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2013 VPP Feedback

Quotes from 2013 VPP Participating Professors, Host Agencies
Career Services Administrator


Professor Cynthia Meyers, College of Mount Saint Vincent:  “The experience did not differ from my expectations. I hoped to meet a range of people in the advertising industry. I did. I hoped to learn a lot about the current issues in the field. I did. I hoped to learn more about career paths. I did. I hoped to learn more about how digital media is changing the field. I did. So, the experience fully met my expectations and exceeded it because I found that everyone I spoke to one-on-one was welcoming, engaged, and helpful. I was able to ask many questions and learn from very thoughtful responses. I will be bringing a much more direct and concrete understanding of the advertising industry into my classes.”

Doug Alligood, SVP, Director Horizontal Markets:  “Professor Meyers was a perfect fit within BBDO.  She adapted quickly to our style of spontaneity by moving about the agency and meeting with many of the people she was introduced to during her initial tour. In addition, Professor Meyers exhibited an insatiable yet refreshing curiosity about how BBDO gets things done at all levels and within all departments. Professor Meyers is an exceptional individual and possibly the most effective VPP in our experience with the program.”


Professor Christine Kowalczyk, East Carolina University:  “During my visit, I met with employees in a variety of departments (Creative, Strategy, HR, Media Buying, etc.) Most were at the manager level or higher. It was nice to be exposed to the variety of opportunities in advertising.  I will not be teaching advertising until the spring of 2014, so it gives me the opportunity to re-evaluate my course content.  I have worked at a PR agency in the past, so I was familiar with agency life; however, I thought agencies have high turnover. I was expecting the average employment to be five years.  At DDB, many I spoke with had been with the agency for 20+ years.  That was eye-opening.” 

Debbie Broda, Account Director:  “This year’s visiting professor, Christine Kowalczyk, was a pleasure to host. I believe she fit well with DDB as we could offer her experts in areas she was interested in --- celebrities as spokespeople, marketing to kids, account planning, helping her students gain a job in advertising and media. Additionally, I manage an account that gave Christine the opportunity to learn more about our recent celebrity campaign and ask questions.”

Deutsch Inc.

Professor Francine Edwards, Delaware State University:  “Truthfully, my knowledge of the advertising industry was text-book based. I now have a better understanding of the practice, tools, and even some of the myths about how challenging and competitive the industry is.  I’ve revamped a senior-level advertising course to include much of what I took away from the program. I will also utilize more trade publications (many of which I didn’t know about until I arrived at Deutsch) and tools for the courses I teach will incorporate more technology and teaching from the industry, via interviews, podcasts, etc.  I also enjoyed the visit to Google and think that it should be included in the future.

The one thing that truly impressed me was the number of top-level personnel that took time out of their schedules to meet with me.   I’m looking forward to sending students to Deutsch for shadowing opportunities, as well as making sure we have students applying for the summer internship program.” 

Robin H. Lander, Partner, Director of Human Resources:  “Fran was a good fit with the agency. She’s outgoing, energetic, articulate, and enjoys talking about and sharing her experiences both as a professor and in the business world.  My colleagues understand the value of the VPP and made time to sit with Fran and explain what they do. She wasn’t shy about asking questions and in fact, a number of our department heads have volunteered to help her better understand the digital landscape and how technology can be better used by students at Delaware State University.”

Energy BBDO

Professor Kelly Goldsmith, Northwestern University:  “Prior to this program, I really had no idea how advertising agencies are structured internally and/or how the iterative process with the client was managed. I did not know the role that data played in this process and I did not know the key factors that affected the development of a campaign. After the program, I feel like I now have a good idea of how agencies are structured and how the relationship with the client functions. Further, I have deep insights into when and how data is collected and the role that data plays in the development of advertising campaigns. As for how it benefits my research, I’m quite sure I will be able to draw more meaningful marketing and practical implications from my research findings now that I have a better idea of how agencies build their creative and what the inputs are to this process.”

