Seeing New York as a Future Pro, Not Tourist

Capping off a busy day in New York at Rockefeller Center. From left to right, Prof. Jim Motzer, Alexandria Jones, Alana Dickens, Jennifer Reimler, Lauren Russett.

At the end of the fall term, DePaul University students majoring in public relations, advertising and journalism descended on New York for visits to agencies, corporations and news organizations. PRAD graduate student Alexandria Jones recaps her impressions of the Big Apple.‎

By Alexandria Jones

New York City had a tough pitch to sell me. Its confusing subway system, the cold, the amount of people and their the stereotyped rudeness are ways many non-New Yorkers would describe the city. This was also my viewpoint to an extent. I lived in Chicago most of my life so the cold is a factor. After 28 years in almost one location, I promised myself the next city I would move to would be on the west coast, where sunshine is in abundance and the cold is only available as a vacation destination. Yet, New York City has a way of getting into your heart and by the time the trip was over my viewpoint changed.

A drawing factor for the DePaul University’s Public Relations and Advertising degree isn’t just its award winning program but also what it offers. Aside from the industry professional professors to its real-life clients, a big draw for many students is the New York Way course offered. Since 2013, the College of Communication have been taking PR and advertising students to NYC to visit agencies related to their career path. This year DePaul added a journalism track for students focused on visiting media-based companies and organizations such as NPR.

As a group, we all met for orientation before we departed for NYC. Outside of the rules and the “what to expects,” we were able to mingle and learn about each other goals outside of respective focus. Our trip was packed with visits to maximize our three days in the big apple. A great aspect of the trip was the variety of places we visited – in-house communication teams, mid-size to global agencies, and a corporate archives of world-renown clothing brands that enhances its parent company’s reputation.

After landing you realize you’ll be getting a different viewpoint of NYC than as a tourist, one is taking the MTA (subway) over taxis. Taking the MTA, we were scheduled to visit three agencies per day, with time at night to explore NYC on our own. Key advice that stuck with me is, “know what you goal is and network” and The Briefcase Technique. After visiting NYC I’ve learned there are more departments to consider working in than AE or social. Blake Wilcox, a fellow NYW participant said, “I initially thought [it] was to help figure out what we wanted to do in our careers. However, everyone we met was interested in seeing us succeed and the network opportunities were fantastic.”

Also held was a PRAD alumni reception, which allowed us to interact with DePaul alumni and agency employees within a more intimate, one-on-one setting. We could chat about their job, the work they do and their experience moving to New York. As stated, New York City can be a big city to concur, especially on your own and some great advice given by DePaul alumnus Aaron Westbrook on how navigate and adapt to the city.

  • Give NYC at least 1.5 to 2 years before deciding its isn’t for you
  • Join a club/sport/after work activity to meet new people
  • Be open
NYWay PR students on the roof of Edelman’s New York HQ.

Overall, one of the best parts about this opportunity is it’s not just for PR, advertising or journalism students. Within the PR track, there were a few students whose majors were different. Film major, Alana Dickens, felt the trip was still tailored to her desired career goals. She stated, “I feel more prepared to continue my career path and I’m thankful to have experienced the NY way!”

Frank Sinatra lyrics, “If you can make it hear you can make it anywhere,” rang through my head as I took the MTA alone back to the airport. With the knowledge I gained to concurring the craziness of NYC, it is now at the top of my list and it’s all thanks to this trip.

Alexandria Jones is a recent graduate of the PRAD master’s program at DePaul University. She now wants to pursue her passion by landing a job in a communication department within the entertainment industry.  

Thanks to professors Jim Motzer (public relations), Ken Krimstein (advertising) and Amy Merrick (journalism) for organizing these special New York experiences.

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