So I figure I should probably just start off by addressing the #1 interview question I’ve received at all of my past interviews for internships or work on campus.
It’s definitely a difficult question to answer. It’s not like this is an industry I was particularly familiar with while I was growing up – none of my family or friends ever worked or displayed any interest in the industry. In fact, I didn’t really even know much about it until a few years ago. Sure, I was always interested in technology and the concept of advertising as a whole, but I never imagined that it would be the field that I would come to be most passionate about.
I came into college without a clue of what I wanted to study, where I wanted to be, or what I wanted to do. By the end of my junior year, I had almost met up to half of the minor requirement in maybe three or four different academic departments. All I knew was that I loved computer science, languages, psychology, writing, art, and math. It wasn’t until I took my first marketing class that I realized that there was an applicable way to combine all of the different subjects that I was passionate about in a meaningful way.
I guess you could then ask, “but what even drew you to those areas in the first place?”
I guess I’ve always been a communicator. I grew up with three older brothers – the youngest of whom is deaf. From day eight, I’d be in the backseat of my mom’s car with Ben while we drove him to school. At first (obviously), I’d just listen. Then I began to repeat, and relay any messages from my mom to my brother. I became a listener – someone who could listen to other people, understand them and their issues, and respond accordingly. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my experiences in marketing both in and out of the classroom, it’s that the ability to listen to consumers and respond with an appropriate campaign is priceless.
As my first marketing professor concluded at the end of our final class:
“The age of Mad Men is over. Marketers don’t sit around throwing ideas at the wall anymore to see what sticks. Marketing is a science – we listen to the consumers and respond to their needs accordingly. That’s how we all benefit in the long run.”