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“I first heard about the VCU Brandcenter when I was a sophomore at JMU.”

In undergrad, I knew I wanted to be immersed in the creative side of business. I knew my strengths- my eye for design, ability to see the “big picture,” and love for forming theories and making predictions about trends.

I first heard about the VCU Brandcenter when I was a sophomore at JMU. Knowing my interests and strengths, my Uncle introduced me to John Heath, a family friend who has led some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including Chobani. I remember meeting the infamous “Chobani guy” and told him how interested I was in his work, knowing all the innovative things he had done with the Chobani brand.

John Heath told me there was a really cool school, a school he wished he had gone to, called the VCU Brandcenter. I immediately went home and looked it up. As a sophomore in college, the idea of Brandcenter still seemed too far away- but it looked right up my alley.

As I continued through my courses at JMU, I had the opportunity to take an Advertising and Promotions class. This class stuck with me- I felt excited about the work I was doing. I remember one day in class, my professor was discussing post-graduation plans with us and the Brandcenter came up again. I picked up a SIXTY catalog and once again became excited by the opportunity to potentially attend the Brandcenter.

In all honesty, I was nervous about applying to the Brandcenter straight from undergrad. Should I get some work experience first? Do I really know what I want to do for a career? Will I get in?

At the same time, my friends were applying to positions related to sales, SEO, and marketing analytics. I knew I wanted to work in advertising, and didn’t want to settle, so I put my hesitation aside and applied to the Strategy track.

The VCU Brandcenter has been (the best) wake up call. The workload and demand is tough, but it has completely redefined what I consider it takes to be hardworking. Brandcenter is a place that allows me to combine my learned business skills from undergrad with my naturally creative thinking in a way I didn’t know was quite possible. Because of Brandcenter I have realized my potential and am thankful for the opportunities I have to practice my craft.

-Carly Harrison, strategy track, class of 2018