Chicago Agency Visits – February 10, 2012
Burson-Marstellar written by Paige Fagan
This weekend GV PRSSA traveled to the windy city for our annual Chicago agency visits. Our first stop of the day was at Burson-Marsteller, a leading global public relations and communications firm.
We were first greeted by Joseph Tateoka, an Associate for the Technology practice. Upon entering the conference room, we saw the PowerPoint presentation they had prepared for us, which included GVSU’s logo. It was a small touch that made us all feel extremely welcomed at Burson-Marsteller.
We were then joined by Aisat Sherrod, Client Executive for the United States HR Team. She gave us wonderful insights on how to find a job from the stance of someone in human resources. It was extremely beneficial to hear what she searches for in resumes and applications.
Aisat’s top 5 recommendations for students searching for a job after graduation:
- Improve your communication skills
- Start networking now
- Focus your efforts
- Look at companies NOW
- Intern, inten, intern!!!
After Aisat’s presentation, three client executives met with us to talk about their experience in the Harold Burson Summer Internship Program. All three of the client executives that spoke with us had participated in the HBSI program and ended up getting hired on with Burson-Marsteller. It was exciting for us to see that in a couple of years we could potentially be in a similar position as well (with a lot of hard work).
We were given some time to interact with the client executives and ask them any other questions we may have had. Students exchanged business cards and resumes and were able to make some valuable connections! (@emichalak, @ShaneArman, & @tina_suh)
- At one of Buson-Marsteller’s US offices
- 10 Week paid internship
- Assigned to a client team or practice group
- Opportunity to gain valuable work experience
- Follow #HBSI2012 on Twitter
- Deadline to apply is Feb. 17th
More information about the HBSI program can be found here.
MSL Group written by Kelsey Manas
MSL Group is a mid-sized public relations firm that specializes in everything from brands and talent, healthcare, consumer goods, and events. During our visit to MSL Group we spoke with the head of Human Relations, Heather Marros. She discussed what a successful resume entails by keeping it to one page, including dates, and explaining how you’re different from your competition. Marros also supplied information on a summer internship working within a specific practice or department of MSL. We also met with a panel of PR experts who work for MSL. They gave us insight on breaking into the world of PR and a look into their everyday work schedules.
This was my first visit to Chicago along with my first round of agency tours. I was thoroughly impressed with my experience and the information I received! Being a freshman, it can be difficult to get involved in PR due to lack of experience. These tours offered the awareness I have been looking for and have made me excited for my future as a PR major. I look forward to more opportunities such as this to broaden my experience and knowledge.
Walker Sands Communications written by Ashley Curd
Our third agency visit of the day was to Walker Sands Communications. Walker Sands Communications is a marketing firm that provides its clients with a variety of services including strategic counsel, positioning programs, product launches, web site design and development, SEO, PR, crisis management, investor and analyst relations, media training, and corporate communications.
Due to the fact that Walker Sands Communications is a smaller agency we were given the unique opportunity to meet with and speak to the president of the company, Mike Santoro. He said that working in a smaller sized agency allows employees to move farther up the “ladder” faster compared to that of a larger agency. Santoro along with other members of the Walker Sands team gave us tips on staying informed when it comes to technology, current events and PR and also discussed what they look for when hiring interns and employees.
Not only did we get the opportunity to speak with most members of the Walker Sands Communications team, but we were included in their Friday “game day” activities. I have been on multiple agency visits, but Walker Sands Communications was by far one of the most welcoming and entertaining agency’s.
Chicago Cubs written by Jordan Jessen
The final stop in our Chicago PR adventures was Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Here we got to see a different aspect of PR beyond the agencies, getting insight into sports PR from Kevin Saghy, the Public Relations and Marketing Specialist, and his intern Mary.
At the risk of sounding biased due to my Cubbie love, the experience at Wrigley was invaluable. It’s not often that we get to drill a professional sports PR specialist with any question we want, as the visit began with Q & A.
It was helpful to learn how Mary reached her intern position and the time commitment she had put in, being there for over a year. She began with the Cubs as a tour guide, working her way up to Entertainment Intern and then to her current position.
In any profession, especially sports PR, we can’t just expect to be put into the position we want. It could take some serious time to work up the ladder and build the relationships for that to happen. Mary is only 24, so I think it was a really good example of persistence for us near graduates to see and learn from.
The MLB seems to be lagging with the adoption of social media, so it was interesting to see how Kevin had to deal with the opposition and hesitance to really push forward with Twitter. In our future careers, we may deal with coworkers that don’t understand the importance of social media, so it was helpful to hear how he made breakthroughs.
An awesome use of Twitter that Kevin talked about was how if a fan is tweeting at a game, he will occasionally respond or bring down souvenirs to random fans or strategically to bloggers or those with a high number of followers.
I think the most difficult part of his job would be to keep everything in the same voice of the Cubs. There is a lot riding on every tweet and he has to keep the social media consistent and following standards. He has to be very aware of everything he is putting out to keep the image of the Cubs intact.
To finish the visit up, we toured the field and went into the press box. The view from there was unreal and inspirational for those wanting to work in sports PR. It took everything in me to not exclaim, “Holy Cow!” seeing where Cub’s legend, Harry Caray, sang the 7th inning stretch.
All in all, Wrigley was a great experience and the cherry-on-top to a great day of PR tours in the Windy City.