Name: Jil Rinne
Program: Master of Communication Management
Expected graduation: May 2018
Hometown: Boston, MA
Why did you choose to attend Annenberg?
I was debating whether to stay at my job in Boston and attend graduate school there part-time, or take a big leap and quit my job, move to California, and go to USC. I had never even been to LA, so I flew out one weekend after I got my acceptance letter and met with Dr. Rebecca Weintraub. She said I could make the Communication Management program into anything I wanted it to be – it covers so many aspects of communication that I could explore all of them or focus on just one. I wouldn’t be pigeon-holed into one segment like I might be in an IMC or MBA program, and I’d develop more well-rounded, yet still specialized, skills. She convinced me, and I took the leap!
Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you've had here at Annenberg.
This is a new experience, but I just started the Annenberg Advantage Mentor Program. My mentor graduated from USC Annenberg undergrad and the Master of Communication Management program, and I’ve really enjoyed learning about her experience at Annenberg and how it helped shape and develop her career. I strongly value mentors in my life and really appreciate that Annenberg has a program specific to seniors and 2nd-year graduate students about to embark on their new careers. I’m excited to use her advice and experience while I’m applying for jobs next semester, and to continue our mentoring relationship after graduation too!
What makes Annenberg special?
One thing I’ve really enjoyed about my classes at Annenberg, and what I think makes the school unique, is that so many classes are taught by true professionals who have worked extensively in the marketing, creative or consulting fields. I’m taking Copywriting and Creativity with Gary Wexler right now, and it’s the most unique class I’ve ever had. He is an expert in the field and runs the class like a creative agency, so I feel like I’m receiving real-life agency experience.
What's one thing at USC that no student should miss?
I think all students should explore and attend the numerous speaker series, panels, and other discussion-based events on campus. Annenberg has so many events about careers and current events on a weekly basis! I really enjoy Annenberg’s Lunch with a Leader series, because you can learn about the career path of someone in an industry that you’re interested in, or maybe never thought about, but might want to try. When you’re finished with school and in the real world, you won’t have the same amount of time or resources to allocate to attending professional and educational talks, so students should definitely take advantage of them now.
Tell us about an experience you’ve had outside of class.
I worked at Princess Cruises this summer as the Onboard Revenue Marketing Intern, which was a great experience. Until then I’d only ever worked in law firms, so this was my first full-time marketing job for a different industry. I worked on several projects all summer, presented my most substantial project to the SVP of Marketing and even got to tour one of the cruise ships!
What have you learned (or are learning) that's made a difference to you?
One thing I’ve learned is that the educational part of grad school is really about figuring out what you want to get out of your classes. I’m choosing courses that I think will really develop and hone the skills and expertise that I’ll need for a job after graduation. I’ve also learned to take advantage of opportunities outside the classroom to continue learning. I have a part-time internship at the USC Career Center managing their social media, and I applied for that job because I didn’t know much about social media marketing and knew it would be valuable experience to have for a marketing career. I had never used Adobe Photoshop, so I signed up for the free certification courses offered in the Annenberg Digital Lounge. Taking the time to learn different skills has made a big difference on my ability to apply and interview for jobs with confidence, because I have a greater skillset to offer.
What advice do you have for incoming students?
Get involved and meet people! That goes for both graduate and undergraduate students. I learned the importance of professional networking in undergrad, and it’s definitely an advantage to have the Trojan network available to me now as a graduate student and after graduation. But also, you need to have a support network of friends, so definitely make time to join a student organization, socialize and have fun too.