Q&A with Lauren Kowalsky

Current Job: Account Supervisor at Young & Rubicam in New York City

Major: Advertising

Graduated: 2008

By Hannah Powers

LaurenKowalskyIt was during her college internships that Drake graduate Lauren Kowalsky learned that advertising was the career path meant for her. After earning her degree, she landed an ad agency job in New York City. Since then, she’s maintained the hectic schedule that accompanies an advertising career—but that’s why she loves it.

How would you describe your day-to-day work?

I work in Y&R’s account management on the Land Rover account. We do all of their national and regional advertising. I keep the team up to date on all of our projects and make sure that when the client responds with feedback, it’s communicated to everyone. Information changes constantly. Things change on an hourly basis around here. We also interact with the media team and all of our vendors that are producing everything we create. Basically, we are the conduit between them and the client.

What’s the relationship between your creative team and your client?

What’s good about our relationship with them, which isn’t always the case, is they take our creative decisions into consideration. We are in a unique situation where our client is headquartered in the U.K., so the decision makers aren’t the clients. Several people influence the work that ends up getting done.

What is the most difficult thing about your job?

Managing the moving pieces. It’s broad, but when a new request for an ongoing project comes in, if an idea changes or a delivery date changes, or you run into a production hitch, if they decide they want something different creatively, then it involves reevaluating the timeline and updating all the parties. If we make this change, can we still make our date? And scheduling meetings when you have a group of 30 people you need to get together in one place at one time…it’s hellish. Advertising is extremely fast-paced. It’s the most exciting part, but it’s also the most difficult. It’s always “we need an answer yesterday!”

What in your life best prepared you for your job?

Internships, definitely. I’m originally from Milwaukee, so I had one at Northwest Mutual. I also did one abroad in London in music marketing. I spent a summer in New York on the Got Milk campaign at Lowe, now part of Deutsch. Those are the bigger ones. Those definitely helped me know that advertising was something that I wanted to do. I did the capstone my senior year and was the account executive for that. That taught me how to keep a team organized and when to raise a red flag if a timeline isn’t going to line up.

What is your favorite thing about working in New York?

I’ve been here for five years, but sometimes it’s still like, “Oh my god, I live and work in New York!” It’s really exciting because I feel like I’m working at the top-of-the-top type company. The people that you work with are smart. Everyone wants to be really good at what they do, so my favorite part is the people I’m surrounded with. And here, there’s a wider selection of agencies and clients. I also have access to some really good professional organizations.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get into the advertising industry?

It’s definitely easier to get a job when you know somebody. I know everyone says networking, but it’s definitely the way to go. It’s not going to fall into your lap, but having people to talk to makes it easier. Having any kind of experience makes people look at you.

I’ve lived in New York without a job. If anyone is moving to a city where they want to find a job: move there, find that address, have that locality so that in half an hour you can be at that interview. It helps that you can have [a local] address on your resume.

Use the grad network where you want to work. And there are so many small shops that have a focus on people who think differently, like social marketing firms. Everyone’s ideas are important, from entry level to those with 20 years of experience. So don’t be afraid to look at something that’s smaller either.

Keep up with Lauren on LinkedIn.