Q&A with Marketing Professional and McCombs Marketing Alum: Tam Le

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March 1, 2013 by texasbbacareerservices

Tam BW- Med SqQ&A with Marketing Professional and McCombs Marketing Alum: Tam Le, Client Associate at Landor Associates

Please tell us about your career path as a McCombs alum and how you found your way to Landor Associates:

After returning from studying abroad at the University of Bath my senior year, I wanted to return to Europe, particularly London. At the time, I was interning at a company that placed people in programs abroad so I saw an opportunity to return to Europe for another long bout of time. It would mean postponing my fulltime career but I figured I’d never have another opportunity to take off and travel for months once I started working fulltime. So I took the non-traditional route and searched for internships in London. The University of Bath’s job board just happened to have a posting from Landor, an international branding agency I had been following on Twitter. Thankfully everything worked out; Landor offered me an internship and through BUNAC (http://bunac.org/usa) I obtained a visa to intern in London.

I loved my internship with Landor and I loved the city. At that point, it was my 7th internship and the only one where I felt like I could work at the company fulltime. The work was exciting and my coworkers were very smart and fun. It was great to work at a company whose work I could see in stores (my NY team worked on the packaging for Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum) and on the streets (a former intern thought of the FedEx logo).

After the internship ended, I thought it would be fun to au pair in Istanbul for 3 months. Afterwards, I was ready to return to the States and begin my career. All of my friends were in New York so I wanted to be in New York. After a month of job searching (Landor’s New York office said they didn’t have any open starting positions), I had an interview lined up with the Zagat team at Google’s New York office. I booked a flight and hoped for the best. Luckily everything worked out with Google and I worked there for 2 weeks until my now-current supervisor gave me an opportunity to interview at Landor. I gave Google my 2 weeks notice the following week, making my stint there possibly one of my shortest-lived jobs. I’ve been working at Landor ever since, making it my longest-lived job (almost 1 year!).

I guess the main takeaway from my sporadic one and a half-year career path as a McCombs alum is that sometimes things don’t follow an orderly, logical fashion. The internship at Landor didn’t lead straight to a job offer but if you have patience and follow your passions, things will eventually work themselves out.

What does the internship entail?

Just to fill in any gaps, I’ll give you a little background on Landor. Landor is a branding agency which started in San Francisco but which now has many global offices all over the world, including the one and only New York. We work on many brands in this office ranging from Smirnoff (the alcohol account is my team’s) to the World Trade Center to Capital One. We create brands through strategic positioning and stories, customer experiences, design systems, products, packages, services, environments, and digital touch points.

The business is primarily split in 3 parts: client services, design and production. Client services deals with the clients, of course, and oversee and manage the many different projects that are going on at once. If you’ve done a lot of leadership work in organizations then you have a good idea of what is required scheduling meetings, working with different people to make sure you meet your deadlines. Client services also does the strategy work that goes on at the agency.

The Client Services Internship Program is a way for students and young professionals to gain hands-on experience in the branding industry. It is an opportunity to have an impact on defining some of the world’s biggest brands in a range of industries including consumer packaged goods, financial services, retail and electronics.

As an intern, you will expand your learning process by participating in real-time client projects and interacting with the varying groups in our office: client services, strategy, design, naming, and implementation.

In this program you are guaranteed to learn a lot and have fun at the same time. There will be regular meetings, reviews, training sessions, and a final intern project and presentation.

For more information, check out our PDF: http://db.tt/34FEZKxl

Please share your general career advice:

Take advantage of McCombs’ career resources. Take advantage of the fact that you have a career advisor, caring professors and a network of alums. Reach out to people and don’t be too proud to ask for help. The worst thing that can happen is that they’ll ignore you, which is the same result as not asking for help at all.

Do as many internships as you can, even if they’re unpaid versus an unskilled paid job (if you can afford to). Trust me; you are making an investment in your long-term career and future. You’ll make back all those unearned tips and hourly wages once you near graduation and have your pick of jobs because of your strong resume.

What advice do you have regarding a career in Marketing?

Be sure you actually enjoy marketing. Do you think about marketing outside of the classroom? Good. You should enjoy your major and you should enjoy your job. If you don’t enjoy these, you’re not going to make it very far. Also if you’re in marketing for the money…yikes. I switched my major halfway through McCombs and don’t regret a single thing. I looked forward to my marketing classes and now I look forward to almost every day of work.


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