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Tuesday, November 19, 2019
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Alumni Think Digital at Emerson LA Panel

panelists at ELA
Panelists talk to students about opportunities for recent graduates in digital entertainment. Photo/Ana Rosal ’20

By Ana Rosal ’20

Any recent graduate knows the stress of finding a first job out of college. But what if you were told that you knew some valuable information many executives didn’t?

That’s what Emerson Los Angeles’s Think Digital panel was all about.

On October 15, a group of successful Emerson alumni working in different areas of the industry shared their insight into opportunities in the digital sphere. Panelists included Joe Adams ’96, director of studio operations, Disney Digital Network; Jennifer Garnick ’07, vice president of communications at Independent Film & Television Alliance; Max Goldberg ’07, senior manager at the Meredith Corporation; Nikolai Jackowski ’17, creative operations coordinator at BuzzFeed; and Floramae Yap ’06, senior manager of social strategy at WarnerMedia.

The moderator, Kathleen Barth ’09, a senior account manager at Fullscreen Media, has been working in the digital space for over 10 years.

“Social media didn’t exist when I started and I just took the job,” Barth said. “And now, 11 years later, I get paid a good amount of money to do that same job.”

Barth explained that many “traditional” entertainment roles, like being a script reader, aren’t jobs anymore.

“There’s a whole new realm of opportunities,” Barth said. “I hope some of the people who spoke on the panel gave some people ideas on how they can use their passion for entertainment and make it a successful job where being a 20-something really makes a difference.”

Goldberg said that being able to translate and communicate all things digital is a key skill that companies need.

“That’s one of the things I’ve noticed about Emerson kids who I have helped get placements. You guys can translate this stuff into English and it seems really obvious, but it’s so valuable to people,” Goldberg said. “Know that the communication skill, just merely describing what you did today, is a huge competitive advantage [for] getting you hired.”

Panelists also discussed job opportunities in digital and the importance of learning how to use different online programs versus already being adept in them.

“I found it to be really helpful to hear that knowing [various] software is not necessarily required for jobs in digital; it is more important to be able to figure it out,” said Emerson LA student Rachel Gaudet ’20. “There are so many programs, so it was really reassuring and makes me feel more comfortable applying to jobs in digital.”

Knowing that interviewing is a critical component of landing a job, Adams offered tips on how to ace the interview process.

“When you do an interview, you should ask the interviewer as many questions as they ask you,” Adams said. “You need to show the person [who’s] hiring you that you care as much about this job, and you’re trying to figure out if it’s the right fit for you.

“For me, I’m trying to figure out if you’re crazy. You should be trying to figure out if I’m crazy. Make it a two-way conversation.”

Gaudet said she appreciated having the opportunity to speak with some of the panelists one-on-one after the event.

“The piece of advice that stuck with me most was to know when to leave a company,” Gaudet said. “Loyalty means nothing if there’s nowhere to move up. That’s something that’s hard to learn and get comfortable with, so it was really useful to hear that from folks within the industry.”