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MSLCE Hits the San Francisco Tech + Arts Scene

By Yayun Wang

The MSLCE Trip brought us together in San Francisco to enjoy five days of corporate visits, an alumni reception, and open networking. We met and networked with industry leaders and gained newfound experiences and knowledge across the creative industries.

I chose to travel on the San Francisco trip because the Bay Area is at the forefront of the digital transformation. As an advertiser who is passionate about experiential marketing, I am eager to learn how the use of technology allows for the integration of art and media in designing digital campaigns. We had an incredible opportunity to visit the offices of Kanopy, Pinterest, Burning Man, SF Arts Commissions, Pandora, and Music@Menlo. The biggest inspiration for me was how enthusiastic everyone was about data analytics, no matter their position. This trip  demonstrated that being knowledgeable in data analytics is an important qualification for everyone who wants to work in the creative industries. This experience strengthened my dedication to developing my skills and making myself an even stronger candidate.

Visiting Kanopy on the first day, the CEO, Olivia Humphrey, impressed me with her authentic and engaging stories of entrepreneurship. Kanopy’s marketing department illustrated their competitive advantage by providing documentaries and various media content to colleges and educational programs. Sitting in the conference room, I learned a lot about the on-demanding streaming video platform and what goes into running such a company. I found that their presentation inspired me to become a more active user of the platform. That’s the power of pitching!

Our visit with Unique DaCosta (MSLCE 18), Creative Operations Assistant at Pandora, was one of the highlights of our trip. We had the wonderful opportunity to hear about her time as an MSLCE student and her transition from student to professional. This was an open and sincere conversation in which she talked about the pitching skills and ComScore analytics experience that she gained from the MSLCE courses and later applied in practice. Her passion and her personality were truly inspirational. In addition, I also admired how Pandora’s creative department combines music, data, and advertising in the ad tech space consistently and professionally. Their presentation and thought-provoking messages emotionally touched and motivated me to work hard as a professional and leader.

So many outstanding NU alumni work and live in the Bay Area. It was exciting to connect with them and hear their stories. I was impressed by Scotty Stieber’s (MSLCE ’18) career path, shifting from working for advertising agencies to PR marketing and moving from Chicago to San Francisco. My conversation with him was a reminder about how career goals and experiences influence our actions. Scotty emphasized the importance of lifestyle when making career choices and explained how he channeled his passion to help pull him forward; his advice was definitely eye-opening for me.

Participating in this immersion trip furthered my understanding of the type of skills professionals should possess and of the challenges faced by the creative industry’s top leaders. We were fortunate to speak with employees who worked for the high-profile companies in the Bay Area and I was particularly inspired by meeting with Northwestern alumni and seeing their passion in pursuing their goals in this fast-paced environment.