As a senior, I am at the stressful point in my time at the university where I need to consider potential career paths. Over fall break, I traveled to Chicago with the Career Center for an Advertising/PR Immersion. On this trip, our group toured two awesome companies, gyro and Walker Sands, to learn the ins and outs of the industry.  

The first company we visited was gyro, an advertising agency that focuses on business to business promotion. Immediately upon entering, I could tell that the company focused on creativity; the interior design was modern and the walls showcased their past print advertisements. We toured the office and listened to presentations from the Public Relations, Account Management, and Creative departments. Hearing from people in several of the main departments allowed me to get a grasp of how different areas in the company worked together to help clients reach target markets. Having no prior experience in the Advertising industry, delving into the responsibilities of each department allowed me to better understand the agency and other agencies like it.

After visiting gyro, we headed to Walker Sands, a PR agency that also focuses on business to business relations. Here, we listened to a short presentation on the company and its great culture, which was evident as soon as we walked in. The cubicle-free, vibrant workspace allowed for easy collaboration amongst employees. After the overview, we rotated through stations set up throughout the office where we met many different Michigan alumni and learned different aspects of a job at Walker Sands. At the stations, we learned how to write a press release, how to create pitch emails for media outlets, and even did a practice Skype interview with a “client,” played by a Walker Sands employee in Colorado. We really got to see what a day in the life of working at Walker Sands was like. I noticed that the PR industry is very fast-paced and employees often juggle many different clients at once. Staying on top of news and building relationships between clients and media outlets were also very important to the success of the company.

As I was touring the companies, I considered how my time as a Communication Studies student at U-M has prepared me to start my career. The first thing I noticed was that any job in this industry requires excellent writing skills. From writing advertisement copy to designing marketing strategies to formulating email correspondence, writing is one of the most important skills that each employee I spoke with had to have. Luckily, my Comm Studies classes have prepared me to take on multiple writing projects simultaneously and turn out results quickly! I also learned how important networking is in the industry. The Advertising/PR world in Chicago is small and most employees have connections in many different companies, so I was grateful that I was able to make connections with Michigan alumni in two different agencies.  

Though I’m still not completely sure where I will end up after graduation, this Immersion was a great way for me to explore my interests in an industry that I was not familiar with. I would highly recommend going on an Immersion to other students as a fantastic way to explore potential career paths. Thank you to the Career Center for making this possible!

For more information about Career Center Immersions, visit their website.