Integrated Agency Life is a new class being offered to Newhouse NYC students this semester. The class, taught by adjunct professor Joanne Trout, gives students unprecedented access to leading communications agencies in New York.
Trout is the chief communications officer of Omnicom, a global marketing and communications company with more than 5,000 clients in over 70 countries. She has over 30 years of communications industry experience, working with brands such as Sony, Sharp and XM Satellite Radio.
“We own in NYC alone close to 100 agencies,” Trout says. “I thought it would be a good idea to have a semester where students get a behind-the-scenes look through site visits and presentations of all the different disciplines, and how they came together to create a marketing campaign.”
Trout has been involved with the Newhouse NYC program for years, volunteering as a mentor for the last three semesters. She approached Newhouse NYC director Cheryl Brody Franklin about the potential partnership with Omnicom for Newhouse NYC students.
“I’ve been looking for a way to offer a course that would be unique for PR and advertising students in NYC, so this was a dream pitch,” Brody Franklin explains. “Joanne has been so generous with her time over the last two years. She has helped many Newhouse NYC students land internships at Omnicom agencies and always offers to mentor, so I knew how much the students would enjoy learning from her.”
The course is unlike any advertising junior Ava Vulopas has taken before. “Pretty much every class we get to visit a different agency under Omnicom group,” Vulopas says. “Whether that’s an agency focusing on the creative side or more numbers and statistics, there is one for everything.”
The class of five students has visited three advertising agencies, including Omnicom Health Group, Sparks & Honey and DDB. The course is designed to introduce students to agency life through real world experiences and help them build connections with people in the industry. “I didn’t really know anything about agency life, so this is really opening my eyes to all of the different opportunities and places I could work,” Vulopas says. “We don’t really get to learn all the specifics when we are in a classroom.”
At these agency visits, students are introduced to potential career options as well. Whether it be for an internship or a full-time position, students have the chance to learn about all of the possibilities. “You have so much exposure to industry professionals,” says Grace Guido, a public relations junior. “It is a really great way to see if you would like working at an agency.”
Trout describes the class as a “win-win.” While the course benefits students, it also helps agencies by introducing them to potential interns and future employees. Already, one student from the course is interviewing for a potential internship at Omnicom Health Group.
“If you want to understand what it’s like working at an agency, whether it’s a PR agency or an advertising agency or media agency, [this course] will give you a real behind-the-scenes look and feel of what a day would look like in the real world,” Trout says.
Julia Virnelli is a junior magazine, news and digital journalism major at the Newhouse School.