Prime Social Group

My first internship following my career change Sophomore year began at a nearby office and a well known local company within the music industry: Prime Social Group (PSG). PSG is known in Columbus and other populated midwest towns for the festivals that they host; in Columbus, Breakaway Festival is the most prevalent festival that is thrown by the company, with many popular hip hop and electronic artists featured on the lineup. The company is still relatively young, and thus further introduced me to the startup company culture within the music industry. This industry, in my opinion, provides ample opportunity for startup projects, as its scope is diverse and ever-changing.

As an intern at PSG, I was able to view how to use social media and community consumer analysis for the events that were upcoming. Being a college student myself, I constantly was audience to changing opinions and preferences when it came to music and performances; I believe my perspective was useful in this sense, and I was fortunate to help on multiple social media and marketing plans for the festivals that were thrown last year. For example, one idea that I worked on specifically was integrating the Greek community into a structured marketing and selling platform with tiers of benefits for those willing to participate; as a member of the Greek community, I knew that much of its population was inside our consumer base, and we would desire to directly target them for events.

Working inside the office at PSG gave me a look at how startup companies within the music industry operate, adverse to my prior experience with a consulting startup. Likewise, I viewed the various roles that played a large part in the operation of the company that I could target with my own career path.

I worked at PSG for about six months as an intern, and then left for Chicago where I have been interning at Hubbard Broadcasting, and radio and broadcasting company that allows me a look at another component of the music and entertainment industry. Balancing PSG with my 17 credit-hour schedule, role as President of my sorority, a position in my local Hillel’s fellowship, alongside my well-being truly tested my time management skills and self-awareness, which became more refined and creative by the end of May. I hope to bring this experience as well as my knowledge from my summer internship back to Columbus in a month, to further my educational and professional career goals.

Sunsets and Studying in Spain

Since I was an elementary school student, studying abroad seemed inevitable, and always part of the game plan. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, with a large Spanish-speaking population. Thus, in my elementary school, one class per grade was devoted to guiding students who could not speak English into a seamless integration of both languages. My parents enrolled me in the class immediately, seeing the potential to learn Spanish as well as English. This decision completely shaped my early education; learning Mathematics, Spelling, Geography, and other topics in Spanish as well as English, not only increased my proficiency in language-learning, but allowed me a broader world perspective as a young adolescent. It also inspired an interest in living where this language was spoken, at some point in my life, and my father constantly spoke of his time studying abroad in Madrid during his college experience.

As I grew older and entered Middle and then High School, my love for Spanish language and culture grew simultaneously, and I knew that studying abroad was definitively in my future. I began to feel heightened desire to understand unique and various backgrounds as well as cultures, even outside of the Spanish language that I had grown to intuit. I began to dream of studying in a Spanish-speaking country, specifically in Spain, and Madrid, following my father’s footsteps. It only seemed right that I study in the same space that inspired my father to so devotedly enroll his kids in the Spanish language; years after his trip to Spain he still carried the same passion for the language and wanted his kids to have the same.

The summer after my Junior year of High School I studied for one month in Barcelona through a preliminary travel program called MundoLengua with some girls in my Spanish class, and this experience really introduced me to the differences in culture and lifestyle in Spain versus the life I knew at home. However, the experience was just that: an introduction. Following the trip, my thirst to study abroad for a longer period and completely alone grew exponentially.

Last fall I began investigate possibilities to travel to Spain or another Spanish-speaking area of the world, and came upon the global option for business students in a meeting with my business advisor. What started as a comment about studying abroad enlightened me to the very near deadlines to apply for exchange programs within foreign business schools and Ohio State – most notably, an exchange program with La Universidad Pontificia Comillas whose deadline was within the month.

I quickly put a lot of my current commitments to the side and applied through the online application with multiple essays and questionnaires; for my top three choices of business school I chose Madrid (La Universidad), followed with Milan and Copenhagen. The only school available that would best fit my goals within the Spanish language was La Universidad Pontificia Comillas, and I hoped I would be a shoo-in for one of the five spots.

After meeting with the global advisor however, I learned of some complications. As it turned out, about 11 students had applied for the five spots at the University in Madrid, and I was number 8. The spots were given on a first-come-first-serve basis, and as my advisor put it, I had a close to no chance of obtaining a spot. As time went on and I waited to hear of the decision for my study abroad trip, my advisor reached out to some of the Spain applicants, requesting an interview. I happened to be working in Columbus at J.Crew over winter break, instead of staying at home in Cleveland – which was when this took place – thus, I was available for an in-person interview. 

