Industry Experience Every Advertising Major Needs

GVSU AD Club would like to congratulate the University of Virginia on winning the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) 2016 National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) for client Snapple. With the announcement of the winners, the GVSU Advertising Club wanted to revisit why you should seriously consider being a part of the team.

nsac logo.jpg

So, what exactly is NSAC?

Nearly 45 years ago, AAF started the NSAC because they felt that “there is no better way to learn about the advertising campaign process than by actually developing a campaign for a real client.” Today,  over 2,000 students from 150 colleges across the United States participate in this one of a kind experience each year.

Within these university NSAC teams, a group of students is tasked with creating a campaign for a corporate client. This client will give each team a case study that includes their ultimate goal and some background of their company. College teams will then start operating like a small advertising agency, divided into groups such as creative, research, and media, to begin tackling the client’s needs.  At the end of the year, these teams will have the opportunity to present their campaigns at their university’s district.

The AAF separated those approximately 150 colleges into 15 districts, where the winners of each would advance to the semi-finals. From there, out of the 15 teams left, 8 teams would advance to the finals which are held at the AAF ADmerica National Convention. At every level, there are judges that will choose what teams advance. These judges are comprised of professionals in the advertising, marketing, and communications industries. At Nationals, representatives from the corporate client will join the judges to make the final decision on who wins the competition.  

aaf districts

GVSU, being part of District 6 made up of teams from Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, is a “Mega-District” due to the high number of teams that compete between these states. Over the last few years, GVSU has consistently placed in the top 3, competing alongside schools like Michigan State, WMU, CMU, Ferris, Purdue, and Notre Dame.

Three GV NSAC 2015-2016 members Erik Wang, Jessica Krysinska, and Michelle Marinos answered a few questions regarding their experience:

gvsu 2015-2016 nsac team
GVL / Courtesy – Robin Spring National Student Advertising Competition Team (NSAC)

How can NSAC prepare you for the real world?

“The class was run much like a real advertising firm would be; with different teams such as creative, IP, research, and media. The whole team works together to create a campaign for the client that they believe will be most effective in accomplishing and reaching its goals.” – Erik

NSAC will give you the opportunity to develop and apply what you learned in classes, gain and practice leadership skills, and will challenge you to think outside the box. You have teammates depending on you and you can’t deliver crap, that’s the real world.” – Jessica

Has NSAC helped you land a job or internship?

“Putting my role as a Media Director for NSAC last year and listing those roles and responsibilities on my resume helped a lot. When I interviewed for a media position, I can quote one hiring manager who told me, “You really have a leg up on most of your peers with that experience.’”- Jessica

“Absolutely! In interviews, I’d ramble on about NSAC. It has taught me the importance of collaboration, patience, time management and not being afraid to share ideas, all of which are skills that made me stand out in job interviews. Thanks to my NSAC experience, I was able to land my first “big girl” job in the industry!” – Michelle

nsac admerica nationals

Why do you think people should apply to be a part of NSAC?

“It’s an amazing experience. You get to work on a real campaign, and you make a lot of great friends. It’s about as close to working in a real agency as you can get while also being in a classroom. The experience I gained was priceless. The competition itself is just icing on the cake; the real value of NSAC is the time you spend in the classroom, in meetings and in the work you create. You get what you put in.” – Erik

“I think it is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences. It’s so cool to see how the whole campaign comes together after a year of hard work and commitment. It provided me with hands-on experiences and opportunities in the industry.” – Michelle

If you’re ready to experience the real world, which is full of blood, sweat and tears, then you should take a hard look at the amazing work the of the Grand Valley NSAC team. Experience client work from start to finish and get your feet wet before getting your degree in hand.
***The 2016-17 team has been chosen, but if you are at all interested in joining the following year then feel free to contact Robin Spring at for more information

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