This isn’t a post directly related to Project 54.  Just wanted to share my experiences.

I’ve been back and forth between going down the Strategic track and the Creative track. Also been trying to get the inside scoop from people within the tracks.  I thought about it, and I realized I could see myself going down both tracks, but it was about which track was right…or better, for me.  And I also realized I needed to know what I do past undergrad in each one to get a better idea of how I’d be applying it in the real world.

Cut to Jessica, my ex-supposed-to-be-roommate.  She didn’t come through with rooming with us, but she did extend a metaphorical helping hand and said that if I ever needed anything or had any questions (about Advertising, as she was starting her first year with the BC kids) to ask her.  BC=Brandcenter

When we had Lazette come in and talk about her experiences learning what she was best at and what strategic thinking was all about, I could relate.  I really appreciated everything she was saying because it was breaking ground in my mind about how I felt about the Strategic track, something I had been looking at for a while, but always dismissed, saying I was more creative than that…so I should go down the Creative track, right?  She made it clear that my thinking made no sense.

Cut back to Jessica.  I sent her a message asking her if she could give me a better idea about her track (strategic), since I was still trying to put the puzzle pieces together and figure it all out.  She was most gracious and said, literally, whatever I wanted she could help with.  She suggested I sit in on a few of her classes and see if I like anything about them.

Long story, short, I skipped my Tues. night Bio class…pointless…and went to her Strategic 6-9 PM class.  Jessica gave me the grand tour of the BC, which was great.  Creative, buzzing environment filled with whiteboard walls, exposed brick, industrial staircases, neon chair, and ideas galore.  The walls are filled with the work of students and their mentors.  The rooms were almost nonexistent, as the entire environment was open and flowing.  Ping pong table and arcade games in the game room.  It was awesome.  She intro’d me to some of her fellow classmates.  She made sure to introduce me to people in different tracks so they could plead their case about why they chose the track they’re in.  It helped.

Most said, “I do this because I can’t do anything else.

Which was great because I can’t handle Photoshop and Illustrator yet, at all.  Before someone chimes in telling me these are valuable skills, I’m on it.  I’ve been thinking about doing the Strategic major while taking creative classes like Tech Prow that further my Adobe skills.  ANYWAYS, back to BC stuff.

After I met her friends, we stepped into class.  The room was about 20 people, which was pretty cool.  No 100+ seat lectures here.  Something I’m looking forward to.  Sarah, her professor, was gracious and welcoming.  I went over to introduce myself before class started and sat down with everyone at the U-shaped table lining the perimeter of the room.  Before the actual teaching began, Sarah took a moment to introduce me to the class and Jessica told them who I was and what I was doing there.

Lecture was pretty cool.  I loved it.  It sincerely made me excited, which is pretty cool I guess.  I listened while Sarah laid out client briefs and put up strategies used by the agencies who got those clients.  We looked at pyramid structures and talked about values, vision, reason-to-believe’s, emotional and rational factors, and points to pitch.  I was soaked in.  I had basically plopped myself years ahead of where I am right now and loved what I was seeing.  Sarah talked about McHappy Day in Australia, what it was about, how it was sold to consumers, and what the emotional background behind it all way.

We broke off into collab work in groups of about 7 to work on our own strategic pyramids, modeled after the McHappy Day pyramid.  We were assigned UPS.  It was cool to see collab work in an environment similar to a work one.  Like I said, I loved it.  I’m not used everyone in a group utilizing all they have and putting in 100% and wanting their opinions heard, and it was cool to see it unfold.  Usually, there’s one or two people that command attention and opinions, but at a higher level, you have to work with everyone around you.  Jessica told me, “If you can’t work with people, this isn’t for you.”  And the BC is all about collaboration.

I still have some more questions for Jessica, and I’ll post them on this blog for anyone who wants more info on the strategic track.

From what I took away from the experience, it looked like the strategic track was for me.  They were still learning how to look at the brand and create rational and emotional ties between it and the audience.  They were researching the brand and how to basically do all the preparatory work before ideas are even started.  I assumed this research has to be done whenever a client presents a brief.

I’m still learning more about this but I like what I see and thought I’d share some of my experiences.  Post questions if you have any.

I also picked up the Brandcenter’s annual called Sixty (named for the amount of weeks the students attend class there for 2 years).  The magazine is filled with stuff made by students, interviews (like one in this issue with Alex Bogusky from Crispin Porter + Bogusky), art, and a bunch of other helpful and super interesting shit.  Pictured at top.

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