At Carleton's Career Center, the alumni-in-residence and 30 Minutes program brings students interested in a specific job or industry face-to-face with alumni experienced in that field. In just half an hour, Carleton networking magic happens. Senior CAMS major Hannah White '14 recently attended a talk with advertising executive Alex Leikikh and offers the following report on her experience:
After listening to Alex Leikikh's talk on Thursday, October 17, about careers in advertising, I was completely sold. I don't say that to be ironic or cliché, rather as a testament to his background in the advertising industry and how his position as President of Mullen, one of the most elite and innovative marketing agencies around, revealed the practice of conviction that goes into his work. His talk, focused on Carleton students and paired with a very easygoing and comfortable manner of speaking, could have persuaded any type of person from anywhere that there's a place for them in this profession. And this is an important message for Carleton students to hear. The interdisciplinary nature of our learning and scholarship at this school teaches us how to work in integrated environments such as the one at Mullen.
As he artfully used clips from the hit TV show Mad Men to demonstrate that, yes, the world of advertising actually is like what we see in the movies or on TV, he also presented us with concrete examples of professional opportunities for every type of person. As I looked around the room full of students, I saw fellow CAMS majors, Political Science majors, Geology majors, undeclared underclassmen, and many people I didn't recognize; all of us were brought together by the prospect of involving ourselves in the world of advertising, which is something that we all interact with, yet do not, perhaps, completely understand. While watching Alex's clips of successful commercial TV ads, I allowed myself to realize exactly how much of an impact advertising has in my own life. The innovative, cutting-edge marketing strategies that Mullen is implementing immediately turned my typical annoyance with, say, ads played before You Tube videos, into a recognition of 15 seconds of creative potential.
Communication, strategy, art, production, collaboration, and curiosity: these are all words I would use to describe the work that I've learned to undertake while at Carleton and the pitch-like talk given by Alex Leikikh and subsequent "30 Minutes" conversation made me realize that there is also a place for this kind of lifestyle after I've graduated, in the "real world." This newfound hope, combined with the tangible reminder of a free t-shirt, has made me grateful to Alex for coming to visit Carleton, and humbled to be at a place that allows for this kind of potential in myself and my peers. For now, I can say that I will be stepping into the world pursing a career in advertising, specifically doing animation and motion graphics, and I look forward to seeing where my journey takes me next.