Am I able to give career advice? I’m only 22 after all.

I’ve been helping out at my old university – King’s College London – with their careers and employability office. A couple weeks ago, I went in to speak to current undergraduate and masters students at a career festival for the Film Studies program. After graduating in July, I now have 7 months of experience through my full-time job in a media agency. Walking down the all-too-familiar corridors created an interesting sensation:

Here I was in the exact same location and it’s very clear that it’s me who has changed and not the environment. In fact, the architecture, smell, feel, and people looked exactly the same as last year (when I was attending this career fair as a hopeful final year student). But this time, there was a different confident stride in my steps, not one of getting a first, but one of having job security figured out.

Most of the students were there looking for a way into the film industry. In that respect, I was their counter example of someone who veered away from the ‘artistic’ satisfaction of the creative arts for the more corporate world of marketing and advertising. I think speaking to the students was just as informative for me as it was for them. Nevertheless, I stood tall and explained my role and plans for the future in the business world.

Two weeks after the speaking event, the careers office asked me to write a blog post for them. And it finally came out, so I thought I’d share it (which was the point of my whole rant above). Enjoy:

http://blogs.thecareersgroup.co.uk/humanities/a-case-study-in-digital-advertising/

It offers some insights and advice to university students trying to figure out what they want to do after graduating by drawing on my own experiences of job hunting/soul searching.

I obviously still have so much to learn about the world of work: what skills are most employable, how to change jobs, how to progress, how to balance work/life, etc. However, I still feel that I can offer advice and help to university students, especially because the experience of transitioning lifestyles is still so fresh in my memories. It’s important for people to stay in touch with university students as they progress in their careers because, essentially, those students are the future of the work force. Their desires, mentality, and capabilities are a direct reflection of generational changes, economic situations, and cultural values. And it’s very hard to know what the future holds if you don’t understand the people that will be working it because let’s be honest, most business are people-led first and foremost. So an understanding of the younger work generation is ALWAYS key to any company that wants to grow.

Pukka Detox Tea, Chill Music, and a Sketchbook are the ideal Saturday night.

Desk **Quick observation sketch of what my desk looked like at 21:46 last night.  On a side note, my website was having difficulty with the gallery portion. Luckily, my magical IT guy (cough cough my dad) was able to fix it! So although it hasn’t been updated with new artwork… at least the old stuff is still available to view. My personal favourite is the figure drawings and oil paintings. I miss life drawing and hope to pick it up again this semester. The University of London Union do classes on Wednesdays from 18:30 to 21:30, so I’m going to motivate myself to go after work! Until then… here’s the current stuff: Figure Drawings.  And some Oil Paintings while we’re at it!

Full-Time Working Gal … in a Media Agency.

Ahhh… the bliss of Sunday! After my first two weeks of work, I have re-found my love of weekend relaxation. DSCN4644

I’m currently employed by Starcom MediaVest Group – a media agency – as a graduate media trainee in their London office. The program is a 13 week rotation scheme in order to gain exposure to different aspects of the business! The basis of media agencies, although difficult to explain at times, is their position between brands and consumers. The agency acts as the liaison between their clients [ ex. CineWorld ] and media owners [ex. The Guardian ]. With the data-driven research and expert knowledge, media agencies solve business problems through marketing campaigns. 

As a media planner…. here are some of the typical questions you would have to ask/answer:

1. From all the data on consumer behaviours, what is the one simple, meaningful insight into your target audience?

2. How can you use different media channels [press, radio, TV, outdoor, digital…] to create one unified message for the consumer? What do you want your brand experience to be? 

3. How well is your campaign performing? Can you optimise the budget to maximise the return on investment?

4. How are you going to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time? 

Starcom-MediaVest

Thus far, media as a career path has only been positive! The industry is extremely young [ the average employee age is around 29 ] and very fast-paced [ with digital technology, the rate of change is faster than ever ]. The work is intellectually stimulating and heavily relies on communication and networking skills within the small world of brand managers and media owners. Despite being a niche speciality, there is plenty of opportunities for travel and career mobility. As an arts and humanities graduate, I was lost in the sea of Google search results which suggested I would never find a job. But they were wrong. I love my job. [ SMG has ‘hot desking’, running clubs during lunch, chalkboard walls, free cappuccinos, and hilarious brainstorming sessions.] At the moment, it’s not very well-paid, but hey, you gotta start somewhere! And in 5 years time, I’ll have the expertise, the salary, and the happiness. How about that? 

“Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”

-Earl Nightingale

Reflections on my week in BOSTON… and a peek into Harvard/MIT.

