Monday, January 22, 2007

School lunch

I spent Saturday afternoon at the University of Chicago's annual Taking the Next Step, a very impressive career event for third-years. I first represented the Advertising/Marketing/PR industry back in 2005, and since last year I had to call in sick, I think I was demoted from panelist to lunch round table panelist this time around. That means that rather than taking questions from an audience of students, I joined a bunch of students and two other alumni at a table in the ballroom.

The third-years, while initially shy and reserved, asked pretty smart questions about our career paths and the pros and cons of our field. But what was most gratifying was that I recognized one of my co-panelists. She was a fiesty student two years ago and now she is working as an account executive at Leo Burnett (although she's marketing discount cigs via direct mail, ick). The account exec and I were able to cover breaking into agency life, while the other panelist reminded the students that not all marketers write headlines and brand plans. He was a trader turned finance grad student who now covers the less glamorous side of marketing: the product, price, packaging piece of it.

Needless to say, nothing like this existed for me when I was a U of C student. I'm all to happy to help the University broaden students professional horizons beyond grad school and consulting.