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How College Classes Prepared Me for Agency life

A question many recent college graduates often ask themselves is, “Will I ever use what I learned in class in the real world?” For me, I found out pretty quickly after graduation that a large amount of the classes I took helped prepare me for agency life.

I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in May, landing a full-time internship at 88 Brand Partners in the Account Service department soon after. I was thrown into an entirely new world, one of which I had to adapt to quickly. As I settled into my new position, I realized agency life wasn’t so different from my college classes. Columbia is extremely pro-collaboration. Most of my marketing and advertising courses were project-based and consisted of the class working together in groups. Now, I know for a lot of people in college that hearing those dreaded words—“group work”—can make you roll your eyes and let out a big sigh. But for me, I found that those projects and class collaborations would be almost identical to an agency setting.

Many Columbia professors brought a real-world approach to their classes. Not only did students work as a team, they also had the chance to choose what position they thought they fit best in to take on the project. For example, if you are creative, you would work on the creative part of the project; if you felt you belonged in account management, you’d keep things running smoothly and organized for the duration of the project. Working independently can be beneficial, but in this particular industry it isn’t possible to solely work alone, and my professors strived to give me an opportunity to experience a process that I would soon encounter every day.

Agency life is all about collaboration, dealing with different personalities and coming together to meet an end goal. I’m happy that I no longer have to wonder if my college was successful in preparing me for the next chapter of my life.

Shayna Wacker is currently an Account Service Intern at 88 Brand Partners