AdPR Alumni Spotlight: Austin McDonnell

Austin McDonnell at graduation
December 2013
Austin McDonnell recently accepted an offer to work at Grey New York as an Assistant Account Executive on the CoverGirl account.

What was your major and when did you graduate?  
I graduated in December 2013 and received Bachelor’s degrees in advertising and french.

What activities were you involved while in Grady/UGA?  
While at UGA I was a UGA HEROs Team Leader and PR Committee member, AdClub member, served as VP of Public Relations for Delta Delta Delta, and interned for Barberitos Franchising in their marketing department.

What are you doing now and how did you get there?
I’ve held four different advertising internship positions and knew that I wanted to work with a larger agency in another city. My sights were originally set on Chicago, but I established great connections with Grady alumni who accepted jobs in New York. Maintaining these relationships and reaching out to other UGA alums at ad agencies was one of the smartest moves I made over the course of my job search. We have an incredible alumni network! I began my job search early with informational interviews and kept in touch with HR leading up to position openings.

What is your day-to-day like at your job? (Any interesting projects that you can share with us?)
Stay tuned...

What part of your Grady experience (classes, professors, etc.) has been helpful in your career today?  
During my final semester, I took a course called Digital and Social Strategy, which I believe to be one of the most useful ad classes I took over the course of my time at UGA. The course taught us about SEO, SEM, metrics, community management, and other elements of digital advertising. Dr. Lin provided case studies of current social media campaigns for our class to discuss and analyze, which was something I continued to do after graduation. Analyzing different campaigns was a go-to question in almost every interview!
What is your favorite Grady memory?
One of my favorite Grady memories was participating in the Chicago Advertising Agency Tour in the fall of my junior year. The trip allowed us to rub elbows with professionals in media, creative, accounts, and production. It was fantastic exposure and gave a holistic view of the advertising landscape.

What advice do you have for current AdPR students?
Take advantage of advertising and PR opportunities as a student! Participate in AdClub or PRSSA. Join marketing or PR philanthropy committees. Find an off campus organization or company to volunteer or intern with. It’s important to see how what you’re learning in the classroom is actually applied! Get your hands dirty and gain experience. Be a sponge and ask questions. Be patient but persistent. My final piece of advice: never underestimate the power of a hand written thank you note.

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