Columbia, Mo. (Feb. 8, 2008) — Brandon C. Byrd, a Missouri School of Journalism senior majoring in strategic communication, is one of 50 students in the nation selected by the American Advertising Federation to join the Most Promising Minority Students Program (MPMS).
The prestigious award allowed him to travel to New York City with fellow students from Feb. 5-7 to meet with representatives from successful advertising agencies and media companies at the New York Athletic Club.
While at the School, Byrd has excelled in areas beyond advertising. He is the president of the Alé Student Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists and has served on the executive board for the past three years.
Regarded as a model student by Cynthia Frisby, associate professor of strategic communication, Byrd also has served as a co-chair of MU’s minority student recruitment team and United Ambassadors, in addition to being a senior staff writer for The Maneater, the campus student newspaper. In 2007, he received the Dr. Marian Oldham Award from MU’s chapter of Target H.O.P.E., an organization for minority students promoting the values of healing, opportunity, pride and empowerment. Byrd has made the Dean’s List every semester.
“Brandon is one of those students who will not only apply what he has learned in the classroom but also will take away an opportunity to expand his communication, problem-solving and management skills,” Frisby said. “He works hard and is very dedicated to one personal goal: achieving success.”
Tanya Heath, BJ ’91, the diversity chair of the Mid-Missouri Advertising Federation, nominated Byrd for MPMS. In her nomination, she wrote about Byrd’s excellence as a student and a citizen.
“Upon meeting Brandon, one of the things people notice about him is that he is a man who is very mature for his age, a man of vision and compassion and understanding,” Heath said. “He sees what the world can be for all of us and how the right message can raise the respect for the product of service as well as for the consumer purchasing it.”
While in New York, Byrd became familiar with how larger advertising companies execute their work, and he participated in workshops to better his skills. MPMS, known to value a diverse work force in American advertising, introduced Byrd to recruiters of major agencies and media companies.
Byrd has gained hands-on strategic communication experience through his coursework and internships, including one at Campbell-Ewald in Detroit. While there, he worked in the publishing department on the Chevrolet account, and he also invested time in their new business department. Byrd landed the internship through the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ Multicultural Advertising Intern Program.
Currently, Byrd is working as a media planner for MOJO Ad, the School’s student-staffed strategic communication agency where students work on real-world accounts. When he graduates in May, he hopes to work in account services or account planning for a full-service agency.
“As a young professional just starting out, I’m still hungry for real-world experience, so I’m looking to deepen my understanding of the industry and develop my skills as an advertising professional,” he said.
“I’m also passionate about the accurate portrayal of ethnic minorities in advertising and other media, so I’d like to have opportunities within my career to work on multicultural marketing and advertising efforts.”
Updated: April 22, 2020