Two years. Five tracks.
One Master's degree.
Your career awaits.
The VCU Brandcenter Master's program, part of VCU's School of Business, has been recognized by Creativity Magazine, the 4A's, Ad Age and BusinessWeek as a top graduate program in advertising, marketing, digital media, and design + business.
The Brandcenter is known within the advertising industry for its intensity, and the students who graduate from the program earn valuable real life experience to develop brands on a global scale.
The VCU Brandcenter is more than a portfolio school, as it offers students a Master’s of Science in business to complement the advertising portfolio students create. The program allows students to choose one of the five tracks below. Students study within their given track as well as collaborating with all tracks to solve business problems creatively, develop campaigns and present their work to faculty and real world clients.
If you see ideas where everybody else sees the ordinary, you may already be an art director. You are a visual problem solver. If you are intrigued by colors, typography, and technology, this should be your track. Good eyesight, a photographic memory and strong stomach will be assets.
If you can write. If you can create ideas. If you can get your ideas across in sentences. If those sentences are bold & funny & burn. If you can write. If you can marry words to pictures so that together they say something new that neither said on its own. If you can write. If you can see inside yourself and others and get what is there down on paper. If you can enjoy doing all this over and over and over under the pressure of an unforgiving schedule, you will be a copywriter and angels will sing your name aloud in the clouds of heaven.
Are you invigorated by a good problem to solve? Do you see opportunity where others might not? Strategists (job titles include account planner, strategic planner, brand strategist, digital strategist) are looking to bring three forces together - people, brands, and culture.
Our tools are qualitative learning – in-home interviews, man-on-the street intercepts, focus groups – and quantitative data – surveys, trending reports, digital analytics. We look to tell a story. To paint a picture of what people are doing in their lives and how a brand might matter to them.
You dive in to emerge with insightful thinking that sparks creativity. You stay in tune with culture to spot the “next interesting thing.”
You will go into people’s homes to see how what they say and what they do differs. You’ll spend time doing observational research on physical spaces. Ever shot and edited a mini-documentary before? No? You will at Brandcenter.
Many strategy grads start their careers at agencies, but may branch out to brand/strategic consultancies or go “client-side” in the consumer insights department.
If you want to be responsible for all aspects of building and managing brands on the client side, then this is the track for you. Effective brand managers know how to lead brand teams and are responsible for the bottom line performance of their brands. As part of that responsibility, they manage their agency partners in the development of communications strategies for the brand. They are champions of great creative work and encourage their agencies to produce it.
Alternatively, you may want to manage client relationships on the agency side. If so, in addition to a graduate degree in efficiency, agency account managers must have a deep knowledge of every discipline within the agency, a keen business sense, terrific interpersonal skills, strategic vision and sometimes the kitchen sink. Importantly, whether more interested in a career on the client side or in an agency, CBMers find their track to be extremely flexible when it comes to career choices.
Nothing is ever perfect the way it is so you tweak – you modify – you build. Or you dream of better things. Where someone has one idea, you see 20 more places it can go. You have the ability to understand the world in a different way from everyone else around you. Yet, you are able to translate the most complex ideas so a 5 year old can understand. If you are a tinkerer/maker and a thinker/shifter of paradigms, this is the place for you.