Chef-turned-ad-creative, Matt Stando, accepts both carrier pigeons and his non-linear career path
By JesseMae Rayer
Matt Stando was recently hired as a senior copywriter working remotely for RAPP, a global creative marketing agency based out of New York. But he didn’t just stumble into the position. A 2020 advertising creative graduate, he followed an intriguing, winding path — one with more kitchens than most copywriters.
Stando says an MSU class focused on agency simulation, mandatory for all advertising majors, helped prepare him for the workforce more than any internship could.
“This was a harder look at what the day-to-day is like and how projects come to fruition,” said Stando. “When you’re pitching a client to when you actually release work into the world…that was a very eye-opening experience.”
Stando has certainly released works into the world. Looking at his online portfolio, you can see creative ads from Volkswagen to Weber’s Grills. He even made his website as part of an MSU advertising class.
“I did that when I was at MSU for my copywriting class. I just kind of try to go for simplicity, rather than trying to make it the coolest thing and have all the bells and whistles. At that point, I feel like it starts getting overcrowded and exhausting,” said Stando.
His path to a packed portfolio site and coveted copywriting job started with a bachelor’s degree in English– also from MSU. After graduation, he says he had an epiphany.
“I really like to cook,” said Stando. “It’s a big passion of mine. So, at the time it was kind of this moment of, I feel like if I don’t try cooking professionally now as a career, it’s never going to happen.”
For 18 months in Ann Arbor, Stando tried cooking. However, he found that it was more of a passion than a career – he didn’t want to work nights and holidays. So, he looked at his English degree, looked at the marketing realm, and started applying. He knew how to write; he had the charisma… but he didn’t have the experience.
Then he went back to MSU to get his second bachelor’s in creative advertising.
“It’s scary and it’s daunting to start something new when you’ve been immersed in it for a while, but have the awareness that it’s OK to do that, to do something new,” said Stando. “If you don’t like it, then you’re probably not going to be happy. It’s better for you to explore something new, rather than just continue to put yourself through something you don’t want to do.”