Rainbow Bagels, Closed Subways, and Advertising in the NYC

rainbow bagle

This past May, UNT Mayborn students got the chance to explore New York with SWOOP’s very own Dr. Sheri Broyles. I was lucky enough to be one of those 17, and in the span of two weeks, I’ve learned more about the advertising industry and what I want out of my future than my last two years in college.

Bailey Maxwell
Bailey Maxwell

First off, New York is not somewhere I see myself in the near future.

Don’t get me wrong, when you love New York, you love New York. The UNT alumni we met in New York recollected their earliest months on friend’s couches and nights spent with Ramen just for the chance to live in the Big Apple. But the pace and lifestyle isn’t for everyone; maybe I just didn’t drink enough of the NYC Kool-Aid.

But it’s no wonder plenty of young advertisers flock to the city. We visited big-name agencies such as Anomaly, Wieden+Kennedy, BBH, Ogilvy and Droga5 (just to name a few).  From large agencies with over a hundred employees to OpenBox who only had 18, the trip offered a mix of agency structures and cultures that gave us the opportunity to explore which ones we “meshed with” the most. I quickly learned that there’s far more opportunities than I had originally thought. Every agency defines their positions differently, and some offered jobs I hadn’t even considered suddenly appeared on my radar. From Project Management and Shopper Marketing, to the whole other world that is the Production team, every agency has their own unique flavor.

The most vital thing I learned over this trip was that networking is everything in this industry. Knowing the right people could mean serious career opportunity in the future. And with the average length spent at one place coming in at a meager two years, career opportunities are worth their weight in gold. Don’t be discouraged by this revolving door either. This is often voluntary and I was told was the quickest way to advance your position in the industry. So shake a few hands, get involved in the ad industry as a whole, and start updating your LinkedIn as much as you do Snapchat.

rainbow bagel
rainbow bagel

Now, if New York is calling, let me tell you, “y’all ain’t in Texas no more”. You learn to be quick and purposeful. New Yorkers set a destination-driven pace and you either swim with the current or get the hell out of the way. Don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk. Ever. Unless, of course, you’re trying out for the role of Mufasa in The Lion King Broadway show.

Even so, it’s a fun place to be. You’ll find quirky museums, lavish characters in Times Square, and little hole-in-the-wall stores that sell rainbow-colored bagels. If ever given the chance to go, just do it. Each borough is a new adventure, and it wouldn’t be the melting pot of our country if it didn’t offer something for everyone.

Looking back, even though I decided it wasn’t for me, the world doesn’t seem as big now that I’ve experienced New York. My feet may be a little more tired and my wallet a little flatter, but I made my way on the subway, melded in with a busy crowd, and networked my way into a shadowing opportunity that solidified for me what I want to do in my career.

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