Jamie Larson, a marketing major/communication and journalism minor, got a head start on her post-graduation gig, getting hired on as a digital specialist for Collegis Education – an agency that, according to its website, offers "technology-based solutions, analytics and strategies to help a diverse range of colleges and universities navigate the changing landscape of higher education" – just a few days before she was interviewed for this profile. She told us about her whirlwind hiring experience and how skills honed at St. Thomas and a birthday wish paved the way to her job.
What will you be doing for Collegis Education?
I'll be working on their paid search team, which means I'll be working with ads that appear on search engines or LinkedIn, etc. I'll also be working with the SEO team to help clients bring in more leads and returning visitors to their sites. It's a lot like what I've been doing here. I'll be busy because they're growing like crazy!
How did you land your job?
My first "real-world" experience was through a summer internship last year at a digital agency called Ovative/group as an SEO intern where my clients were Stitch Fix, General Mills and Evine. It was my first time learning all about search engine optimization. Then this past October I got a job here working for Diane Kulseth [on the Insights and Analytics team in the Marketing, Insights and Communications Department] doing site content analysis for the Executive Education program. For my job, I'd look into questions like, "What questions are people asking that land them on our [St. Thomas] site?" "What's trending and how can we put those things on our site?" [and] "What is the consumers' path and how can we promote certain posts?"
You were hired recently, right?
Yes! Diane had her birthday recently, and for her present from me, she told me that she wanted me to apply to a job opening she saw listed on LinkedIn. I had a coffee chat with someone at Collegis on a Monday, had an interview on Wednesday and on Friday I got the job offer!
Were any professors particularly influential?
Gino Giovannelli [Opus College of Business]. He taught an interactive marketing class that I took during J-Term my sophomore year. It was the first digital exposure I'd ever had, and I was excited because it's a really popular course that even seniors have trouble getting into it, but I did. But even more, if I hadn't taken his class, I wouldn't have known what a digital agency encompasses or if I would be where I am today. I still talk to him to this day and have even had a coffee with a couple of his professional connections.
What did you do outside of classes?
I've been a member of the American Marketing Association chapter on campus and Women in Business. My freshman and sophomore years I worked for my mom's recruiting company. I also played intramural volleyball.
What will you miss most about St. Thomas?
In college, everyone tells you it's the best four years of your life, and I think that could be true. Unexpected memories happen every day, every weekend. I'll never live with four roommates and share one bathroom ever again. It's going to get a lot harder to connect with all of the friends I've made. I will really, really miss that ... the daily connection.