A dream to live in the ‘Big Apple’

After graduation, Erika Koiva will work at Ogilvy & Mather.

Senior Erika Koiva has wanted to live in New York City since a very young age. | Emily Dubin TTN
Senior Erika Koiva has wanted to live in New York City since a very young age. | Emily Dubin TTN

Erika Koiva said she always knew she wanted to live in New York.

As a senior advertising major with a digital media and technologies minor, Koiva said she wanted to work in the city because it is known as the capital of advertising.

Throughout her time at Temple, Koiva wanted to make sure New York was the right place for her to land her first full-time, professional job. She decided to join the School of Media and Communication’s study away program in New York City.

While in New York, Koiva took two courses taught by the SMC’s director of undergraduate studies, Scott Gratson. The classes focused on communities and institutions in the city.

“The communities course particularly looked at physical neighborhoods and how people create and function as a community,” Gratson said.

Because the courses were on Saturdays, Koiva had time during the week for an internship with MRY, a creative technology agency.

“The second that we were in New York, there was this huge grin on her face,” Gratson said.

This September, Koiva will start a one-year program with Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest agencies in the world, located in New York.

Koiva said she has known about Ogilvy & Mather since she was a freshman. Earlier in the spring semester, the Career Center hosted a job opportunity for the rotational program called the Associate’s Program at Ogilvy & Mather.

The last round of interviewing involved an event called “Super Saturday” in mid-March, during which the organization assesses future employees’ abilities, Koiva said.

There were group and individual assessments as well as “out-of-the-blue pitches,” which made the event “intense,” she said.

Koiva received the phone call about the job offer the following Monday after the weekend event.

The job includes three rotations, which are each four months long. Koiva will work in both client services and strategy.

“It’s almost like a mini grad school, except I am getting paid,” Koiva said.

She said she is excited to get to work in strategy since she has yet to have an internship in that position.

After one year, the company will likely place her in a permanent position as long as they have the resources, she said.

“The whole point is that you’re more likely to get placed where you think you really fit best and where you want to be,” Koiva said.

Koiva always knew she wanted to do something creative, but she said she also wanted to incorporate elements of business into her work.

“I knew I wanted something creative and business-y, and my mom introduced me to the idea of advertising,” the Connecticut native said.

Koiva said she was introduced to Temple’s advertising program through one of the university’s accepted student days.

“We had a little listen-in workshop, and it was all about the tracks, and they talked about the art-direction track,” Koiva said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that is exactly what I want to do.’”

Koiva first became familiar with graphic design in high school. She took an independent study seminar in which her and two other students worked for a block period with one teacher.

“I loved the idea of being creative without having to be a painting artist,” Koiva said.

In the first two years of the program, advertising students don’t take as many courses in their specific track and most are business-oriented, Koiva said.

Although she did stick with the art track, Koiva knew she became more interested in the business side of advertising when she was “naturally excelling” with the coursework.

“The business side is still very creative in many ways,” Koiva said. “I stuck with the track because I knew it was good to have a very wide variety of skills, and I think it has helped me be unique, that I want to do more of the account management, client services side with that design background.”

Koiva is vice president of Temple Ad Club and said being involved with the club since her freshman year has taught her more than what she would have learned from a traditional classroom experience alone.

“It was really good to have a group of kids to look up to and network with, and I learned a lot from them,” Koiva said.

Koiva also worked with Diamond Edge Communications, which gave her a chance to learn the design tools earlier on in her education. She was also able to work in teams with art directors, copywriters and an account manager, which is a lot like the “real world” of advertising, Koiva said.

The club would also go on agency crawls, both in Philadelphia and New York City. When she visited the New York agencies, it “ignited this little obsessive fire” to live in the city.

Before starting her job, Koiva said she is going to spend time at home in Connecticut with her family. She currently has an internship with Temple’s College of Public Health in its marketing department and plans to freelance for the college over the summer.

Her job with Ogilvy & Mather starts on Sept. 8 – the day before her birthday.

Emily Scott can be reached at emily.ivy.scott@temple.edu.

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