Johns Hopkins can be an overwhelming place. You try to balance schoolwork with your job with your clubs and your sorority or fraternity. Suddenly you find yourself in your junior year and all of your friends are talking about all of the great things that they are planning to do after they graduate. If you’re anything like me, you have zero idea about what you want to do with your life, and you are insanely jealous of all of your friends who have it all figured out.
But fear no more friends, I’ve found the solution. If you want to start to get a handle on your future, the best thing that you can do is to sign up for the Media and Public Relations in The Big Apple over next intersession. It doesn’t even matter what year you are. This past intersession we had sophomores, juniors, seniors, and even a recent grad or two. Your level of experience doesn’t matter either. While most people in the class had at least taken Principles of Marketing (which is a great class and I recommend it to everyone), there were some that hadn’t and it was absolutely fine!
The class takes up two weeks of intersession and is 1 credit. During the first week, the professor, Leslie Kendrick, invites professionals from the Baltimore area to come and speak to the class. We had speakers from local marketing firms, television, radio, Baltimore Magazine, AOL, and Bloomberg Government. Even though I wasn’t interested in all of the companies represented, it was still really enlightening to learn about industries that I had no previous knowledge of. If I’ve learned anything from my years of trying to “find myself” and “discover what I want to be”, it’s that the majority of jobs that exist in the world are not ones that you have ever heard of before. As a History major, I never would have learned anything about marketing if I hadn’t gone on this trip and taken Principles.
In the Big Apple visiting big media, PR, and advertising firms with Professor Kendrick
The second week of class is the trip to New York. In three days, we packed in visits to eight places of business, plus an alumni panel. It was exhausting but 100% worth it. The networking that I did in New York has already landed interviews with two of the companies.
On Tuesday morning we woke up at 6 AM and dragged ourselves out of bed to put on business attire and schlepped our way to the coach bus waiting for us outside of Mason Hall. From there it was about a 4 hour drive to New York. Our first stop was Fortune Magazine, home of the Fortune 500 list where we spoke to an investigative journalist who told us stories about uncovering the sex scandals of billionaires. Next we went to Bloomberg, where unfortunately we were not greeted by our most famous alumni. An interesting aspect of Bloomberg is that there are no offices. No matter whether you are the new guy or the boss, everyone sits at a cubicle. It’s definitely an environment that would take some getting used to. Our last stop for the day was at Ruder Finn, a PR firm, where we were given a presentation on Citi, one of their clients, by Ally Burton, class of 2010.
Wednesday was the longest day of the trip. We started out at AMC Networks where we played trivia with alum David Epstein, and learned about the strategies behind TV advertising. Next, we visited Grey Worldwide, the advertising agency behind the famous E*Trade baby, where we were given a hilarious presentation by a creative team and got to speak with alum Melody Nath. After Grey, we headed over to Sesame Workshop where we were greeted by chalk drawings of all of our favorite sesame characters and by a panel of employees who told us all about what goes on behind the scenes, beyond the show itself. That evening we had an alumni panel where we had the opportunity to network with alums working in TV, newspapers, PR, skin care, and online.
Thursday, our last day, we visited Landor and Burson Marsteller, two companies in the same building on Park Avenue. Landor is the branding agency that helped create the Old Spice campaign, and Burson Marsteller is another PR firm. At Landor, I was one of the last students left in the office when the chief marketing officer, Hayes Roth, decided to give us tour of the whole office. Sometimes it pays to linger!
The amazing thing about this class is that everyone we met, both in Baltimore and New York was so eager to help us, and in a world like ours where networking is everything, this is HUGE. Another terrific yet unexpected takeaway from the class was the reassurance that we got from virtually every single person who spoke to us, telling us not to worry about getting the perfect job out of college. One woman said she had 6 different jobs before she found the right one. This knowledge took a lot of pressure off of us, especially the seniors, who were the most anxious of the group (understandably).
So rather than wasting your time getting drunk next intersession, sign up for the Big Apple Trip and help build your future!
– Carter Banker