While most think the of the entertainment industry in LA or New York, Allyson Wadman (’17) thought Las Vegas. A Strategic and Corporate Communication major, Allyson was hired immediately post-grad as the Public Relations Coordinator for one of the biggest entertainment brands on the strip: MGM Resorts International. Read on to find out more about her dream job!
Tell us about your position.
I am a Public Relations Coordinator for MGM Resorts International. Specifically, I am on the Entertainment Team. In a nutshell, my position coordinates and maintains media coverage for anything entertainment related in our properties along with helping manage all entertainment events such as fights, concerts, sporting events, shows, and nightlife at all MGM properties (which is more than half the strip and 27 properties worldwide).
How did you obtain your position?
The literal answer – I applied online. But I like to say I got my dream job on my “journey to fate”. Upon simply applying online, I wanted to give myself an edge and get the attention of the people in charge of hiring me with my determination. I got that opportunity in my Senior Seminar class. One of our assignments was to conduct informational interviews with professionals in the industry we want to be in. I briefly met the Executive Director of Public Relations for MGM Resorts International, Scott Ghertner, 9 months prior at my summer internship. So I used my resources from my previous internship and reconnected with Scott. After I had built a relationship with him, learned more about the entertainment public relations industry, and the overall company – I knew this was IT. Our Final Presentation (you could call it a fun thesis) in my Senior Seminar class was to do research on the company and position we want-then basically pitch ourselves for the job to a “hiring panel” (aka our classmates) and Dr. Weber. My Final Presentation was why I was the perfect candidate for to be the Public Relations Coordinator at MGM Resorts International. This presentation was definitely a commitment, (Lord knows I already have trouble committing to one outfit for the day!) me deciding to say out loud that I was qualified for this job at such a great company would either be good practice or I’d be jinxing myself. Still laughing because fast forward, Scott is now my boss 🙂
What do you love about this field?
My mantra when I was figuring out what to do was always “I want every day to be a party.” That’s pretty much what I got here in Sin City!
Entertainment PR with a world-leading entertainment and hospitality company in the entertainment capital of the world is VERY fast-paced. There really is no “typical day” at work. It really does go from 0 to a 100 real quick. I’ve been officially working with the company for about a month and I have gone from being in my office to going to a Food Network’s Chopped filming, escorting ESPN and FOX Sports, to preparing the biggest fight in the history of combat sports (Mayweather vs. McGregor).
There are always many balls being juggled in the air and I love that because I LOVE being busy. With being a part of the entertainment team for more than half the Las Vegas Strip, there’s always something going on or something around the corner – Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world. For example my first month and half here, a part of our agenda so far is: prepare for the sold out Ed Sheeran concert, the Kendrick Lamar concert the next night, Cher’s residency, anticipate for the return of Ricky Martin and Bruno Mars’ residency, organize the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight, the sold out Canelo vs. GGG fight along with Mexican Independence Day Weekend, prepare for the iHeart Music Festival and Route 91 Country Music Festival right after, along with management and staffing multiple shows we have at The Mandalay Beach and other venues… just to name a few things we’ve got going on. On top of that, we encourage cross training, meaning if there is a project that interest you with the Food and Beverage PR Team or the Resort PR Team you go for it if you can fit it in your schedule.
How did the School of COM prepare you for this position?
With every company I applied to, they were SOOOO impressed with my Strategic and Corporate Communication major because it was integrated. All the classes I took in The School of Communication made me a well-rounded candidate for the public relations industry. I can relate every class I’ve taken to my profession (even Research Methods believe it or not haha). Just some classes of the top of my head that helped prepare me for this position:
Mass Communication → taught me the impact and the huge reach media has that is a necessity
for all of the entertainment events we create
Message Design 1 and 2 → taught me how to design a message for a particular type of audience
that will maximize audience engagement
Research Methods → made me realize interpreting data is important even though I don’t work in research. Knowing the impact you had on your audience is very important, and I learned this from analyzing the reach that the Mayweather McGregor fight had through ticket sales, impressions, and buzz.
Senior Seminar → it made me face reality… I was going to be an adult whether I liked it or not.
Is there a particular class/professor that stands as influential in your position?
Shout out to the awesome, bomb-diggity, Dr. Andrea Weber! It was definitely nerve-wrecking networking with CEOs, Senior VPs, and high Execs, but her guidance and assignments throughout Senior Seminar really pushed me to initially make a connection with my now boss and hell yeah it was worth it! I might not have my dream job today if it wasn’t for this class and the relevant assignments to prepare you for post-grad life. If you take advantage of the assignments and her advice, you can really escalate your post-grad life, take it from me. Many of our assignments were reflective, you to learn more about yourself, and what you want out of your profession. I learned “real world things” from her class and things no one really teaches you about (i.e. “The Missing Semester” taxes and 401k). This class is the cherry that everyone needs on top of their college education sundae! I can’t thank you enough, Andi!
What advice do you have for current students?
Really push yourself and take advantage of RIGHT NOW. MGM Resorts International was always my dream company. Being successful in public relations always seemed like a crap shoot. And there were a many days where I felt like it was all only a distant dream. But the only person who can make it all happen is YOU. I’m proud to say all my hard work, determination, ambition, and go-getter attitude is what made my dream a reality. I got my out-of-college dream job with my dream company because I took advantage of the opportunities I was given to make myself an even better young professional. What I mean by take advantage of right now is use the fact that you’re a college student because high execs want to give back and help the future of the industry and they see that in college students. AND, USE YOUR PROFESSORS! Sure talk to them about assignments and test, but also talk to them about their professional journey – they’re so full of wisdom and advice that they’re better than any fortune cookie. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, e-mail these Senior VPs, shake CEOs’ hands, you never know where it will lead. My senior year, both semesters I took a full-load of 18 credits worth of classes, had 3 internships (one being in Las Vegas), was involved in extracurriculars, and had a social life. There is more than enough time in the day to chase your dreams. I swear, dreams do come true… only if you’re willing to chase them.
Anything else you want us to know? (Have any fun facts or met any famous people or got any big promotions? Feel free to humble brag here!)
Fun fact, I have the best colleagues! When I first came into the team everyone was so welcoming! You are definitely very well taken care of at this company. A lot of the time when people think “Corporate America” they think of a boring, stuffy, and competitive environment. Working for the corporate side of MGM Resorts International is really fun because everyone loves what they do and genuinely want to help you and get to know you. The PR team especially is like a family. It’s kind of like sorority recruitment… with many long hours spent together you REALLY bond.
The first event of my PR career just happened to be the biggest fight in the history of combat sports, Mayweather vs. McGregor! This is definitely one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life. The magnitude of this fight was historic, and I was a part of it. I wasn’t just working the fight, it was Fight WEEK, plus the preparation needed for the week. Our PR team literally does it all, we’d be ring side then red carpet side. Some of the cool things I’ve done is meet a lot people from big media outlets like ESPN, FOX News, FOX Sports, CNN, Showtime, and Mayweather Promotions. It’s weird they like know my name and I have e-mails from them in my inbox hahah. I’ve also definitely met and been around a good handful of celebrities like Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor, Drake, Cardi B, YG, Nick Cannon, Chance the Rapper, Jennifer Lopez, ARod, Cesar Chavez, Ice Cube, Mike Iverson, Mike Tyson, and Leonardo DiCaprio just to name a few.
There’s also a lot of perks that come with working for such a huge world-leading entertainment and hospitality company. I have had soooooo much good, expensive, and luxurious food… all for work purposes of course 😉