Meet the grads: 8 aspiring ad execs reveal their hopes and fears about working for you

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What makes a 21-year-old want to go into advertising in 2017? Optimism, mostly.

The caps have been thrown. The resumes have been sent out, followed closely by the get-a-job stunts. And the moving boxes have been packed. Yes, that new smell of optimism wafting through your offices can only be explained by a new crop of ad school graduates entering the workforce.

But, what do they look like? Where are they from? Are they all headed to New York and Los Angeles? Answers: Today’s America. All over the globe. Mostly, yes.

We interviewed eight graduating seniors about their hopes, fears and whether their parents think they’re crazy to pursue a career in advertising.

Here are their stories.

Tylynn Linea Burns

School: University of Oregon
Age: 22
Hometown: Los Angeles

Why did you decide to major in advertising?
I always knew I was going to go into communications. Throughout high school and into college, I had such a basic, watered-down understanding of advertising. I thought it was only about making commercials. Ha! Then, going into my spring term of sophomore year, I decided that I wanted to do advertising, but I had no idea what it consisted of.

Do you have a favorite ad? 
A Polish agency called Bardzo did an ad for Allegro called "English." It looked at the journey of a Polish grandpa learning English before meeting his granddaughter for the first time in America.

Do you have a job yet?
Yes, I will be interning at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco.

Have you worked as an intern in the industry? 
Not technically, but I would say being a co-director for Allen Hall Advertising definitely felt like an internship. Allen Hall Ad is a student-run, on-campus advertising agency that works with local clients.

What is your dream job?
My dream job is to have my own agency while being a producer for award shows and overseeing multiple properties in Upper East Side, Manhattan.

What is your biggest fear about entering advertising right now?
My biggest fear is not having my perspective integrated into the work I’m doing.

How do your parents feel about you going into advertising?
My mom honestly still doesn't understand what it is. Haha. She still believes that it’s just making commercials, but she’s super proud of me.

Will you be relocating after graduation? 
I will be moving to San Francisco for my internship, but after that, I’m going to travel for a few months, then probably relocate back to LA, then move to London by January 2019.

How do you believe you will change the advertising industry?
I’m going to change the industry because I’m going to make it accessible to so many creative thinkers and curators—experts on society, culture, the arts, human truths—which are normally people that don’t have advertising degrees.

I have so much more to learn, and whatever I learn, I’m not going to just soak it all in and be comfortable with it. I will critique it, I will reform it, I will enhance it with those around me and the people I look up to. This will never be a dying industry when I’m in it. It will have a million rebirths before I’m through with it, and that’s my goal.


Daniela Valle Chavelas

School: Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
Age: 23
Hometown: Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

Why did you decide to major in advertising?
I’ve always been interested in the visual arts, but I made that decision when I was 13 years old. I loved coming up with concepts and bringing them to life, but they needed to fulfill a purpose, which is why I thought a career in the design/advertising industry made sense.

Do you have a favorite ad? 
I love Corona’s commercial "América Es Grande." It was a response to Trump’s "Make America Great Again" campaign, and it shows how beautiful and diverse America already is.

Do you have a job yet?
I’ve been working for Bay View Printing Co., a small letterpress print shop located in Milwaukee, for almost a year, but I’m going to start a new job in a month or so.

Have you worked as an intern in the industry? 
Not really. My new job would change that though.

What is your dream job?
I’d love to work for a design studio/advertising agency either in Barcelona or Madrid. I’ve been thinking about moving there in a couple of years. I want a job that offers the opportunity to work on multiple and diverse projects at the same time.

What is your biggest fear about entering advertising right now?
Since I don’t actually have any experience in the advertising industry, it’s going to be challenging. But I’m very excited to improve my workflow and see how that affects my creative process. Having said that, I think that my biggest fear is not meeting deadlines.

How do your parents feel about you going into advertising?
They weren’t convinced that I could make a living with a degree in graphic design, but that changed when I got my first design internship two years ago. I also had to explain to them all the possible jobs I could have with a BFA in Communication Design.

Will you be relocating after graduation? 
No, I’m going to live in Milwaukee for at least a few more years, so I can get more experience and improve my portfolio.

