BYU advertising students receive real-world opportunities at recruiting fair
Most students have to travel to New York to break into the advertising world, but for BYU’s communications seniors, New York connections are only a 30 minute drive away.
Each January, BYU’s award-winning Advertising Program hosts a recruiting fair at Sundance for select seniors. Unlike most career fairs, companies don’t set up their own booths. Instead, each BYU student creates a physical booth and an online portfolio that exemplifies their personal brand.
For many students, the recruiting fair is the stepping stone between college and the real world. Mitchell Henderson, the AdLab’s senior student strategist, said he has already had interviews with the advertising agency MullenLowe and has made professional connections with recruiters from other companies.
“Nothing is set in stone yet, but I think eventually something will come of those connections; you just need to be patient more than anything,” said Henderson. “A lot of opportunities came from it.”
At the career fair, Henderson and other students had the opportunity to meet with nearly 30 advertising agencies from across the country, including companies in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles.
“We’re fortunate enough to have relationships with top tier agencies across the country,” said Pat Doyle, Manager of the Advanced Advertising Lab. “They’re hungry to hire and give internships to BYU Students, which means our students are getting offers from the best agencies around. We feel really blessed and fortunate to have forged these relationships.”
For students, though, interacting with these agencies can be a little intimidating.
“It was intense because they came into the room and it was up to them if they were going to approach us or not,” said Henderson. “There was a good chance that no one would come and talk to you, and the hardest part was being able to talk confidently for a long time about yourself.”
After Henderson pitched himself to one recruiter, however, his nerves started to calm down. He realized the recruiters weren’t just interested in his work; they were also interested in him as a person and what made him stand out from others.
Henderson spent most of his time talking about his hobbies like rock climbing and about an ethnography piece he did about the Soviet Union and the culture in Russia, where he served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The recruiters want to know about you as a person first and then they get into your work, so it was different than I thought,” said Henderson. “For a lot of us, it was just hard to talk about ourselves, and that was one of the main points of feedback from the recruiters, that we need to be more pumped and more confident because we’re almost too humble at times.”
Henderson said that participating in the recruiting fair not only opened up professional opportunities, but it also strengthened his relationship with his peers.
“The Sundance recruiting fair builds camaraderie within the program,” said Henderson. “Instead of it being a dog-eat-dog world atmosphere, we are all such tight-knit friends, and we’re all rooting for each other.”
Henderson said everyone in the program is able to recognize each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“If someone’s interested in a certain agency, we’re going to push that and help them get that job. There’s no backbiting,” said Henderson. “Maybe one agency is looking for someone with a different style than me, but that’s okay. Even though it’s a great agency, I need to let someone else chase that opportunity.”
Henderson hopes to start his own strategy consulting firm or advertising agency one day, but in order to get there he plans to work at an advertising agency. He believes his time in the advertising program has prepared him to chase these goals.
“My experience has been so beneficial for my career; it has set me up professionally,” said Henderson. “The AdLab has given me so many experiences working with big clients, which is something that has really prepared me. It’s a great program.”