Advertising Students Meet the Motor City

When you think about where advertising professionals typically start out, usually cities such as New York and Chicago come to mind. Though it may not be the flashiest of cities, Detroit is definitely a place I will now consider when selecting a job after graduation.

I came to this conclusion after spending four days over my winter break with a group of students in the ADV 402 Detroit Field Experience class. In this class, we received valuable opportunities to network and learn more about the advertising and public relations world in Detroit. The companies we visited were Airfoil, United Shore, Dentsu Aegis Network, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Motors, Weber Shandwick, Bassett & Bassett, Finn Partners, Quicken Loans, GoTeamBlue and Millerschin.

This was a fantastic and invaluable experience because it provided us with useful information such as how to be successful in the Detroit PR scene, what types of skills we should be developing as students, and how Spartans in particular are making contributions to the industry and producing great work. It was a unique opportunity to visit agencies that work on auto accounts, and then actually visit the auto companies that they work with. I also found it fascinating to learn about the role of public relations in the mortgage banking industry at places such as United Shore and Quicken Loans.

I also learned some of the advantages and disadvantages of working at a smaller firm versus a larger firm. For example, there is more opportunity to build your “PR toolbox” at a smaller firm. At a larger firm, there are more opportunities to advance, but you may not get to see a project through from start to finish the way you would at a smaller firm. I found that I would like to start out a smaller company and learn as much as I can before moving on to a larger company.

As most people know, Detroit is making a comeback in a big way. It was amazing to hear the excitement in each PR professional’s voice when they talked about the changes that are coming and already here. For example, when we visited Quicken Loans, we took a tour to three of the many buildings the family of companies owns and learned that Quicken has plans to build the largest building in Detroit. It will offer spaces for retail, housing, dining and office spaces for the many companies that are moving to the area. Hearing about all the opportunity in Detroit made me want to be a part of it, and excited to start applying for jobs in and around the city.

The ADV 402 Field Experience in Detroit was a wonderful way to get a hands-on learning experience and also network with PR professionals in Detroit and other MSU students. I highly recommend this class for anyone who is interested in public relations and advertising and wants to work in a growing city with a ton of opportunity.

By Clare Wismer