Big City Dreams
When Loyola University Chicago alumna Marisa Graven, 27, first moved to New York City, it was not the fantasy she had envisioned.
“I hated it because it was way bigger and way busier than I thought it would be, and I didn’t know my way around,” she said.
It didn’t take long for Graven to get in a New York state of mind. She quickly landed a job with BBDO New York advertising agency.
“I always thought I was a New York City girl at heart who just happened to be born in Minnesota,” said Graven, a 2008 graduate with a communication studies major and marketing minor.
But her big city dreams didn’t happen overnight. Even as a student, Graven was aware of the reality that success wouldn’t come easy. She worked tirelessly throughout her Loyola career to prepare for job opportunities after graduation.
“I did four or five internships by the time I graduated because I knew they were really important,” Graven said.
After her graduation from Loyola in 2008, Graven was denied an internship at Leo Burnett advertising company in Chicago, despite her efforts throughout college—But that didn’t slow her down. Graven started working for a small boutique agency called Lisa P. Maxwell in May 2008.
She worked at the agency for a few months, made connections there and ended up getting an interview at Leo Burnett, where she began working in September 2008.
After remaining at Leo Burnett for a couple of years, she decided she wanted fulfill her lifelong dream of moving to New York City, where she began her work at BBDO in October 2010.
BBDO prides itself as the world’s most award-winning advertising agency. Some of its most prominent work includes the infamous M&Ms commercials in which the candy is often dancing or singing, as well as advertising for major companies such as VISA, AT&T and Lowe’s.
The New York Times recently featured the agency for its spring campaign for home improvement.
Graven has come to love New York City as well as her job as the digital account supervisor at BBDO. Graven helps manage a team with Lowe’s digital advertising, which includes working on display banners, social media and the Lowe’s Creative Ideas magazine app. As part of the account management team, she is one of the primary contacts to help clients manage their needs and expectations. Internally, Graven manages all of the internal groups to deliver campaigns.
“It’s my job to make sure that groups like production, creative, legal, strategy/planning and media are synced up and working toward delivering a great campaign that’s on budget, on strategy and most of all, on time,” Graven said.
Graven said Loyola helped prepare her for her career, and she attributes her diligence to her time as a student there.
“The school helped me to have high standards,” she said. “I developed a really good work ethic while I was there.”
While Graven enjoys her job and her new life in New York City, Loyola and the city of Chicago will always have an important place in her heart.
“In New York City there’s always something new to do, the networking here is great and the culture is great, but I definitely have a soft spot for Chicago,” she said.