How do you believe you will change the advertising industry?
Being part of a minority that has been so publicly attacked by our current president, I want to not only use my talent as a designer but also my voice as an immigrant to change the way people perceive immigrants and what we bring to this country.


Charlotte Duerden

School: Brigham Young University
Age: 21
Hometown: Salt Lake City

Why did you decide to major in advertising?
When I started college, I was dead set on going to medical school. I was already registered for pre-med classes and well on my way to becoming a pediatric surgeon. On the first day of school, I wandered into what we at BYU call the "Adlab," a student-run, professional ad agency. I immediately fell head-over-heels in love with advertising. I went home that night and switched my major and haven't looked back since. My mom is still mourning the loss of "having a doctor in the family."

Do you have a favorite ad? 
I know that saying my favorite ad is a Nike spot is wildly unoriginal, but it's also the truth. I love the Nike "Last" spot that came out in 2015. The copy is amazing, and the music makes me cry. Literally. But to be fair, I cry a lot.

Do you have a job yet?
I just started working as a junior copywriter on 7-Eleven at Deutsch LA!

Have you worked as an intern in the industry?
This is actually my first exposure to a real-life agency outside of BYU. Getting hired straight out of school is amazing, but there is a steep learning curve. Coming from BYU and working in the Adlab, I knew a lot about advertising and felt really prepared, so working at this job is kind of like riding a bike, but the bike is on fire and there's only one wheel. I know how to do it; it's just incredibly difficult.

What is your dream job?
Working as a creative director would be amazing. I would also love to write music for a living or get to taste test sugar cereals. Any one of those would suffice.

What is your biggest fear about entering advertising right now?
My biggest fear coming in was the same fear that I had at school: a blank piece of paper. It's the fear of not being able to come up with the "big idea." Also being poor, I definitely have that fear.

How do your parents feel about you going into advertising?
I've explained it to them a thousand times, but they still have no clue what a copywriter does. I just told them to watch "Mad Men" even though I haven't even seen it yet. It's probably pretty inaccurate, but it might freak my parents out, which could be fun.

Will you be relocating after graduation? 
I've already relocated. LA, baby!

How do you believe you will change the advertising industry?
I desperately want to make the ad industry a more welcome place for women. I want to show that having a woman on your team isn't a liability; it's the ultimate secret weapon.


Tyler Kurek

School: Fashion Institute of Technology
Age: 22
Hometown: New Paltz, N.Y.

Why did you decide to major in advertising?
When I took Tom McManus’ "Intro to Advertising" course sophomore year of college, it was the first time I was challenged to think critically and to truly harness my creativity. And to my surprise, I thrived off of it.

Do you have a favorite ad? If so, what is it?
A series of Harley Davidson print ads done by Ogilvy South Africa. To me, the ads encompass everything that makes me love advertising: telling a story in a concise and creative way that truly engages the viewer.

Do you have a job yet?
No, I have an internship.

How optimistic are you about getting one in the next six months?
I’d say 85 percent optimistic, 15 percent pessimistic.

Have you worked as an intern in the industry? 
Yes, I am currently a design intern at Code & Theory. I have been here since January 2017.

What is your dream job?
To travel the country with an RV, a trailer with a few motorcycles, my dog and a camera.

What is your biggest fear about entering advertising right now?
I am not cut out for the full-time, 9-to-5 work schedule. I don’t want to become a drone.

How do your parents feel about you going into advertising?
Supportive and proud.

Will you be relocating after graduation? 
No, not in the near future. Perhaps later down the road, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

How do you believe you will change the advertising industry?
I won’t. I’ll be the one creative with an old-school attitude who won’t be afraid to tear apart bad work and break balls (attitude courtesy of Tom).


Dohyun "Doh" Lee

School: Fashion Institute of Technology
Age: 27
Hometown: South Korea

When and why did you decide to major in advertising?
I was a film nerd in high school. I spent my whole four years pursuing my dream of becoming a filmmaker. But when I was serving in the South Korean army for two years after high school, I fell in love with photography. And young Doh thought advertising would be the field of study where I can do both photo and video.

