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“Initially I had to adjust to the creative focus of the program; it is a far cry from the rigid and systematized nature of financial commodities trading.”

By early 2016, I had dismissed the idea of an advertising career so many times, that I’m convinced the universe had no other choice than to give me a giant nudge toward it.

To add a little context, my journey to VCU Brandcenter technically began my sophomore year of undergrad. I composed a research paper based on the concept that alternative media and viewership platforms hurt the efficacy of traditional television advertising. My professor recognized my enthusiasm for the subject matter, and suggested I consider switching my major to marketing, mentioning the Brandcenter in his counsel. In retrospect, this was a giant flashing neon sign pointing me toward a career in advertising, but I ignored it and continued with my management major. After graduation, however, I wound up in an entirely different field: finance.

In early 2016, after two and a half years, and a few of twists and turns in my life, I experienced an exceedingly cliché “moment of clarity.” I then remembered my professor’s advice in undergrad, and submitted my application to the Brandcenter (just under the deadline wire).

Yet, I have discovered that my unconventional background is an asset more often than a hindrance. Having a different knowledge and experience base from which to draw, provides a neat perspective, and has been helpful when working in cross-functional teams for classes. There truly is no “typical applicant” for the program. Everyone comes from unique, often fascinating, backgrounds, which I think is a large part of what makes the Brandcenter the exceptional program that it is.

-Rachel Cohen, creative brand management track, class of 2018