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Career Stories - Michelle

Assistant Account Executive
J. Walter Thompson

...There will be extremely long days (and nights!) and if you don't truly have the passion, you won't be able to fully learn and grow...

College/University: University of Central Florida
Major: Advertising/Public Relations

Clubs/Extracurricular activities:

"Quotes" - Ad/PR club

Internships: Where? How long? Describe your position…

I am a strong believer in the value of internships. My first internship was the Walt Disney World Resort "College Program" in the spring semester of my freshman year in college. I worked as a Safari driver at Disney's Animal Kingdom. The most important part of this internship is that I attended weekly business and career seminars. My second internship was at a PR firm in Orlando, Bitner.Com. I would execute the normal PR duties, write press releases, assist with special events, etc. That internship taught me a very important lesson. I learned that I didn't want to pursue a career in public relations. My third, and final, internship was with the American Association of Advertising Agencies Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) in the summer of 2002. I worked at Saatchi & Saatchi in New York City. As an intern on Procter and Gamble's Cascade brand, I worked directly with upper management because there was no Assistant Account Executive or Account Executive. I was involved in all agency and client meetings, as well as television shoots. The MAIP program allowed me to network with the "best of the best" in the advertising world. Through intensive seminars, networking and a wonderful internship experience, I really learned how the advertising industry really works (not just what you read in a text book).

Where and how did you begin your job search?

I began my search for a job as soon as I entered college. I researched jobs/internships on my own, mostly through the Internet and later on through networking. I spent hours and hours on the web, there are so many opportunities out there.

How did you get your first interview?

I got my first interview through a referral. Networking works!

Were you familiar with the company, if so how did you prepare?

I was familiar with the agency through the MAIP program because I had attended a seminar there and spoke with an HR representative. Also, I researched the company on the Internet to familiarize myself with their current advertising work and client lists.

How many interviews did you go on before landing your first job?

I went through one day of "rounds", interviewing with several people in the agency all day.

Describe your first position…

I am an Assistant Account Executive at J. Walter Thompson working on the Kimberly-Clark team. I assist my supervisor with making sure various projects are being executed smoothly throughout the agency. I also handle requests from the client.

Any tips you can give to graduating seniors to help them prepare for a job in the industry?

Network! Network! Network! Make some professional business cards of you own and put yourself out there. You must also have a strong passion for this industry. There will be extremely long days (and nights!) and if you don't truly have the passion, you won't be able to fully learn and grow.

Any other bizarre stories or "words of wisdom"...

My words of wisdom: You must be positive person and have a passion for learning all you can about this business. If you haven't had an internship, and it's not too late, get one as soon as possible! One of the key factors in landing my first job was that I was part of an excellent, well-respected internship program. In conclusion, think long and hard about what you want to achieve in the business, start searching as early as possible and try not to get discouraged!



Michelle Newson, aef