Do you have a favorite ad? 
There are so many in my head, but one of my recent favorites is #OPTOUTSIDE for REI by Venables Bell & Partners. I love ads (ideas!) that help not only the business but also the society. I believe that ads can change the world in a positive way and #OPTOUTSIDE definitely did. I would love to work on projects like that.

Do you have a job yet?
I have an awesome summer internship at Anomaly. Can you call that a real job? My excitement is real.

How optimistic are you about getting a job in the next six months?
I am pretty optimistic. The industry is booming! But it all depends on where you want to settle. If you set the bar high, it's not going to be an easy task to get a job you want. In my case, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Have you worked as an intern in the industry? 
This spring, I interned at Ogilvy & Mather in New York. It was an amazing experience. I got a chance to work with geniuses in the industry and learn a lot from them.

What is your dream job?
My dream job is to create an agency where I can make ads like my favorite ad and survive. The last part is the most important part.

What is your biggest fear about entering advertising right now?
I don't know if I am making the right choices at the right moment. Will I become a better creative if I take this opportunity instead of that? Are big agencies always better than small agencies? I will make mistakes along my career, but I want to make the least amount of them since I'm starting a little bit behind. It's uncertainty that scares me.

How do your parents feel about you going into advertising?
My Asian parents will definitely love me more if I become a doctor or lawyer, but sadly that's not the case. Jokes aside, my parents are really happy and proud that I found what I feel passionate about. They have supported me tremendously, and I thank them every day for that.

Will you be relocating after graduation? 
No, I am staying in New York City, where almost everything begins.

How do you believe you will change the advertising industry?
I will change the advertising industry starting by having a positive impact on my coworkers because I believe in good people. And good people make good ads that will change the world in a positive way. (And cracking jokes along the way.)


Alex Studer

School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Age: 22
Hometown: Skokie, Ill.

Why did you decide to major in advertising?
I actually started college wanting to go into medicine, math, science or engineering. I spent three semesters taking those classes until I found the American Advertising Federation at Illinois on my campus.

Joining AAF was a pivotal moment in my college career. It was this organization that made me fall in love with the industry. I became an official advertising major my junior year. (It was my sixth major!) Advertising encompasses many aspects that I value in an industry: fast-paced, constantly changing, collaborative work environment and an abundance of opportunities to make an impact on the world.

Do you have a favorite ad? 
An ad that inspired me to join this industry is "I Do," a campaign for Google's Nexus 5 smartphone that was released in 2013. During the one-minute spot, Google highlighted several people's wedding days. What stood out to me was the diversity; specifically, a gay couple was featured for a few seconds. This was a representation that I had not seen at the time, but since, we've seen monumental social (and legal) change toward the LGBTQ community.

Do you have a job yet?
I'll be starting my career in NYC this summer at Saatchi & Saatchi as an account management intern!

Have you worked as an intern in the industry?
Yes. After my sophomore year, I worked client-side as a marketing intern at HealthSmart International, a corporation in Waukegan, Ill. After my junior year, I interned at Bailey Lauerman, an independent advertising agency in Omaha, Neb. 

What is your dream job?
I definitely want to start my career in advertising to garner skills that will set me up for a promising future career. Down the road, I'd love to work for a tech company like Apple, Facebook or Google.

What is your biggest fear about entering advertising right now?
My biggest fear is that I'll burn myself out. I've heard various stories about the first few years working in advertising, but I'm confident I'll be able to make the most of it!

How do your parents feel about you going into advertising?
When I told my mom, she was stressed out for me. She's been an accountant for over 30 years and values job stability and security—two things advertising is known to not have. However, as I've grown personally and professionally, my mom has been proud of everything I've accomplished and is excited to see where life takes me.

Will you be relocating after graduation? 
Yes, I'll be in NYC for at least the summer. I absolutely love New York. Every time I've visited, it's made such an impact on me. I can't imagine what an entire summer living there will do for me!

