Applications are now open for the new class of Vested’s Grad Program, which will begin in June. If you or someone you know just graduated from college and is interested in working in PR, please encourage them to apply.
Alexia Zac Zac, Delani Morgan and Julia Kotaev all recently completed the program and were promoted to Associate Account Executives at Vested. We spoke to them to learn more about their experiences and get some insight about what it takes to succeed in the Grad Program.
1. Why did you apply to the Vested Graduate Program?
Alexia: I applied to the Vested Graduate program because I wanted to experience agency life. I knew I was interested in financial services and wanted to put pen to paper! I desired to learn in real-time and work with the top leaders in NYC communications. Everyone told me the agency life is very fast-paced and you get to connect with so many incredible clients. When I saw Vested’s client list, I was very impressed and knew this was the place for me! I wanted to start my career at a top agency and see how I could grow!
Delani: I originally applied to be an Associate, but the team decided that the Graduate Program would be the smarter route. I agreed with the decision since the program overall prepared me for the Associate role. I applied to Vested because I wanted to learn more about finance and improve my writing and communication skills.
Julia: I applied to the Vested Graduate Program because I wanted the opportunity to learn about the financial services industry and work with a variety of clients. I wanted the agency experience and didn’t want to be limited to just working with one client. I also felt that I could truly learn more about financial services by working with clients in different spaces. I had no prior background in finance and didn’t want to jump into a role with no knowledge. The Graduate program enabled me to constantly learn as I grew further in my role.
2. When you applied, what did you think you’d be doing/learning?
Alexia: Honestly, I had no idea. I knew what advertising and marketing were but I never fully understood the gist of it. I knew I liked writing creatively and over-communicating, so I assumed this was the place to be. I was willing to learn and adapt to anything that was thrown at me! I knew I enjoyed a bit of PR, but after 7 months of being at Vested I’ve discovered my expertise. Once you experience and get the hang of it, you begin crossing off the things you don’t like, and ask to do the things you do like!
Delani: I assumed I would be creating media lists, doing some content writing, and managing social media accounts.
Julia: When I applied to the program, I assumed I’d be doing a lot of administrative work. I thought I’d be on client calls but not running them and wouldn’t lead strategizing for marketing, PR, and advertising initiatives. I was happy to have jumped right into handling a plethora of tasks.
3. How did this compare to what you actually did/learned?
Alexia: Learning was a great base for this world, but you definitely learn the most by actually doing! I learned from team members, speaking with clients and researching! When I was at BU, I knew how to write a press release or draft social media or write blogs and articles, but once you learn about the client you have a different audience and want to show that via diction and style.
Delani: I have done everything and more. I have not done much with social media, but I did get the opportunity to work with influencers which taught me a lot.
Julia: I did assist in project managing my teams, but also helped with ad campaigns, becoming the team lead of handling social media for a client, leading client calls, media pitching/reporting, and strategizing proactive initiatives for clients.
4. What’s the most important thing you learned?
Alexia: So far, I think the most valuable skill I’ve learned is working in an environment that’s client-facing. It gives you the adrenaline to make your client happy and you want to conquer the area as a professional/expert. You will do anything & everything to see your client say “Good Work!”
Delani: The most important thing I learned was that taking constructive criticism is extremely important. To grow one must be able to take feedback and apply it.
Julia: Time management! I had a daily to-do list and learned how to prioritize, keep track of items/deadlines, and hold myself accountable for my responsibilities. That really helped me grow professionally. As a result, I kept receiving more important and big tasks to manage. Throughout my program, I truly became a reliable team member on my accounts.
5. What was the most exciting/interesting/fun thing you did as part of the Grad program?
Alexia: Getting to know your team members so you could bridge the skill gap! Scheduling touch bases with COOs and VPs was incredible, especially as they have so much more experience under their belt, so you literally learn every single day in a comfortable environment.
Delani: The most exciting thing I did was secure an influencer for PayChex. I enjoyed the research that came with that project.
Julia: I had an all-day planning session with one of my clients, where we strategized on their initiatives and goals for 2022. During the session, I presented directly to the CEO and other executives. It was an amazing experience being able to share ideas I had with them directly. I never expected only a few months into my role I’d be presenting to the CEO of the world’s largest crypto asset manager. I also worked on a variety of exciting projects for other clients, such as launching a podcast and advertising campaigns. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your ideas come to life through online advertisements, print ads, and commercials. One set of ads I helped out with was live at airports all across the country and seeing them in person was a feeling like no other!
6. What advice would you give to anyone thinking about applying to the Vested Grad Program?
Alexia: Know the difference between agency and in-house. Everyone says they love the fast-paced environment, but at Vested you should be 100% sure you could keep up!
Delani: Be ready to work and do not be afraid to ask questions. Also be open to feedback because that will help you grow.
Julia: First off, definitely apply! It’s such an educational, eye-opening, and rewarding experience. I have grown so much professionally and personally through this program. If you’re thinking of applying, be prepared for a fast-paced environment. You’ll be busy, so time management and staying organized are key. Throughout the interview process, show what you’re interested in! There’s so much you can do here at Vested – whether it’s marketing, advertising, reporting, social media, etc. You’ll have several resources and opportunities available to help you learn and grow.