s sink or swim, and you have to self-motivate and even fake it till you make it at times. The sooner you can get exposed to that, the better.”

Along with internships, Lopez had the opportunity to be a member of SMU’s NSAC Ad Team. She served as both a creative and a presenter on the team, giving her first hand experience in campaign design and pitching a campaign.

“My experience on the NSAC Ad Team was one of the most rewarding,” Lopez said. “At the end of the day, you have to be able to work with people regardless of what you do or where you’re working. Being able to be a ‘team-player’ is so cliché but it’s the truth. You want people to want to work with you. It’s how you get your hands on the best accounts and work. Ad Team is the closest experience you get to what working on a campaign at a professional level is like, and I’m so lucky to have gotten that exposure. I walked away with so much more confidence as a presenter, and also with a greater understanding of how important it is to put egos aside, be flexible and successfully work with others.”

Once starting her job at BBDO, Lopez quickly learned that while the campaigns she worked on in school have the same elements as campaigns at work, they also differ in many ways.

“In college when you’re working on campaigns for class or Ad Team, you have more creative freedom than you probably ever will again,” Lopez said. “Take advantage of that. The campaigns I’ve worked on at BBDO have a lot in common to Ad Team; there’s a brief, a target, a budget, a team you work with, and some type of deliverables. The biggest difference is the turnaround is not a few months, but instead a week, maybe if you’re lucky two.”

Lopez at MPMS awards.
Lopez at MPMS recognition.

While all of the previous experiences helped her gain skills and lessons for working at an advertising agency, Lopez attributes her current job to AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student program.

“MPMS is what got my foot in the door at BBDO,” Lopez said. “It was an extremely rewarding experience, and I was very honored to be given the award. It was so refreshing to see how diversity plays a role in the industry and how it is becoming such a large part of it. I was very fortunate to meet a BBDO recruiter that saw my potential at the awards program. Exposure and networking is so crucial. Take advantage of every opportunity, contest, award show etc. You never know who you will meet.”

After graduation, Lopez moved to New York to start her internship with BBDO. Soon after, she knew that she wanted to work there full-time, so she worked extremely hard to prove that she deserved the position.

Lopez inside the BBDO office in New York.
Lopez inside the BBDO office in New York.

“The internship was a wonderful experience, and I fell in love with the BBDO company culture and everyone I was working with,” Lopez said. “All of the creatives and the creative work I was surrounded by was extremely inspiring and I knew right away that I wanted to stay past summer and get hired on full-time. I did anything and everything over the course of the summer to prove that I deserved to stay. I worked late hours, weekends, and said ‘yes’ to every opportunity. After 5 months of interning, I was offered a full-time position as a Junior Art Director on the PepsiCo account and have been hard at work ever since.”

Lopez has used the skills she learned in her advertising and graphic design courses at SMU to achieve the success she has today.

“So much of what I learned in my advertising classes at SMU have translated and helped me in my job now,” Lopez said. “Being able to share and talk about your work is probably the most important one. You have to be able to believe in your ideas and get others to as well. At BBDO there are many people your work has to go through before it actually reaches the client, so you’ve got to be able to pitch and talk about it with confidence. All of the Graphic Design and Portfolio classes that required me to present and create presentations to show my work have all helped me so much today.”

Throughout her experiences, Lopez learned the importance of networking and being able to set yourself apart from others. She hopes that her advice can help current students achieve their goals as well.

“Network and meet as many people in the industry as you can,” Lopez said. “Most people are willing to help and share advice. Also, find a strength that sets you apart from others. It doesn’t even have to be a skill; maybe it’s a personality trait. Everyone is talented and creative, but find that passion or trait that’s unique to you and showcase it in your work, portfolio, or resume. People like to see passion. Also, just be nice. Working hard and being kind and genuine will actually get you places!”

TAI Student Mae Murrell Shares Her Internship Experiences

In her last two years at SMU, TAI student Mae Murrell has interned with three different advertising agencies. Through these experiences she has learned the ins and outs of what agency life is like, including culture, work pace, and the responsibilities of different positions.

Currently, Murrell is working at Johnson & Sekin as their account service intern. She is the only intern at the agency right now, so she has gotten to experience working with many different departments.

