M+D alumni give credit for their post-graduation success

The Division of Student Life student-run Marketing and Design agency is in its 29th operating year and currently employs approximately 25 UI students. Their goal is to give students an opportunity to harness their professional skills before entering the professional realm by offering career-relevant employment.

Offering work-based immersions can help foster student success and be mutually beneficial. Students are motivated to put effort into perfecting portfolio content they can use to advance in their careers and university clients receive quality, creative communications and design work that can make a profit and foster successful alumni.

In recent years, M+D has increased efforts to keep in touch with alumni, including an Alumni Speaker Series and field trips for current students to learn from alumni in the field. 

We contacted alum and asked them to reflect on their time working with Marketing + Design.

M+D graphic design alum, Caroline Fox, says that having client experience before graduating was an integral part to growing and learning from her mistakes.

“It was nice coming out of college having a kind of design support system behind me,” Fox says. “They really helped me hone in on what I needed to improve on and helped solidify my resume and portfolio.” 

Fox currently works at DDB in Chicago as a senior designer with clients like Miller Lite, Capital One, and Starburst.

Working in a collaborative office like M+D can also provide networking opportunities to advance a career. 

Harrison Wheeler, M+D web design alum, took advantage of his M+D connections by finding opportunities with the University of Iowa Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center (JPEC), the University of Iowa Center for Advancement, and other startups before starting his current position as a design lead at LinkedIn.

“I remember the days in marketing and design when we were talking about things happening in the Bay area, and now I’m here,” Wheeler says. “Marketing and Design set me up to be here.”

While there are many skills to be gained in the classroom, alums like Emii Le and Scott Lahn credit their professional gain to their experiences outside of class, most specifically, the human interactions they experienced.

Le graduated from the university in 2013 and currently works as a digital marketer in Seattle. 

“M+D exposed us to work in a diverse environment, with individuals who have different backgrounds, skill sets and perspectives,” Le says. “As a result, I’ve learned to always keep an open mind and to proactively seek out fresh ideas and constructive critiques to improve my work.

M+D videography alum, Scott lahn, has had similar experiences. He has worked for companies like Twitter, Hipcamp, and others.

“M+D has an amazing staff that can speak to the skills you have developed,” Lahn says. “I was able to lean on them and ask for their advice.”

Looking back on their experiences, M+D alumni advise current students to engage in as many experiences as possible, take chances, and take full advantage of their M+D experience. The relationship between alumni and current M+D student staff has developed further in recent years, providing M+D students even more opportunities for career insight.

2018 Year In Review

This article is part of the 2018 Year in Review, which highlights some of the Division of Student Life's accomplishments from the previous academic year.

Go to Year in Review