Texas State Graduates Help Prepare Students at Advertising Panel

By Arlyn LaBelle

Almost any Texas State student would jump at the chance to have their name associated with companies such as Time Warner Cable and Hewlett Packard. At Mass Communication week, some students learned how.

The second Advertising Alumni Panel, Life After Texas State, was held on Oct., 23 at Old Main. The panel was comprised of Texas State University graduates who found success working in advertisement, and wanted to offer advice based off of their experiences.

Speakers on the panel included John M. Livingston, senior art director at T-3; Kala Brock, media assistant at NEXTMedia; Rhea Friesen, interacting marketing specialist at TWG Plus; Nick Bastress, advertising executive for Time Warner Cable Sales; and Colbea Smith, the global communication coordinator and staffing workforce manager for Hewlett Packard.

The panel discussed common fears for future professionals, including the interview and job hunting process.

“I always had to track people down to get interviews,” Livingston said, “I went from having no prospects for a month to having people bid for me.”

“I had seven interviews with Time Warner,” Bastress said. “I think that was a good thing. It actually took three months to get this job. It was a little tasking.”

They also spoke about the things job seekers should keep in mind, and questions applicants should ask at interviews.

“What are my goals going to be for the next six months? What are my day-to-day tasks going to look like?” Friesen said.

“Keep in mind, you also need to want this job,” Bastress said, “So don’t just take any job you can get out of it.”

“Having a good boss makes a world of difference,” Friesen said.

The panel discussed the change in culture transitioning from college life to a professional career.

“The youngest person I met, I think, is 30 years above me,” Smith said. “That was a big culture shock, especially coming from college. That was kind of a downer at first.”

“You’re gonna be the lowest on the totem pole,” Brock said. She discussed how she had to do off topic tasks for her first job, including driving people to the airport.

“You’re gonna do random things,” Brock said. “Do it. It’ll be what bumps you up.”

They also discussed running into obstacles in their new, professional environments.

“For me, the biggest problem was being able to make mistakes,” Friesan said, “I just pulled out the books and studied really hard, not like you would study in school.”

The panel made it clear that learning and studying doesn’t end when you leave Texas State.

“Your education doesn’t stop when you graduate,” Friesan said, “It doesn’t start when you get your first job. Read a book.”

“Once you are in your role, take the opportunity for classes,” Smith said, “Whatever it may be, take the opportunity to take that in. It looks awesome for you.”

The panel also discussed the most rewarding aspects of their work.

“The stress is there, but I mean, it’s manageable,” Livingston said. “It’s a good thing and a bad thing, every time you want to do something new. Theres risk involved in trying to do something new.”

“I get to do everything,” Brock said, “I get to work with accounting. I get to help with creative sometimes. Being able to do so much more then I ever thought I would is amazing.”

“When advertising works it’s very rewarding,” Bastress said.

Students left with a better grasp of what was waiting for them after school, and how it would compare with their lives now.

“I thought I had a lot in college,” Smith said, “Working is so much more exhausting than school, so have fun.”

The panel was sponsored by the Ad Club at Texas State. More information about the ad club can be found at www.adclubtxstate.org.

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