Lauren Buechner graduated from UGA in 2007 with a master's degree (concentration in telecommunications), and in 2005 with a bachelor's in advertising. She currently lives in New York.
What are you doing now and how did you get there?
I am an Associate Manager of Research (Crossplatform and Promotion) at ESPN. My first job out of Grady was a Media Buyer at MindShare in Atlanta. In March of 2008, I took a job at The Nielsen Company in New York City and left Atlanta. At Nielsen, I was responsible for handling training and day to day contact with local television stations as well as various advertising agencies and cable networks. I left Nielsen in May 2010 and became an Account Manager at Experian Simmons (a qualitative research company). My primary role was relationship management with all of the major advertising holding companies and their subsidiaries (ie WPP and Grey, Omnicom and OMD).
In November 2011, I left Simmons and took at 4 month sabbatical in London. I returned to New York in April of this year and was very fortunate to land my dream job at ESPN.
What is your day-to-day like at ESPN? Any projects that you can share with us?
Every day is different because we are constantly juggling multiple projects at once. Right now I am working on a project that looks at where and how people are consuming media throughout the day. We just completed an analysis for a new program that will air on ESPNU in the fall. We are also gearing up for a College Football project which I am really excited about. How can you not like a job that learning about sports is not only active encouraged, it’s required?
What part of your Grady experience (classes, professors, etc.) has been helpful in your career today?
I use so much of what I learned in Grady on a day to day basis. Grady students are lucky because I think the faculty does such a great job in preparing students for the realities of a career in advertising. My Campaigns class with Kirsten Strasbaugh-Hutchinson, required a lot of hard work and a glimpse into the future for many of us, but also gave us the hands on experience that we would not have had otherwise.
Staying at Grady to complete my M.A. was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It put me on a path in Media Research that I had no idea I was even interested in. The opportunity to be mentored by some of the smartest people in academia like Dr. Ann Hollifield was really crucial to my success as a student and in my career.
What is your favorite Grady memory?
I have many fond memories of my time at Grady, but my favorite was working with my team (CILF) on our Campaigns project. For 2 months we worked long hours and challenged each other creatively, but most importantly, we all became friends. In fact, one of my teammates, Abbie Bridges, is now one of my co-workers at ESPN!
What advice do you have for current AdPR students?
One of the most important things a current student can do is to try to absorb as much from your classes as you can. You may think that your media planning class is pointless because you want to do creative or vice versa, but there is nothing better you can do than learn all sides of the industry. You never know what the job market might be like when you get out and you might have to take a circuitous route to get to your dream job. Being flexible and able to accept the jobs that are out there is crucial. Every job is a learning experience and it does pay off.