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Opportunity May Be Just One Alumni Connection Away

Opportunity May Be Just One Alumni Connection Away

College of Communications Arts and Sciences alumni offer real-world advice and support to early-career AD+PR grads

By: Sari Kellman

The job market today is competitive. Students can struggle to land a job.

We wonder: Are job applications even viewed by human-beings? How do we personalize our cover letters?

Exterior photograph of man smiling by water
Collin Baker is an advertising creative graduate and junior designer at JRT Agency, where he began as a digital design intern.

Simple answer: Add key words. Align your values with the company’s.

Still, that’s often not enough.

According to CNBC, 80 percent of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections. Making connections and building a network with Spartan alumni can make all the difference.

2023 advertising creative graduate, Collin Baker, was working the 42pointSEVEN booth at an MSU career fair his senior year. 42pointSEVEN is the Department of Advertising + Public Relations’ integrated communications agency. While at the fair, he spotted the JRT agency booth. Thanks to his connections with 42pointSEVEN, he was eventually hired and connected with CEO, Mark Bellissimo. Bellissimo studied advertising and communications at MSU. He also donated money to renovate the 42pointSEVEN office space. Baker says the two hit it off right away.

“Anytime I’m working with Mark, we are getting stuff done. It is always productive. Mark has a very business-oriented mindset with a lot of foresight and planning,” said Baker.

Josh Cooper is a recent advertising management graduate. He founded the company, Skoop, during his freshman year and received guidance from MSU alumnus, Brad Epker. Epker studied advertising and marketing at MSU and is the founder of Americanna Wellness Inc.

Cooper was introduced to Epker from The Hatch, a space where MSU students go to build their businesses and collaborate with entrepreneurs. Epker heard Cooper’s story about starting Skoop. He reached out to Cooper and told him he had a lot of experience in the space Skoop was looking to grow in.

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Photograph of smiling man
Josh Cooper is an advertising management graduate and founder of Skoop, a digital signage software that turns any screen into a revenue-generating digital billboard.

“Brad, for the last two years, has helped me with sales. Not only just making sales but negotiating sales and terms of contracts. He’s also been very helpful in helping me build out my own sales team,” said Cooper.

Epker helped Cooper interview his team’s first sales rep and build a commission structure to incentivize sales reps. Epker is now an investor in Skoop.

“As a young entrepreneur, there’s a few things you’re looking for. Number one is just advice. Anyone who has been through some of the battles you are currently facing can help you,” said Cooper.

That is the essence of student-alumni relationships. From full-time hires to start-ups, alumni have a desire to support current students and maintain their relationship with their alma mater.

Visit the College of Communication Arts & Sciences Mentorship – MSU LinkedIn group to connect with alumni.