Abby Lorber, Senior Account Executive:  “Kelly lectured on how emotions impact decision-making and this was an extremely relevant topic to many of the brands we work on.    Her lecture drew the largest crowd of any lectures we’ve had this year.  Her lecture was extremely interesting for all of our departments and provided inspiration for how we develop and create ideas.  She provided thoughtful insight and a fresh point-of -view in many of our meetings.  It was interesting for all of us to look at our research and data from an academic viewpoint.  Kelly spent time across all departments, including account management, planning, production and creative. She commented that it was interesting for her to see how many brands and agencies use market research and data to impact what consumers see on a daily basis. 

We had people asking to set up time with Kelly.  Our agency is very interested in her work and we were happy to teach her more about what we do here and figure out what type of training would be most helpful for her work.  We all agree that this was a worthwhile program with Kelly.”

Havas Worldwide

Professor Dayo Abah, Washington and Lee University:  “I was well aware of the radical revolution in the journalism profession brought on by digital media. I was shocked at the ongoing changes within the advertising industry in response to the ascendancy of digital media.  I was surprised that agencies are now much more than writing copy for :15 and :30 spots and media buying, but are now more intricately involved with the clients to varying degrees - from strategy to planning to creative. 

The VPP experience made me realize that my job as a teacher would have to change in preparing students for this dynamic industry.  My journalism students who specialize in story-telling are now welcomed with open arms in the industry. The kind of skills required to work in the industry are no longer limited to creative types but also analytical thinkers and strategists are equally needed.”

Shannon Novak, Director of Human Resources:  “Professor Dayo was a good fit for our agency and we discussed having an intern from her school.  Her Lunchtime Talk on social media and the workplace was quite relevant and everyone loves this program and is eager to participate.”


Professor Patricia Davis, Georgia State University:  “I developed ties with IMAGES USA - a multicultural agency in Atlanta, GA - and expect to maintain these ties for the foreseeable future. The experience has helped my teaching in that I have more data to share with my students, many of whom are interested in advertising careers. Additionally, I now have some first-hand stories to share with all of my students when we discuss issues of race, ethnicity, gender, and the mass media.

I applied to the VPP program primarily to enhance my teaching effectiveness; I did not expect my experience to have much of an impact on my research. Nevertheless, in terms of my research, my experience at IMAGES USA and the VPP more broadly have been extremely helpful: I slightly modified my VPP lecture, From Aunt Jemima to Beyoncé, and presented it as a talk at Jonkoping University in Sweden in September, to great feedback and an offer of further collaboration with the school. Needless to say, I am quite happy about this, and I am now hoping to turn it into a much larger project during the next year or two.  The VPP doesn’t need improvement; I think the program is fine as is.”  

Maria Moffat, VP, Director of Account Services:  “Dr. Davis was a natural fit for the agency, having worked in the Atlanta area and having done research on the African-American population.   She contributed greatly particularly her Lunchtime Talk on portrayals of African-American women in the media – our agency specialized in multicultural communications and African-Americans are often a target of our campaigns.  Her presentation was both relevant and memorable as it related to the perception of African-American women through media and advertising.  The team was very engaged in the discussion running well over the allocated time.   It was an excellent learning experience for us.”


Professor Aronté Bennett, Villanova University:  “My time at JWT was a great balance between actual contribution to the firm and exposure to the field.  I was treated as a member of a small and relatively new team focusing primarily on nonprofit customers.  From my arrival I was invited to meetings. Carly invited me to a meeting where a production team was pitching their skills for the JWT production team, providing insight into that process.  Drew invited me to numerous meetings, with a variety of customers and I was given the opportunity to sit down with heads of production, marketing research, new business.  Before participating in the VPP, I mistakenly assumed that advertising was primarily creative focused. Specifically, I thought it was synonymous with advertisements. After having completed the program, I have a significantly different perspective; I now know that advertising encompasses a vast array of functions; that shops hire not just artists and producers, but finance people, project managers and researchers. This means that far more students than I previously thought are suited for careers in the field.”