When I went in to the office to talk with my advisor I emphasized how dearly I wanted the position in the study abroad program for Spain, that my fluency in the language itself was only a small part of the knowledge and love I held for the country and its past, as well as the Spanish heritage and culture as a whole. She assured me that I would definitely get a school in my top three choices, but once again mentioned the competition for the exchange program in Spain; evidently this year the Spain option was the most popular among all the applications. I left the office discouraged, but with more information on the other two schools in my top three choices, and began to turn over in my head the positives of studying in Italy or Denmark, and how I could begin to pick up Italian or Danish.

About two weeks later, as I was taking my break at J.Crew, I got an email from the Office of Global Business: it contained my letter of acceptance to one of the schools I had applied to.

Quickly and nervously, I struggled against the Easton Town Center Mall’s poor wifi to view my letter and discover the school I would be attending abroad one year later; it was with shock, pride, and excitement that I found I was indeed given one of the five coveted spots to Madrid’s Universidad Pontificia Comillas.

Needless to say, I could hardly contain my excitement for more than five minutes before I found myself dialing my Dad to tell him I would be studying in the same city he had thirty years ago.

I will be leaving for Madrid at the beginning of my Spring semester of Junior year, in 2019, where I will continue my studies at the business school at La Universidad Pontificia Comillas for six months.

J.Crew

I began to work at J.Crew shortly after I made big changes to my academic plan and started looking for a new direction, early in my Sophomore year. I did not want to work in the accounting business that I had been for the prior 10 months, and wanted to begin working directly with people, not numbers. Granted, I think I also treated this job as something easy and time-consuming, and of course, a fun way to make money. I did not anticipate learning a lot from the retail environment, and I am pleasantly surprised at how wrong I was.

Working at J.Crew helped me understand the real gravity of customer service, and how essential it is in today’s work environment, given the increase in technology and social media, and I learned the worth of carrying yourself with grace and confidence to appeal to the everyday consumer. Retail is a competitive environment, and it relies on quick-thinking, adaptation skills, and your ability to relate to customers. This job was especially challenging for me because I did struggle to relate to a lot of the consumer base; I was often placed in the Male section of the store, selling Men’s clothing to a majority of older Male customers. Regardless of this, even if I was placed in the Women’s section of the store, I was still asked to relate to an entirely different consumer base than myself – after all, J.Crew’s demographic majorly consists of mature professionals or elderly adults, as its style is very formal and brusque. The 19-year-old student was not exactly our goal consumer. Furthermore, retail is outright a disrespected position by many people. Consumers can be rude, expectant, harsh, and inconsiderate. And although I do not have many horror stories to tell of rude outbursts or aggressive shoppers, I viewed it constantly and heard about it even more within the retail realm. Thus, working retail also encourages patience, and a thicker skin.

The longer I worked at J.Crew, the more I noticeably began to improve, and I began to feel excited heading to work knowing the bounds I could make in my progress. I became more personable with strangers, and I notice even now, months after working at the store, that I am friendlier and more personable outside of the work environment as well as within. I felt myself take on a more mature demeanor inside the store and with customers, and the independent nature of the associate position made me more confident in my decision-making skills, and more reliant on my quick-thinking during busy hours.

I stopped working at J.Crew after I became President of my sorority and began working at Prime Social Group, because I had to align different priorities. The most important thing that my job at J.Crew taught me however, was that many seemingly arbitrary positions and activities are much more complicated than they appear. The experience made me more empathetic toward other retail workers that I encounter every day, and I find myself striking up conversation and inciting their opinion much more often, as I reminisce over my experiences at J.Crew.

Introductions

My name is Madlin Deignan and I am entering my third year as a Marketing student through the Fisher School of Business at The Ohio State University. I entered the University as an Honors Engineering major… Oh how times have changed! Through multiple soul searches, major changes, arguments with my parents and ultimately myself, I settled on a Marketing degree with a double minor in Spanish and Music, Media, & Enterprise. I am currently working toward achieving these accolades.

My decision to progress toward this degree sprouted from a simple conversation with the then-President of my Sorority, Delta Gamma, a source of change in my life that I never anticipated. While my major at the time was Finance, she asked me about my plans for the future; what were my hopes following school, and how was I going to reach my goals? I mentioned that I was doing a project for one of my core classes on “A Company I Would Like To Work For,” and that I had chosen Sony Entertainment Network, an imaginative choice respondent to my love and passion for music and artwork that feed into the media around us. She followed up with the questions, “So how are you going to get into the industry?” to which I promptly revoked my initial commentary, stating that I would never actually make it in that industry, that it was just a fun alternative for the assignment, that it was not something I could excel in.

