I feel like, somehow over the past year and a half, my being in AdLab has become essential to my identity at BU, and honestly, I’m pretty okay with it. It’s my go-to conversation topic in interviews, a meeting place of some of the most admirable people I know in COM, and my favorite location to spend the entirety of every Monday. As I kick off my final semester at BU (gross, lets not go there), I feel like I owe AdLab an immense debt of gratitude, despite our various ups and downs.
AdLab, for those of you who don’t know, is BU’s student-run advertising agency, the largest and oldest of its kind in the country, I might add. You are eligible to join the agency for school credit, after completing Intro to Advertising (CM317). Despite the “student-run” addition to the description, AdLab is an actual full-service ad agency that tackles real business problems for brands all over the world (check out our fancy new site!). Our client list includes staples of the BU community, like BUPD, local Boston businesses, nonprofits, and even large, big-name clients like Acura. With AdLab, you also have access to an extensive alumni network, and the guidance of our amazing faculty advisors, Tobe Berkovitz and Pegeen Ryan, two of the most prominent names in their fields.
I could probably go on about AdLab’s impressive history for days, but instead of boring you, I’ll cut to the chase. What you get out of AdLab can be invaluable to your career in advertising, even if you come in with no experience at all. I joined AdLab green as can be, wanting to be an Planner. Despite this, I was assigned to a team as an Account Executive, meaning I was the liaison between our client and creative team. This would become my most challenging task of the semester, and I’m pretty sure people stopped asking me how I was because they knew they’d have to hear about my AdLab struggles like trying to motivate the team, battling different work styles, and handling creative perspectives from AdLabbers of all levels.
Once our work was submitted and the semester was over, though, I realized that all of the struggles I’d faced over the past few months had been worth it. I now had a better sense of what my strengths were in an agency setting, I’d acquired a host of new management styles, and had worked hard enough to earn the respect of the executive board and our faculty advisors. AdLab was a great place to learn from mistakes, of which I made dozens, and I came out of my first semester feeling like I had something to offer the industry. And yeah, as I mentioned, at times, AdLab can be be challenging, but group work among creative people always is. But you will never regret learning how to be better equipped at managing these situations, regardless of the career path you choose.
Trying to gain experience in a competitive industry, while also being a student, can seem like an overwhelming task, but I am here to tell you that COM makes this entirely possible with organizations like AdLab, PRLab, and handfuls of others at your disposal. You have so much to gain from giving it a try, even if you’re on the fence about an advertising concentration.
I’m excited to see where AdLab is headed in my final semester (especially since an alum just donated a 3D printer) but even more so, I’m excited to spend my Mondays working hard on projects I care about with people I learn so much from. If there’s anything I can wish upon anyone with time left at BU, it’s that they too find a place where they experience the same feelings and motivations.