Drew Train, Business Director:  “Overall Aronté fit in great with JWT and new practice we are building.  She had a good vibe, got along well with team members, and was able to contribute while having a good time.   While here, Aronté drafted the executive summary of a research report we are preparing to release as part of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness of the value of social change marketing.  She presented the project she was working on related to the expectations of investors for corporate social responsibility.  The project was a great learning experience for Aronté, who was able to own a project, go through the review process and finish an output.  In addition, she was able to attend client strategy and creative calls, client events and internal agency meetings, as a part of the account team. “

Leo Burnett

Professor Dawn Thorndike Pysarchik, Michigan State University:  “Although I had some insight into the team-based work setting of advertising agencies, I had underestimated the degree to which work was conceptualized, planned and implemented in a team environment.
I met with key staff and executives in all of the professional areas within Leo Burnett.   Thus, I received a comprehensive understanding of different functions and the positions.  I was invited to attend Leo Burnett’s brainstorming and strategic planning sessions, some of which were with both staff and clients. 

Due to the multicultural and intercultural work I do, I was able to connect significantly with a unit of Leo Burnett—Lapíz, which focuses on advertising for Hispanic-Americans. Although I have been travelling significantly since finishing the VPP at Leo Burnett, I will be reconnecting with key people from Lapíz to assist with some of the work they do and, in turn, they will assist me with the documentary film project I am working on and provide case studies for my classroom teaching.”

Sara Wallace, Account Director:  “She was a very positive, friendly, open-minded addition to the  team during her fellowship and she fit in perfectly with the agency. She is current, stylish, and up on technology, so she kept up with everything happening around her. We designed an agenda that exposed Dawn to intercultural and global advertising, media strategy, insights and planning, creative development and execution, digital/below the line marketing, consumer research, client service/negotiation, and student career counseling. She met with individuals across business units, functions, and Leo Burnett Groupe agencies, taking advantage of every in-house opportunity during her two-week fellowship. She was an eager student who enjoyed participating, attending “real world” meetings, as well as meeting with agency leadership.”

Ogilvy & Mather Chicago

Professor Yong Jin Park, Howard University:  “The experience was great! The two weeks met or even exceeded my expectations. What surprised me the most was how much I learned from just sitting in meetings as a “fly on the wall” and seeing what people do.  The experience will definitely help me when teaching Brand Management and Advertising and Promotions. It has given me more confidence about my knowledge of how an agency works and I was able to get many great examples for the class. It will also be helpful when students ask for help getting a job in advertising. Thanks for a wonderful experience!”

Piper Ginsburg, Brand Planning Director:  “He was very kind, hardworking and eager to learn. We loved his curiosity and were impressed as he scribbled down answers to all of his questions.  He was able to bring a nice perspective to some of our meeting by drawing on his background in South Korea.   Yes, we gave Professor Park a “mini project” that entailed him preparing a one-pager for one of our clients detailing any new trends in their industry.  We gave him access to research tools and provided him with a collection of one-pagers from the past to inspire and guide him.  Everyone was generous with their time and worked to coordinate schedules and get clients’ permission for Park to sit in on meetings.  Everyone seemed to think the program was worthwhile and we hope he got a lot out of it.”

Ogilvy & Mather New York

Professor Mark Rademacher, Butler University:  “I had the pleasure of being selected for the 2013 VPP program and was placed with Ogilvy & Mather’s New York City office. As a result of my two-week immersion I walked away not only with a better understanding of advertising agency life but a renewed excitement about teaching advertising to my students.  Prior to my placement I felt I had a strong grasp on agency life. The placement reinforced that idea, but added nuances to my understanding that was extremely beneficial.   In particular my placement reinforced just how hectic agency life can be and how professionals are constantly juggling numerous tasks and challenges in the course of their day-to-day duties. Likewise, my placement illustrated that professionals must be effective communicators, constantly thinking strategically about their audience’s needs.”


Professor Dhiraj Murthy, Bowdoin College:  “At R/GA I met with a variety of departments, including R/GA labs, creative data visualization and analytics.  Of note, I participated in a creative brainstorming session. Over the course of several hours, I heard internal pitches of current assignments within the agency and how they were being strategized, worked on, etc.  Director-level staff offered critical feedback to those within R/GA.  It was absolutely fascinating to see this creative process unfurl.  I have taught about it, but it was amazing to see, for example, social media strategy debated and discussed regarding clients.”

