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Communications students enjoy 'whirlwind' networking trip in New York City

School of Communications seniors Marisa Moody and Erin Turner traveled to the Big Apple in February to participate in the American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students Program, the advertising industry’s premier multicultural recruiting initiative.

As part of the American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students Program, strategic communications majors Erin Turner '15 (left) and Marisa Moody ’15 visited the offices of Wieden+Kennedy, an advertising agency that has worked extensively with brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola and ESPN. Photos courtesy of Turner and Moody

​While visiting several of New York City’s most notable strategic communications firms last month, Elon University student Marisa Moody ’15 received a pitch she didn’t expect.

As she toured the facilities of Wieden+Kennedy, DigitasLBi, Deutsch and other renowned advertising agencies, Moody wasn’t shocked to hear recruiters speak enthusiastically about their respective organizations. Rather it was the representatives’ curiosity in her that caught the student off guard. “What surprised me most was the recruiters' genuine interest in guiding, mentoring and helping us navigate the next stage of our professional lives," she said.

Accompanied by fellow strategic communications major Erin Turner '15 and 48 other undergraduates from around the country, Moody was in the Big Apple as a member of the American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students (MPMS) Program. The federation proudly presents the program as the advertising industry’s premier multicultural recruiting initiative.

During the four-day, expenses-paid trip, held Feb. 1-4, MPMS participants interviewed with industry professionals, were recruited by the nation’s top strategic communications firms, and networked with one another. From Sunday through Wednesday, the student contingent was on the move. In addition to their industry immersion visits to top agencies, the students participated in a recruiter expo and attended speed-networking sessions.

“It was truly a whirlwind of a week,” Moody said. Turner called the pace “draining, but an exciting.”

The classmates, Elon’s first-ever MPMS participants, received the distinction based on their strong academic records and accomplishments through professional experiences with internships and on-campus organizations.

Moody, who interned at BBDO-NY in summer 2014, is the Elon AAF Club president and creative director of Live Oak Communications, Elon’s student-run strategic communications agency. She was mentored and nominated by Daniel M. Haygood, Elon AAF adviser and associate professor.

Turner, nominated by Live Oak Communications faculty director Hal Vincent, is a senior account executive at Live Oak, a diversity ambassador for the university’s office of admissions, and student event coordinator for Elon’s African and African American Studies Department.

​Just 50 students were selected for this year’s MPMS initiative, which celebrated its 19th year. Among the schools represented were Florida State University, Louisiana State University, Pennsylvania State University, Syracuse University, University of Florida, University of Illinois, University of Missouri-Columbia, University of Oregon, University of South Carolina, and University of Texas at Austin, among others.

Elon was one of only a handful of universities to have multiple winners, a credit to our students’ long list of accomplishments, Vincent explained.

“It’s certainly validation for their achievements and hard work through their academic career, not just in the classroom, but also outside the classroom,” he said. “This distinction recognizes leadership, and recognizes that extracurricular aptitude and desire to enter the business of advertising. It positions these students in particular in a very elite group of people who are very likely to be the leaders and influencers in our industry for many, many years to come.”

Vincent noted that the MPMS program booklet is often used as a de facto recruiting guide for the nation’s top advertising agencies. “This honor can really jumpstart their careers,” the professor added. “It really is the fast track; they have been designated as a real influencer. For me personally, it is just a pleasure to see students who have worked so hard now to get over the hardest step after graduation, which is that first real industry job. It’s that classic line, ‘the hardest job you will ever get will be your first one.’”

In addition to the trip’s networking exposure, Turner appreciated the chance to interact with other students on a similar career trajectory. “It was amazing to have an opportunity to get my name out there, especially as a senior, but it was not just about building job connections,” she said. “We also had the chance to build real relationships with people.”

Moody felt an instant camaraderie with her fellow MPMS participants, a significant takeaway for the senior. “I am so thankful to the American Advertising Foundation for connecting me with 49 incredibly talented advertising students who are determined to positively influence culture and bring out the best in brands,” she said.

For Turner, meeting with the agency representatives and her fellow students validated her decision to work in the advertising industry in the first place. She added she’d recommend the program to any student interested in communications, especially those drawn to advertising, public relations and copywriting.

Tommy Kopetskie,
3/5/2015 8:30 AM