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Reflections on my short trip to Boston:

  1. I personally found Boston to be the older and more attractive sibling of New York: the streets are cleaner, the people are friendlier, and the architecture is diverse. (Boston is the perfect mix between tradition and modernity). Plus, Boston is quite small, making the walk from the North end all the way to Cambridge a charming afternoon.
  1. The city has a bustling culture scene. I was fortunate enough to catch a Puerto Rican festival this past weekend. First, my friend and I stumbled upon a full free night concert and the next day we saw a parade! The atmosphere was absolutely joyous due to the wonderful Bostonian people and hispanic pride. The cultural diversity of the city adds to its dynamic ambiance. (Fun fact from a local: Boston has a large Puerto Rican community).
  1. Boston could easily be identified as a university area. The actual city is filled with names ranging from Northeastern, Berklee School of Music, Tufts, Boston University, and Boston College. And just across the Charles River are MIT and Harvard in Cambridge. As a student aspiring to their high calibre, I found the two prestigious universities to be aweing and yet normal. By talking to current students, it became clear that going to Harvard or MIT was difficult (but DEFINITELY not unattainable through hard work). Insider information: Harvard students pee on the statue of John Harvard, so DON’T rub the foot. Also, MIT students love climbing on things… buildings, the alchemist statue, etc.
  1. The transportation was easy to use and efficient. I was staying at MIT in Cambridge, which was closely connected to the city through the T (metro). There were also buses and other quick links. I’m biased because I live in London, but hey, for an American city the public transportation was pretty good!
  1. So much to do! So much to see! So much to enjoy! There are museums, historical sites, comedy clubs, malls, movie theatres, Red Sox games, food markets, parks and so so so much more. Additionally, the city appears to care for its citizens. For example, the greenway is a park stretch from the North End to South Station. AND there’s free wifi on this strip (it also has benches, tables, fountains, and vegetation).
  1. The people were absolutely lovely. The population sample was probably skewed away from students because it was summer, but I found Boston to have a nice mix of students, young professionals, and established business suits. Although it heavily depends on the area, Boston also has a nice balance between the different socio-economic classes.

Personal recommendations for places to visit:

  1. Boston Commons
  2. Faneuil Hall Marketplace/Quincy Market – bustling food and clothing stores
  3. Beacon Hill – where the rich people live
  4. North End – Italian part (must try cannoli)
  5. Newbury Street – shopping and beautiful area
  6. Freedom Trail
  7. The financial district
  8. The Boston Harbour Inn
  9. The different university campuses (especially Cambridge)

Food/Drink:

  1. Eat lunch or dinner on top of the Prudential Tower for an amazing view of Boston
  2. Coffee and a sandwich at Thinking Cup
  3. Coffee shop experience =  Flour Bakery and Cafe 
  4. Brunch in Cambridge – Area Four (they serve pizza!)
  5. Boston Common Coffee (why go to Starbucks when Boston has its own chain?)
  6. La Burdicks – for a hot chocolate experience like a true Harvard Student
  7. Georgetown Cupcakes – there’s one on Newbury street

Final Conclusion: Boston… I’ll be coming back for you someday. You absolutely took my heart away!

A first attempt to export my animated film (on Piet Mondrian).

This is the first clip from my new animated short film about Abstract Paintings in Motion. It’s an artistic visualisation to original music by Pierre Tiberghien. This one is based on a painting by Mondrian, and there are two more videos to make in the series based on paintings by Kandinsky and Jackson Pollack. At 24 frames per second, this is taking longer than expected, but I always love a distant goal.

Also, I should warn you that the timing is off. I’m having difficulties with Adobe Flash on getting the animation to match the sound. Technology really is a love-hate relationship. More precisely… I love it when it works and hate it when it fails. In this case, it’s both.

ARTIST JOURNAL. a little film.

Poster

I made a new short animated film about my sketchbook (and voila a quick poster design!). Watch the video on Youtube: HERE. 

I would like to formally apologise if the video does not work in your region. I’m having issues with the third party content of the song. Therefore, I’m trying to get an original cover of the song to re-upload it with original music (to avoid copyright infringements on Youtube). 

But please let me know what you think! I would love to hear your comments, concerns, opinions, etc.

EUROSTAR.

Right now, as I write, I am on the Eurostar from London to Paris. This appears to be mundane to some. Businessmen with little suitcases that have four wheels and side rolling capabilities. Mothers with colouring books for the regular weekend trip with the family. But for me – with my three giant suitcases – this trip is anything but mundane. Not only is this my first time taking the Eurostar, but it’s also a one-way ticket to living in Paris.

I have wanted this since I was 13 – when I took my first French class. At the time, everyone said I was making a mistake and that Spanish was the more practical language for Southern Californians. But I knew I was going places – quite physically, I wanted to leave the country. And well, to all those that told me it was silly to learn French, I say…

Bonjour, je m’appelle Violeta et je suis une étudiante à la Sorbonne maintenant après deux ans à Londres.  J’ai appendu le français parce que c’était mon rêve d’habiter en France. Et voilà, avec persistance, il est possible. Donc, si vous voulez quelque chois, c’est votre responsabilité de prendre l’initiative. Comme il y a déjà beaucoup de gens qui sont prêts de vous dire que votre idée est stupide, impossible, ou impraticable.