“When other departments need a helping hand, I’m there to help!” Murrell said. “So far, I’ve created two months’ worth of social calendars for three clients, scheduled and posted posts to all social media platforms, helped in the development of new brand positioning, creating recap decks for the client that include their analytics data, and pitched ideas for client newsletters. Recently, I’ve been dipping my toes in web development and coding.”

Working at a smaller agency, she has gotten to experience the unique culture that comes along with it.

“So far, I have loved the energy of Johnson & Sekin!” Murrell said. “Working in a small agency is so different than a large agency because you get to know everyone on a much deeper level. There may be less people but there certainly is more personality! Everyone in the office is more than just colleagues, they’re friends. From Halloween pranks to happy hours to ‘mystery jelly bean games,’ Johnson & Sekin employees know how to have fun at work.”

All of her internships have helped Murrell realize what facet of advertising she wants to start a career in once she graduates, which is account service.

“Account service did not fall directly into my lap,” Murrell said. “It took some digging to determine that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I started my internship journey in non-profit, moved to project management, and then did media and account service internships simultaneously at Moroch. There I learned that account service was the right place for me. This internship in account service has solidified that I’m on the right career path!”

The slide in Moroch's Dallas office.
The slide in Moroch’s Dallas office.

This past summer, Murrell worked at Moroch Partners here in Dallas. At Moroch she worked as both an account service intern and a media intern, working on clients like Dickies, Wilsonart, McDonald’s and Six Flags.

“At Moroch, I gained a ton of experience about account service,” Murrell said. “I was thrown straight in to working directly with clients and interacting with them regularly. This was the internship that truly taught me the art of how to work in account service. It does not just take organization skills. It’s a mix of every job: creative, technical, analytical and strategic. It’s necessary to have excellent communication and organization but also understand everyone’s role in the agency so that the campaign process can be carried out effectively and efficiently.”

While Moroch helped her discover her passion for account service, Murrell also had an incredible experience interning with Spill Agency in Paris, France. At Spill, she was a project management intern working with clients like Hermes, Chanel, and Memo Paris.

“[Spill] is an agency for luxury brand clients and focused more on the digital side of advertising. I learned how to get work, get it done efficiently, and make myself useful so that my supervisor’s jobs were made easier. In addition, I did the social media for Hermès, which was really fun! I helped with the new website launch of Chanel and Memo which was a lot of work but extremely rewarding.”

Working in a foreign country, Murrell had to adjust to the differences not only of living in a completely different country but also in the workplace. As the only American working at the agency, she easily noticed that the work environment was very different than that of an American agency.

Murrell in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Murrell in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“One of the [biggest] differences was the pace of the agency in France,” Murrell said. “In America, the norm is to be consumed by work and be busy all the time. In France, they are leisurely about their work and put socializing first. I would go in to the office at 10am and be the first one there! That said, some days I would leave at 9pm and my colleagues would still be working away. The hours are, for the most part, shorter and end once they leave the office. There is no working at home or out of the office. Work stays at work.”

While her time in Paris was an irreplaceable experience for Murrell, it was unforgettable in more than one way. Completing her internship during the fall of 2015, Murrell found herself in Paris during the time of devastating terrorist attacks. Although she could have chosen to leave Paris after the attacks, Murrell stayed feeling it was her duty to help during the city’s time of need.

“Being in Paris during the attacks was a terrifying experience,” Murrell said. “Not just in the sense that I was scared for my safety but also in the sense that I was seeing the destruction of terrorism right before my eyes. After the attacks, people were like ghosts that wandered the streets of Paris. Each person’s eyes filled with sorrow, sadness, and most of all emptiness. Paris was no longer upbeat and exploding with love; the people lulled through the streets. Everyone had a broken heart: from the crying strangers on the streets to my coworkers mourning their friends, everyone was hurting. There were ‘what ifs’ running through everyone’s minds, and thoughts of how easily it could have been us. From it all, there were bonds that were being created among the people of Paris. Everyone was mourning and came together as a strong, united city.”

Although not every moment of her time abroad was as she had imagined, Murrell still regards her internship in Paris as her favorite thus far.

“Getting to work in Paris was a dream come true! I have always wanted to spend some time in Paris, and getting some advertising experience under my belt at the same time was the icing on the cake. Who knows, maybe I could end up there again someday!”

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.”