By: Jaci Grachen
Before coming to college, I did not have any plans to major in Communication Studies. My mind was set on graphic design which meant that I would be sticking with Digital Arts as my major. However, the more I got into the major the more I realized that it wasn’t for me, and I needed something with less tech and more people. Digital Arts were some graphic design, but a lot of coding and computer skills. Communication Studies, and more specifically the IMC track, gave me the chance to learn how design and communication became integrated into the marketing industry. I found that this is what I had been looking for all along. There were plenty of chances for me to sharpen my design skills for the work world and improve the interpersonal skills that would help me in the workplace.
To this day, my favorite class within the IMC track record was COM 334 IMC: Message Design. This course had a huge focus on the creation of a BIG, Brand Identity Guide. This involved all aspects of branding, from dreaming up the premise of a brand, choosing the colors, and designing the logo, we did it all. Within the semester-long design project, the professor integrated different types of message design, hence the name. We created social media posts, advertisements, and even a website to promote the brand that we were developing. Although all the work we did was not for a real client, we developed and strengthened skills that we will use in the marketing world, if that is where we choose to go.
I greatly appreciate that I was able to finish the class with a product in my hands that I felt confident showing to future employers. This is one of the best qualities of the IMC track in Communication Studies. Most classes will allow you to sharpen a few very specific skills, implement them into a project, and then end with a final product that is close to a professional level. Granted, the quality of the final product is dependent on the work ethic and skills of the student, but the professors provide the opportunity and leave it up to the student to take advantage of it or not!
Development of Workplace Skills
This leads me to another point about the IMC route. This major, and this concentration specifically, has helped me develop the skills that many employers include in their job postings. As a soon-to-be graduate, I often cannot meet the “experience required” category that many employers want. Time and time again I see the want for a candidate with 3+ years of experience in the industry. This is something that many new graduates cannot meet because they simply have not had the ability to gain that much experience yet. Full-time students can’t graduate with years of experience in an industry because they have been in the process of learning about that industry so that they can work in it one day. However, the IMC concentration has equipped me with skills like proficiency in the Adobe Suite and Hootsuite certification which I can market to future employers to make up for the lack of years of experience. Having these skills allows students to market themselves as a competitive candidate to future employers.
Thanks to the IMC concentration in Communication Studies, I am able to confidently say that I feel prepared for whatever job I land after graduation. The IMC track offers students the opportunity to explore all aspects of today’s marketing industry, and appropriately prepares them to leave the academic world and enter the work world.