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October 23, 2019

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Making ads is the least of what you gain from the degree

I still remember very clearly the first day of orientation when the Brandcenter was still the Adcenter and I was surrounded by my classmates for the first time. The famed advertising legend Rick Boyko was going through the tough realities of the coming year. Several things stood out to me about that speech, but there was one thing that really scared me: many of us would not end up working in advertising.

Although I did graduate from the Brandcenter and work in advertising as an art director, I quickly discovered something that was difficult to come to terms with: I disliked the life of working in advertising. Was I a failure? What would I do if I didn’t do this? How would I support myself? Did I just waste thousands of dollars on a Master’s degree? I wanted a different life than advertising provided. So, I decided to strike out on my own to follow my childhood dream of being a photographer. I started with family photography and I’m certain my friends and classmates were more than a little confused.

Now, ten years later, I am a commercial photographer focusing on interiors and branding photography. I’ve been published in Architectural Digest, New York Magazine,, Rue, House Beautiful and the list goes on. I've traveled the country many times for documentary work. I am booked out months in advance.  Over the years of growing my business, I can look back on this degree and thank my lucky stars the Brandcenter accepted me. It showed me how to think like an entrepreneur and how strategy is the key to success in any business you dive into. It taught me that you need to differentiate your product and message to be successful. The truth is, making ads is the least of what you gain from the degree. You learn how to speak to a client. You learn what a brand is. You learn that a brand needs to be distinctive and clear - that it has to deliver on the same message over and over again. You learn what a strategy statement is. What a core belief structure is. You learn that success for a company comes with delivering on a fundamental truth that you always stay true to. 

Read more of Raquel Langworthy (AD '09)'s story on Tales from SIXTY