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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Hiatt hosts ‘Communications Careers Forum’

Published: February 11, 2011
Section: Front Page

Panel discussion: Yong Sung, the associate director of media for Ogilvy & Manther, advises students on advertising career path and the importance of interning.
PHOTO BY Alan Tran/The Hoot

Hiatt Career Center hosted its inaugural Communications Careers Forum and Networking Night Wednesday, to give students from local colleges and universities an opportunity to network with more than 25 employers.

Chaired by Caroline O’Shea, assistant director of employer relations at Hiatt, the speed-networking night was created to bring together employers and recruiters from agencies and companies within different fields in order to create a more intimate environment than a career fair. “We don’t have a marketing major at Brandeis,” O’Shea said, “so we started to bring employers to campus for brown bag lunch seminars, and this was a wonderful opportunity to bring employers together from all fields.”

Many of the employers were Brandeis alumni and many, if not all, had hired Brandeis students previously, O’Shea said.

The evening began with a panel discussion of representatives Cone, Eloqua, Reebok and Ogilvy & Manther. Panelists took turns answering career-oriented questions regarding how and where to get started, and addressing students’ concerns about the financial market, by calling it “competitive” rather than “negative.”

“Never ask how do I know where to start,” Yong Sung, the associate director of media for Ogilvy & Manther, said, “Make sure to be one-up on everyone all the time, and treat any internship as if it is a three-to-six month interview.”

Regarding the benefits of internship experience, “any internship is a good way to get a foot in the door,” Reebok Head of Brand Strategy Amie Turill Owens said.

Each panelist agreed that for a marketing career it is important to begin working for an agency rather than for an in-house company. “Pick an agency job,” the vice president of brand marketing group Cone, Marc Berliner, said “and don’t look back. Agency experience is fantastic, and allows you to work on different pieces of business and learn, though you can learn a ton on the product side too.”

Following the panel discussion was round-table networking with professionals, made up of four 15-minute sessions in which students spoke with different representatives in small groups. One company was Meltwater Group, a media monitoring “sass” company that its representatives described as “cloud computing, social media and software license purchasing-oriented.” Meltwater Group helps to analyze what is said about other companies online. It has a wide array of clients, including colleges and universities, politicians, the Vatican, and departments within the U.S. State Department.

Another company, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, invests in companies that deal with science research. Based in Waltham, “Massachusetts Life Sciences Center works with biotech, pharmaceutical and medical device firms,” Representative Angus G. McQuilken said. “I wish I had interned when I was a student … our company offers you real access to what’s going on.”

This speed-dating style networking opportunity is a growing trend at Brandeis. “We have had networking events for careers in health care in biotech, government, communications and there is one coming up next week for education,” O’Shea said. “Our goal was to have large scale agencies with alumni presence, all with different perspectives. This is not a recruiting event but, through organic networking, students get a chance to build their networks and many employers will hire tonight.”

Nearly 200 students attended the networking night to connect with professionals in the communications industry. “Our students need opportunities to network,” O’Shea concluded. “I think we will definitely host something like this again.”