Students Learn from Agency Professionals at Chicago Conference

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AAF Mizzou Students Travel to Insight + Interaction Conference in Chicago to Participate in Career-Building Activities

By Jenna Goldenne

Columbia, Mo (Oct. 25, 2016) — Twenty-six students from the Missouri School of Journalism’s American Advertising Federation (AAF) chapter attended an advertising career conference in Chicago Oct. 7 and 8 to connect with and learn from agency professionals.

The Insight + Interaction: Student Advertising Career Conference partnered with the Chicago Portfolio School to host the two-day event. While at the conference, AAF Mizzou students attended breakout sessions, professional workshops and a recruiter expo to explore different career options in advertising. Creative, account planning, account management and digital sessions were available for students to attend, based on their future career interests.

AAF Mizzou 2016 Chicago Trip

AAF Mizzou students participate in the American Advertising Federation’s career conference held Oct. 7 and 8 in Chicago. The program included breakout sessions, professional workshops and a recruiter expo.

Assistant Professor Holly Higginbotham, faculty adviser for AAF Mizzou, accompanied the student group to the Chicago conference. “Many of the students who went on this trip will be graduating this year, so this experience was a great opportunity for them to not only learn more about different aspects of the industry, but also to create some networking connections for their upcoming job search,” she said.

The AAF Mosaic Center and Education Services organizes the student advertising career conference every year; 2016 is the first year the conference was held in Chicago. Kai Jones Weidie, director of the center, said she and her team made the decision to move the conference to Chicago from Washington, D.C., this year because Chicago is a major ad center, and the environment is exciting for students. The AAF Mosaic Center received a Missouri Honor Medal for Distinguished Service in Journalism on Oct. 18 in recognition of its work in developing diverse talent.

“The speakers at the event were impressed with the amount of engagement students provided during the conference,” Weidie said. “They could tell the students were Type A and ready to do businesses.”

From the start of the conference, AAF Mizzou students attended each opening and closing presentation together. When breakout sessions and workshops occurred, they headed in their own direction to listen to presentations that aligned with their advertising interests in creative, account or digital.

“The most valuable part of the conference for me and the rest of the group was the wide variety of talented speakers who shared their experience and knowledge with us,” said Miranda Lee, AAF Mizzou chapter president, who attended the event. “Each speaker brought a unique perspective and provided us with new, insightful trends in advertising.”

Senior Melissa Lavin has an interest in copywriting and enjoyed learning from people who do this work at Chicago agencies.

“I really liked the panel discussion because I got to hear from copywriters and art directors about their experiences,” Lavin said. “Hearing from someone who has been in your shoes always makes you feel better about where you are.”

Speakers from panel discussions, opening and closing presentations and workshops represented a variety of organizations, including: Thinktopia, Forbes Magazine, Leo Burnett, Manifest, The Onion, Ogilvy & Mather, GTB, The Escape Pod, Nielsen, Kantar, fluent360, PACO Collective, Trunk Club, AIGA, Discovery USA, Publicis Health, Chicago Portfolio School, DigitasLBi, Dentsu, mcgarrybowen, Edelman, VSA Partners, FCB and true[X].

Tucker Moore, BJ ’15, is currently studying art direction as a student at the Chicago Portfolio School and was assigned to take photos throughout the conference. He acknowledged the importance of students attending advertising conferences and learning as much as they can about their interest areas in order to find a job they enjoy.

“I decided to come to the portfolio school because I wanted to expand my reach with art direction,” Moore said. “It’s great to learn from people who work at design shops and agencies in Chicago.”

Additional topics covered by speakers at the conference included:

  • branded content
  • becoming successful in advertising
  • importance of the CIO
  • building community around brands
  • working hard in agency life
  • creative process and collaboration
  • analytics
  • consumer insights and trends
  • personal branding
  • interview strategies
  • networking for a career
  • promoting ideas
  • early years in an agency
  • multicultural advertising

The conference ended with an expo for students to speak one-on-one with recruiters and discuss potential internship opportunities. Companies at the expo were Dentsu, fluent 360, GTB, Publicis Health, true[x] and the Chicago Portfolio School. Since representatives from each company presented during the conference, students were able to connect with them and ask further questions about the sessions they attended.

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