Clemson Marketing Student at CBS NewsFor some it was a reality check. For others, it was a confirmation on pursuing the career path they had been dreaming about. The early flight out of Charlotte left many students feeling anxious, nervous and excited about what opportunities the next week would bring them.

It’s not every day that you get to meet with top executives of some of the world’s leading companies, so this was a huge opportunity for students to get their foot in the door. After researching advertising firms, publishing companies, media corporations and entertainment groups, as well as practicing professional etiquette and drafting winning resumes, the Clemson marketing students were ready to take on New York City. Upon landing in New York, several taxicabs were ready to transport the Tigers to their hotel that was located in the middle of Times Square. The bright lights, the chaos of the city, it was every marketer’s dream. The new fluorescent landscape of bright advertisements and iconic branding would gain so much more meaning through the coming week. The students would have the chance to go behind-the-scenes with executives from some of the world’s top companies. This was an unparalleled experience that would provide a glimpse of what it takes to succeed.

Since the group consisted of students from all over the nation, many had never been to New York City before. The clutter of advertisements in the Big Apple made the group reexamine what they knew about marketing and branding. The students were amazed by the overabundance of flashing screens, eye-catching billboards and promotional overload.

Before all of the company meetings and presentations, the students committed the first day to exploring the city. The students visited museums, strolled through Central Park, went shopping on Sixth Street, indulged in New York cuisine ranging from “street meat” to culture-fused pasta in Little Italy, took countless photos and much more. Many students even saw a movie being shot in the streets of the city! After a full day of seeing the sights, the class’ schedule stepped into full swing with meetings, appointments and tours. The students met with fourteen prestigious companies across multiple industries including BBDO, JetBlue, Sports Illustrated, Feld Entertainment, Ogilvy and American Express.

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The future marketing professionals were exposed to the best of the best in advertising, promotional strategies, social media, design, branding, music and other facets of marketing. No matter what career each student wanted to land after graduation, there was certainly a takeaway from each presentation. Broadening horizons across the marketing field forced students to realistically think about their futures and how to make a name for themselves as they begin to apply for jobs.

The experience provided opportunities to connect concepts from the classroom to various business practices used around the world. The students were not only shown plans for campaigns, current projects, innovations in-the-works and a glimpse of daily life within each company, but were encouraged to ask questions and network with employees. As one of the students mentioned, “Along with learning about various industries, marketing strategies and communication methods, I learned the most about how to build relationships in such a competitive and thriving industry.” Companies also shared how they are adapting to a rapidly changing marketing environment by means of digital media and other creative approaches.

Presentations from each company highlighted unique marketing tactics and even some future product development plans. JetBlue, for instance, is a customer-service oriented company that utilizes Twitter to connect with customers around the world to enhance the overall airline experience. JetBlue has set a high standard for taking care of its customers, not only on an airplane, but also through every single touch-point with the company. Clemson students were exposed to the inner-workings of an advanced social media marketing team that many other companies are trying to imitate and learned what it took to make the organization so successful.

Another company that demonstrated how to utilize the world’s rapidly changing media outlets is Sports Illustrated. Dick Raskopf, the publisher of the Sports Illustrated Golf Group magazine, and other employees explained how to place advertisements not only in the print version of magazines, but also in the online, tablet and mobile versions of their products. The students learned that placing advertisements is not merely just creating something that looks nice. Good advertising is a mesh of design and strategy where placement and content must meet requirements and goals set by the client, and the ad should also fit other ads within a particular issue or marketing campaign.

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A reception took place in the middle of the week where students met and networked with Clemson Alumni and special marketing guests from the New York area. Many of the alumni hold impressive and exciting jobs in New York and are great resources for current students. The alumni were excited to meet the current marketing students, offered advice and contact information, and enjoyed bringing the Clemson family together in the midst of their big city life.

It was also refreshing for students to see friendly Tiger faces in a big city that many found intimidating. The concrete jungle always had something exciting for students to see and do. Through learning about other students’ past experiences, future goals and career ambitions, lifelong friendships and connections were made throughout the trip that many claimed to be unforgettable and thrilling.

After returning from the 8th Annual Gateways to World Markets class in New York City, Schuyler Easterling, a rising junior stated, “Taking this class was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, hands down. To have the opportunity to travel to New York, experience marketing on a truly global scale and network with the possibility of securing an internship or job is an unparalleled experience at Clemson. The lessons I learned in New York and the friendships and connections made will last a lifetime.”


Clemson Tigers Take On New York first appeared in the 2014 Winter/Spring issue of The Exchange Magazine. For more information on The Exchange, visit: http://www.clemson.edu/cbbs/exchange


Written by Katie Steed, Class of 2014 | College of Business and Behavioral Sciences