As I began to openly doubt my own passion and ability out loud to my friend, I realized how severely I was letting myself down, and how I was indeed diminishing my ability to work in this industry, not because I was not capable of doing so, but because I was not allowing myself nor believing in my capabilities.

The next day, I changed my major to Marketing, and I added on a minor in Music, Media, & Enterprise. If I was going to do this, than I would need to put all my attention and effort into it, and I wanted to act fast. After that night last year, I have not looked back in my final major change; I have since developed a website to encompass my goals in the music and entertainment industry, become more well-versed in the history of music development through classwork under my minor, and secured two internships within the industry, one of which I am currently working in, as an Intern for Hubbard Broadcasting in downtown Chicago.

Outside of my schoolwork and internships, I look toward modern and past literature to further my passions and knowledge about the world around me, with my favorite authors including Ayn Rand, Kurt Vonnegut, Gillian Flynn, and Jackson Katz. I am currently President of my sorority, Delta Gamma, and since my appointment have worked hard to incorporate new aspects into the infrastructure of the group, such as an Environment Sustainability Chair (or Co-Chairs in my chapter), and a Safety and Awareness Chair, which is currently one of my biggest projects within the group. Both of these positions were not just my doing, but inspired by the women who now reside in them. These members work with me to provide new incentives and projects for growth and community impact throughout my sorority, and I am proud to have helped cultivate their initiative into a real role within the chapter and Greek community at Ohio State. Despite the large commitment that my role as President requires of me, I also am involved with my local Hillel at Ohio State and the Buckeye Undergraduate Consulting Club. These groups help me express my interests outside of my sorority, and allow me to network more so throughout campus.

In the future, as aforementioned, I hope to work within the entertainment industry especially in the realm of artist development and discovery, with a focus on artists of underrepresented sectors of the population, such as artists of Latinx descent; my fluency in Spanish, and my plan to study abroad in Madrid the Spring of 2019 are characteristics of this interest that I believe will help me achieve my goals.

This summer I am located in Chicago, Illinois, where I will be working at Hubbard Radio and Anthropologie. Beginning this August, I will be back in Columbus for my third year of school, until I leave for Madrid second semester.

2017-18: Sophomore Year; Discovery, Adversity, & Growth

My Sophomore year of college will go down in my memory as one of the hardest, if not the hardest year of my life thus far. Filled with ups and downs, but majorly downs and hard-earned ups, I learned a lot about my position in school and my state outside of the classroom. For the sake of clarity and promptness, I have narrowed down this last school year into three categories: a state of discovery, a period of adversity, and a final shift into a new era of growth for myself as a student and person.

I began the school year with a lot of optimism and excitement, but I quickly got caught up in the social, and less academic pursuits of Ohio State. It felt more like I was constantly following my social passions rather than attending school, and my first semester grades reflected this truth. I remember specifically a night in October, after spending all night at the library and returning home around 2am, calling my mom the next morning and relating to her how it had finally sunk in that I was back at school – that I was at this institution where I was given the ability to learn without restraint. I was dissapointed in myself for forgetting the most important aspect of college – academics – in the last months prior, as I had focused more on the extracurricular and social life. From that night on, I devoted much more of my attention to my studies, albeit I was behind on some classes due to my previous lack of focus. As November rolled around, I found myself again losing attention in some of my courses, and I began to question whether it was really a question of my own ability to focus, or the material I was attempting to digest.

One of my core business classes, an introductory course, assigned a project to us at the beginning of the semester and required a presentation in class during November. The project was based on personal preference: you had to choose a “dream” company to work for, and then relate to the class why you had chosen the company and the basic statistics, infrastructure, and goals of the organization. At the time, I did not delve too deep into the meaning of the project, choosing a company I would obviously love to work for some day, Sony Entertainment Group.

Everyone who is somewhat close to me (or at least follows me on some social media platforms) knows that I have a huge obsession with pop culture and entertainment, but more specifically, music. I was so interested in the backgrounds of various artists, the reasons certain types of genre and artistic styles were favored by public opinion, the future of music itself… the topic was already riveting to me, so why not base a project on it? As the project snowballed, so did my interest in it, and I devoted a lot of attention to it even amongst my friends.