Saatchi & Saatchi

Professor Burçak Ertimur, Fairleigh Dickinson University:  “During my VPP experience at the agency, I’ve had one-on-one visits with seventeen individuals across the agency, spanning departments of account management, strategic planning, human resources and public relations.  I’ve also attended a few internal department meetings and briefings, as well as a panel across Publicis companies.  I worked on two-three mini assignments and was asked to bring in research that could potentially aid with developing solutions to a client’s issues. 

Overall, I was impressed by the passion shared by all within the company for the part they play and an understanding of how their efforts impact the agency as a whole, the focus-Keeping the eye on the ball-that is the end work that is executed, as well as the up-beat, positive and collaborative culture and outlook. Throughout this experience, I was exposed to many real case examples that I can incorporate into my classes. I also feel better able to guide my students who are interested in pursuing a career in the industry. In terms of research, the experience sparked different topics that I may pursue in the near future, and hence, I think it was a good catalyst for idea generation that is based within the real marketplace.”

Lynne Collins, Director of Communications:  “Burçak was a great fit with Saatchi.   She was a pleasure to work with and was so receptive to meeting with all of the agency members.  Burçak was so eager to learn about all of our accounts and the work we were producing.  She contributed by writing a post for our agency, Hudson/Houston. She also kindly gave a presentation to the agency on her research and findings regarding consumer generated content. 

Burçak was able to meet with most of our account directors, some members of our production department, our C-level executives about their visions for the agency and several strategic planners, including the strategic planner on one of our major brands.  She was eager to immerse herself in the agency world.  We would love to have Burçak come back and bring her students for an agency visit, or to somehow work with her again in the future.”   

Young & Rubicam

Professor Stuart Levy, George Washington University:  “I met with the global intelligence unit, executives representing account management, creative and strategic planning.  I also interviewed top-level executives representing companies within Y&R Group, including Y&R, VML and Wunderman.  Finally, I sat in on some creative brainstorming sessions, photo and radio shoots, and client presentations.

Given that I don’t specifically teach in advertising, I did not have much in the way of expectations or previous perceptions. I found those working with the Y&R Group to be enthusiastic, smart, and master communicators.  Over and over, I mentioned how important this program has been to developing an understanding of current practices cutting edge concepts in marketing and advertising, and that all faculty would benefit from a similar opportunity to learn from industry. 
I have already integrated takeaways from the VPP into several internet marketing workshops I have given, and plan to do so in my marketing courses during the school year.”

Whitney Goodman, Account Director:  “Stuart Levy was an excellent fit for Y&R. He had a very clear idea of what he wanted to learn while he was here and he challenged me to find the right people for him to meet. He followed up with every person he met and he networked with each of them to find more additional relevant contacts.

While he was here, he was able to meet with HR to learn about our recruiting, and our internship orientation to learn about how we train people.  He also met with folks in planning to learn about how we develop strategic insights and briefs and account management to learn about building client relationships and managing day-to-day functions on both traditional and digital accounts.  He attended internal creative review meetings and a brainstorm session and went to a shoot.

I think his lunchtime lecture was a big success in that it was a topic that everyone in the room could relate to as a consumer. We had a packed room with representation from a variety of accounts and departments. His presentation style was engaging and there was a lot of discussion amongst the group.”

Career Services Administrator

Caroline O’Shea of Brandeis University, Assistant Director, Employer Relations:  “I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for an amazing two days in New York.  I am inspired by what I learned and by those I met through the Visiting Professor Program orientation.  What an impressive group of professors you lined up this year!  They are all so dedicated to their work and students, and were a lot of fun to be with.

I was equally impressed by the passion exhibited by the agency professionals with whom we met. Through each visit, I took away something different; however one theme that remained consistent through each presentation was the pride and commitment each individual has for his/her work and for helping to provide a solution to the clients' problem. I would also like to offer another big thanks you to you, Caitlin, Paula and Janice for coordinating such a diverse and impactful program. I enjoyed every minute of it and look forward to connecting Brandeis students with the terrific agencies I visited and with the incredible opportunities they offer to students.  l look forward to working with you and your team again this year.”



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