EDITOR’S NOTE: Recently, Bogart Avila (BA/Public Relations and Advertising ’15) traveled to New York City to receive the American Advertising Federation award, which opened new doors for him. He wrote about his experience and was kind enough to share it with us!

Madison Avenue is where you strive to be when you enter the world of advertising. Think
Mad Men
and Don Draper, that’s where they’re at. Think the “golden age” of advertising, and that’s it, right in the heart of New York City.

And that’s where I had the opportunity to start my final semester of college in February.

bogart at the panel

As a member of Chapman’s National Student Advertising Competition team, I’ve been involved with the American Advertising Federation (AAF) quite a bit but never has it paid off so much as it has the past month. After a few years of drinking more coffee than water and using #BoycottSleep almost religiously on social media, it all felt paid for as I was a selection of the 2015 class of the AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Students program.

With the selection, I was flown to New York City for a four-day industry immersion and workshop program focused on promoting diversity in the workplace. To start, I figured out the New York subway system which might have been the most intimidating part of my week. From there, it was networking with students and employers, getting a feel of the city, and sleeping when I could as we went from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. each day.

bogart at t able with others

Looking back, it was a launching point for the next stop and I was constantly reminded of that. Coming from a smaller school in scale to goliaths like University of Texas or Louisiana State University, often you get a bit overshadowed when talking with employers. Despite this, the award came with expectation that we were all on the same playing field. The employers weren’t too worried about where exactly we came from but more so what we brought to the table.

bogart recieving his award

Over the four days, I developed a network of 50 students who will be throwing out job postings over the span of our careers and some pretty good friends. I also had the opportunity to explore the space of some of the biggest agencies in the game including Wieden + Kennedy, McCann, IPG, Deutsch, and a few others. It’s not often you get opportunities like this one, but I can proudly say I’m an alum of the program and I will be carrying with me the experience, connections, and expertise gained well past graduation.