How do you believe you will change the advertising industry?
The biggest reason I got into this industry was because of its ability to push boundaries and create social/cultural change. It's a branch of media that has the power to shape the minds and behaviors of consumers. As a bi-racial gay man, I want to create work that promotes inclusivity and acceptance of diversity. I've seen this industry transform the way we, as consumers, view certain topics (e.g. same-sex marriage, bi-racial families, mental health), and I cannot wait to be able to go out and make an impact on the world.


Carolina Trevino

School: University of Texas at Austin
Age: 22
Hometown: Houston

Why did you decide to major in advertising?
When I was 16, I started making posters for my high school's theater program, and I really enjoyed it. So, I thought, "Why don't I just do this for the rest of my life?"

Do you have a favorite ad? 
My favorite ad of all time is the Ad Council's adoption from foster care campaign. I've seen the spots so many times but always laugh and tear up every time. It's a perfect example of how a serious subject can be approached in a funny and heartfelt way.

Do you have a job yet?
Not yet!

How optimistic are you about finding a job in the next six months?
I think I go through waves of optimism and pessimism. Sometimes, I look at my book and resume and think, "Wow, I think I'm pretty good at this. Someone has to eventually hire me, right?" Sometimes, I have moments where I realize how competitive it all is, and how there are always people who are more talented or more connected. I try not to dwell too much on that, and instead focus on the idea that my abilities and determination are bound to help me out eventually.

Have you worked as an intern in the industry? If so, where and when?
I've interned at so many places. I started off in 2015 by interning at a small nonprofit as a graphic design intern and have since interned at companies like LatinWorks, the Ad Council and PulsePoint Group.

What is your dream job?
My pie-in-the-sky dream job is being the person who gets to dream up ads for all of Netflix's shows. That, or being the head of communications for a major nonprofit.

What is your biggest fear about entering advertising right now?
That it's saturated. I'm afraid I'm going have to come up with some gimmick to get HR people to even look at my resume or book, like dressing up as a doughnut delivery man or stalking an HR person's Twitter account.

How do your parents feel about you going into advertising?
They don't really understand what I do, but I think that they're just glad I actually found something I want to do for the foreseeable future.

Will you be relocating after graduation? 
I'm heading back up to NYC to join the Ad Council for another summer internship.

How do you believe you will change the advertising industry?
I hope me being a Mexican woman will help me create ads that are more thoughtful and diverse, and I hope that I'll get to contribute to major programs like AdColor and MAIP and help nurture more people of color who are interested in this industry.


Brooke Vaske

School: Drake University
Age: 22
Hometown: Manchester, Iowa

Why did you decide to major in advertising?
I wanted a major that allowed me to combine creativity with critical thinking to solve problems. I also had a strong interest in graphic design, so pairing that with advertising made a lot of sense.

Do you have a favorite ad? 
My favorite ad is Spotify’s "My House" TV spot. I thought that it was clever and political, but not over the top.

Do you have a job yet?
Yes. I am working as the regional marketing and communications coordinator for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach; however, I would like to do agency work again in the future.

Have you worked as an intern in the industry?
My senior year, I worked as a copywriting intern for Meyocks. I really enjoyed that experience, but copywriting wasn’t what I wanted to do.

What is your dream job?
I would love to work in the music industry. Before discovering advertising, I wanted to design album artwork. I think something like working for Spotify in marketing or finding an agency that does a lot of music industry work would be my dream job.

What is your biggest fear about entering advertising right now?
The critics. I feel like more and more people get upset about various advertisements every day, and I’m always left wondering how they took the ad the wrong way. It’s scary trying to create something memorable and out-of-the-box without making anyone upset.

How do your parents feel about you going into advertising?
I don’t know if they really had a feeling. I know they were worried I was leaning towards just graphic design, but I think adding advertising helped my case. They know I have a good work ethic, so I think they trusted my decision.

Will you be relocating after graduation? 
No. I think Des Moines will be a great place for my transition to adulthood; however, I do have plans to relocate within the next five years.

How do you believe you will change the advertising industry?
So often, I feel like advertising gets a bad rep for selling products that might not benefit people in the long run. I want to do good with my work. Even if the product I’m selling might not be ideal, I could create a campaign that brings people together or maybe brings joy to someone's day. Those are the things that I am striving for moving forward.