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Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Final Finals

When I first started this blog, I was about to enter my last year of graduate school.  The last eight months have flown by so quickly. It feels surreal that I finally graduated!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have so many experiences I want to memorialize about this time, but I think I'm going to break it up into two stories: my last few weeks of classes and my graduation weekend.

Because of the time-consuming nature of all my commitments last semester I have not had the opportunity to fully explain what exactly I worked on in my capstone IMC Campaign Planning (a.k.a. 480).  In the capstone, each class is an IMC consultant to a company.  The client gives you their problem, and a budget and students work in teams to create the best campaign to solve the client's marketing issue.   The winners get bragging rights, an incredible accomplishment for the resume, and usually a prize from the company.  Some even get jobs.

Fall semester's client was ESPN Chicago. I died. Working for ESPN would have been a dream.  There were rumors that Spring semester was also going to get a crack at ESPN. I was beyond excited.  During the fall semester I had an awesome teammate-Andres, who kept me sane during a stressful group project. Working with him was great, because we innately understand one another and have a complimentary work ethic. Andres and I became fast friends and decided to partner up for the 480 project. 

Walking into my first 480 class was bittersweet.  Dorothy (our professor) had taught all of us in our first class when we began our degree, and ending with her was a made the whole experience complete.  As Andres and I sat next to one another in 480, we were extremely anxious for the client announcement. Dorothy began explaining that we had the opportunity to work with a client she had never worked with/for and she was very excited for us.  Right away this was a trigger that we were not working for ESPN.  I was a slightly disappointed, until she announced our client was...UNIVISION!

Why was I so excited? Because Andres was the only native Spanish-speaker, I  was the only other person who spoke (a little) Spanish, and lastly, I was the only person with Hispanic advertising experience.  We created our team, and immediately began working fiercely on our project.  We chose our target, and the campaign went from this  largely daunting task, to a time-consuming project that was (dare I say) fun.

In my creative campaigns class I was lucky enough to have a professor who had taught the campaign planning capstone in the past.  He gave us the option to work on our client for his final.  At first this sounded GREAT!   Then Andres and I realized we had to create two campaigns for the same client, because many of our classmates were competing against us in the Univision project. Yes, we are that competitive.

After we wrapped up our creative campaign final presentation,  Andres and I met up with the rest of our team to practice, practice, practice.   During the practice we solidified our presentation,  I freaked out, because I felt our conclusion was weak.  We agreed that I needed to write the conclusion.  That night I didn't sleep well. I was nervous and worried about finishing the conclusion.  I kept dreaming about what I needed to say.  After six hours of restless sleep I gave up.  Luckily, I was able to remember snatches of the conclusion from my dreams,  and through combining  those sentences with my previous attempts I wrote something powerful. 

Fast-forward to presentation time.  Dorothy allowed us to invite our family members and I was so grateful to sit with Karla. Having her there next to me was a massive comfort.  With each group I became increasingly more nervous.  However, as each group presented my confidence in our idea grew. 

Finally! It was our turn!! Our presentation went really well- as good as we could have hoped! As we presented our material to the executives I could tell they were receptive to our campaign.   Karla told me she thought we had won.  Others agreed with her, but it was still uncertain.

Grupo Ñ after our win ( L-R Dorothy, me, Andres, Madison & Angel)
When the panel returned  the class was on was absolutely nerve wracking. The executives described the positives of each group, and finally announced that my team-Team Walgreens had won!!!!!!!  Being recognized as the best for something I had worked tirelessly is/was indescribable.   My classmates were so supportive and warm.  They hugged us and congratulated us on a job well done.

 Winning this competition meant the world to me.  It was a goal I set 3 years ago when I began school, and accomplishing it was nothing short of awesome.  Cheers to Grupo Ñ aka Team Walgreens!

Here are the two television commercials we shot.  Enjoy.

This one is written by and stars yours truly:

Another concept:

Next post: Graduation!