From the Classroom to an Agency

By Hailey Kilbarger

As students, we often wonder how the things we are learning in class are going to help us once we enter the actual workforce. Sure we study “real-world” examples and create campaigns for real products, but when it comes to actually working full-time, there seems to be an ominous fog between the transition from the classroom to the workplace.

Last semester, I was very fortunate when AUX, an advertising agency in town, decided to bring me onto their team as a project management intern. Naturally, I was nervous. And although I had taken most of the required classes in my major, I still had no idea what to expect or what I would be doing on a daily basis. To my surprise, the classes I had taken and were currently taking prepared me in more ways than I ever could have imagined.

Concepts of Communication (COM 101)

COM 101 prepared me for public speaking and taught me how to communicate my ideas to other people clearly. It also helped me understand how different types of people communicate in diverse ways. This is very helpful in an agency when you have to explain your creative ideas to someone else, or when you have to work with and present to different clients.

Introductory Applied Statistics (STA 215)

In STA 215, we worked a lot with spreadsheets and predicting numbers. As a project management intern, this has proven to be very helpful. I spend a lot of time in excel creating timelines and organizing budgets and inventory.

Technology in PR & Advertising (CAP 105)

CAP 105 introduced me to the email marketing software MailChimp and I have used it ever since. Even in this internship, I am able to utilize my familiarity with this program to create the internal company newsletter each week.

Fundamentals of Advertising (CAP 210)

In CAP 210, we learned the basics of how an ad agency operates and what all the parts of a campaign entail. We also were exposed to creative briefs and how to write our own. This is very helpful in my internship because I had a basic grasp of them and the vocabulary needed before starting.

Advertising Management & Cases (CAP 310)

In CAP 310, we analyzed a lot of different ads and evaluated them based on color, copy, imagery, and all other aspects that made them either successful or unsuccessful. This class really helped shape the way I look at ads. I am able to utilize this skill during my internship whenever the office votes on ideas or when we do group creative reviews.

Creative Writing (WRT 219)

I took WRT 219 last semester and it definitely taught me how to be a better editor of other people’s writing. This helps me at the agency because I do a lot of proofreading of briefs and proposals.

Ethics in Professional Life (PHI 325)

I also took PHI 325 last semester and it was all about ethics in the professional world. This made me a lot more conscious about how AUX was run and got me thinking about what I believe is ethical and unethical in a workplace.

Start applying your skills 

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I knew all of these classes were preparing me for a job in the field, but I had a hard time seeing the bigger picture of how they all fit together. That was until I actually started applying them. I will always be learning on the job, but I will never know when the knowledge I’ve gained in the classroom will come in handy. 

My best advice is to get as many internships as you can so that you can start applying the skills you’ve learned in the classroom sooner. 

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