In the final roundtable of the spring 2022 semester, the Collegian Alumni Interest Group (AIG) sponsored a Zoom forum with two outstanding advertising and public relations specialists who discussed how the Collegian experience and Penn State education contributed to their work in advertising and public relations agencies.
Chioma Aduba, EVP of Business Leadership for McCann in New York City, and Ken Byers, co-founder and brand strategist at Confidant, a firm with offices in Nashville and New York City, spoke to two dozen Collegian students in a forum moderated by Ben Serfass, a wrestling reporter for the news staff and a sales director on the business staff for The Daily Collegian.
Aduba, who ran track and field for Penn State and graduated in 2004, said that as a journalism major, she learned how to construct a sound argument. “And that is a lot of what we do in advertising,” she said. A journalism education makes the student great at transmitting ideas, she said, and that helped her transition to advertising because she had the communication skills required.
Byers, who graduated in 2001 from the school of communication with an advertising focus and a minor in business, said team projects at school helped him handle team projects in the workplace, where it’s essential to navigate among people with different backgrounds and opinions.
Aduba urged students who are graduating to reach out to alumni and ask about jobs, and Byers endorsed that approach, saying, “Don’t be bashful. Reach out, and once in a while you will find people who love helping and connecting people.”
Aduba said she did not know all the jargon when she started at an advertising firm in New York City, but she said she knew she could work hard and believed she was equipped to handle it because Penn State taught her to learn fast.
Byers told students that they didn’t have to work for a firm in New York City. “Figure out where you want to be,” he said. And, he stressed, “Your first job is not your last job. . . .Use it for what it can do to help you get a better job.”
Serfass, a junior majoring in advertising with a minor in digital media trends and analytics, also talked with Aduba and Byers about networking, interviewing and internships. To watch the video, click here.