So, when I was walking with my friend Nyomi one night to the gas station, when the topic of classes came up I did not hesitate to describe to her the project I was working on. After the explanation, she promptly responded:

“So what are you going to do in the music industry? What’s the position you would want?”

I remember distinctly feeling so dumbfounded by the question – why did she come to the conclusion that I would actually work in the industry? Was that not an absurd prospect? My mind instantly rebelled against the thought, that I could possibly be in a position doing exactly what I love doing.

I looked back at her and said awkwardly that I was planning on going into consulting following school, that I just chose Sony as the company because I thought it would make the project more interesting, instead of choosing a company that I might actually work for. As I spoke to her, I heard the doubt in my own voice, and felt the sad counterintuitive standard that I was carrying. For years I had offered advice to others about following their dreams, and here I was, limiting my own goals for what I deemed personally ill-advised. It struck me immediately – what had made me restrain myself and my hopes so? Before she could respond to my admission, I corrected myself:

“You’re right – I could actually work with music couldn’t I? I mean I love it so much, and I already spend my free time consuming it, what could I achieve if I devoted my life to it?”

Nyomi

Nyomi, only hearing what was outside my head, understood little of the revelation I was having, but was happy to help in my life goals. The next day I followed through on my promise to myself: I switched my major from Finance to Marketing, as I believed it more useful in the entertainment industry, and added a minor to my plan in Music, Media, & Enterprise; I quickly also started my own website and blog devoted to trends and characteristics of the music industry. Soon after I secured my first position (of hopefully many) in the industry as an intern for Prime Social Group, a marketing and event management company based in Columbus. These events occurred over the course of my late first semester, but they encapsulate the “discovery” portion of my year. My sophomore year will always be the year that I turned a corner in my professional career; I not only would make a huge change in my occupational goals and path, but I would allow myself the freedom to follow a love and dream of mine.

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Adversity was another characteristic of the year. I was met with many challenges in trying to control different aspects of my life and school, of which many I had no control, and struggled in response. One aspect that was especially difficult was in my transition to President of my sorority. As a 19 year old, and one of the youngest members of my sorority of 200 women, the position in itself would have been very challenging to assume; however, the unhealthy and tense Greek environment on campus made it much more difficult and time consuming. The responsibility of watching over my chapter became my first priority, above my social life, my education, and my well being. Soon, those three began to suffer in response. Although I put a lot of attention on my grades, as I knew they would slip due to my other commitments if I did not, I still performed lower than my potential. Moreover, my emotional and mental health deteriorated, and I failed to recognize the danger in losing that good condition. Although I knew my social life was also taking a blow, I did not realize the ultimate effects that this type of blow would have on my overall well-being; thus, Sophomore year was also a year of adversity, as I grappled with transitioning and maintaining my priorities.

My chapter in particular was undergoing a lot of changes and difficulties that were particular to it, and I felt hard-pressed to get the help from a majority of my members that I needed. Whether this was due to my young age and experience in the chapter, or just a lack of interest from the members in general, I was, and am still, unaware, but it made my position much harder, and any accomplishments much more far-fetched.

Members of my chapter during recruitment

Near the end of the year, I was able to make great strides in my chapter as President when I settled disciplinary measures with the school’s Office of Student Conduct, and put my chapter back on the right track in the still-tumultuous Greek community. I was hopeful at the end of the year that things would get better my next semester as President, and that my hard work and undeniable sacrifices (of my own well-being) would merit more cooperation from my members.

Going into next year, I am confident and very hopeful that I was correct back in May, that this year will indeed boast better tides for my chapter and for the Greek community at Ohio State. Regardless, my year of adversity taught me a lot about the need for clear and consistent priorities; I learned that nothing should come before my own health and mental stability, and that friends, family, and school, should also come before a position in an organization.

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Lastly, last year was a time of growth for myself and my aspirations. As previously mentioned, it was a year of discovering what I wanted to invest my time in, and a year of struggling against adverse priorities for the healthiest alternative. In result, it was ultimately a year of growth due to these other characteristics; I grew into a stronger candidate, a more confident leader, a better time-manager, and developed a very resilient attitude. The hardship and change of Sophomore year was very difficult at the time, and quite an adjustment due to my tendency to calculate my entire future, but it resulted in a much-improved me, and I see that as the silver lining to the hardships. My experiences last year shaped the person I am today, and give me the perspective to tackle new challenges in my future.

I am very excited for what is to come in the next year.

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