Why This ComArtSci Alumna Wants You to Take Risks

When Advertising alumna Elizabeth Ross walked the halls of ComArtSci, she knew that someday her skills and experience would lead to a wide range of opportunities. She took some risks, tried new things and eventually became the CEO of Periscope, an advertising agency based in Minneapolis.

“It’s a very broad job but one that I happen to really love,” said Ross. “I love that hunt for new business and I find being around creative people really energizing.”

What Came First

Many ComArtSci students, seniors in particular, wonder what steps they should take after they graduate. Should they look for a job, an internship or go to grad school? For Ross, the answer was taking a risk and finding something that worked best for her, regardless of the status quo.

“When I graduated, I actually had a job offer in Michigan, which was great, but I really wanted to work at a big agency in Chicago,” said Ross. “So I ended up taking an internship in Chicago at J. Walter Thompson. Even though I had graduated, I decided to take a summer internship and see what I could do.”

So what made her stand out from the competition? The willingness to move around and not get too attached to one place. Ross notes that in reality, a lot of people get stuck in a rut and end up staying in the same place for a long time.

“One of the things I find that tends to set people apart is the willingness to move,” said Ross. “I think the more willing you are to move around and take those risks makes you exponentially more valuable to your company.”

Looking Back

With homecoming this week, many alumni are looking back on their time at MSU and what made it all so special. For Ross, it was all about the people she met and the friendships she formed.

“It comes down to the people and the stories and funny things that happened,” said Ross. “My roommate and I were both in ComArtSci, so those projects that you work on all night or when you’re up all night studying, those will always be the very best memories that you will have.”

For those who are lucky enough to have a few more years at MSU, Ross would advise you to find what you love and do what you can to make the industry better. If you’re studying something such as advertising, it’s essential that you love it, as you’re going to spend so much time doing it.

“I think the most important thing that you guys can all learn while you’re at school is less about what to think,” said Ross. “It’s less about getting to an answer and more about the how. You have to really love what you do and find both the flaws and wonderful things about it.”

While you’re at ComArtSci, take time to figure out what you want to do. You don’t have to know right away, so make sure to dig deep and find what makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning.

By Katie Kochanny