Emma, a rising senior, has known that she's wanted to go into marketing for a while now, but loves getting the chance to step into the role of creative director (her dream job) and experience life as part of a marketing team first hand. She's really enjoying her Explo Marketing experience, and can't wait to pitch her product to Anomaly — a New York marketing and ad agency — later this week.

How did you find out about it?
Well, I'm really interested in marketing, and it's my year before my senior year, and I want to get new experiences. And my mom literally typed in marketing programs. And the first thing that came up was the Yale 360 program. So I signed up for that, and my mom called in to ask how the marketing classes were, and they suggested I do the Focus Program. I switched, and I signed up for the Focus Program, and so here I am.

Great! What got you interested in marketing?
I'm a really big people person, and I like public relations and stuff like that. I'm also really into the artistic side of things. I was talking to my parents about what I want to major in in college — because we're looking at those things now — and I think I really want to do the artistic side of business. So I think that marketing and working with graphic designers and creative directors, and developing concepts and ideas would be a really cool way to include art and business. Because I know I don't want to be an artist as my career, but I'm also not a suit kind of person. The mix of both — that's the kind of person I am. So I'm trying it out with this program, and I really like it so far.

That's awesome! So tell me what kind of things you've been doing?
We're working on a project where we're rebranding a shoe company. And we basically have to come up with a whole new strategy of how to market the shoe, market the brand, come up with a logo and a design, figure out your target market, and who you're selling it to. So basically, you're put in the position of a new company trying to sell your product. And you work in groups, with a design team, a strategy team, and a product team, and it's like being in a real business. You have to have to put everything together — from Power Point slides to presentations — so you're getting the real, whole experience of it.

It's really cool to be in a place where every kid wants to do the same thing as you, so you know everyone's into it... The program is awesome!

Very cool. Which part are you in charge of?
For the project we're working on now, I'm on the design team. So we're coming up with the ads — the commercials, the videos, the print ads — and the logo and design of the shoe. We're talking about what people are most going to want to look at and be like, I want to buy that shoe. We're figuring out the music we want to put in the ads, the words, the quotes — everything that comprises what people will see when they first see the product.

Tell me about your product.
The product is a shoe called Apollo — it's a basketball shoe — and the idea is that we're putting a jersey from a basketball player inside the side of the shoe, so that people can see it. So we have to design around that whole concept — something that has to do with basketball players connecting not just with the game of basketball, but also the people they look up to. Like LeBron — the people that everyone aspires to be when they want to be a basketball player. So that's the whole idea that we're working with. The motto is, 'One Giant Leap for Basketball.' So we kind of played off of the moon thing when we called it Apollo, so we're still trying to frame a solid idea around it. That's where we're at right now.

That's awesome! How's it going so far?
It's good! We came up with a really creative logo, which combined the moon and a basketball together, and we have the footprint of our shoe on the moon, so, like, the first step on the moon. We created a video concept — we're working on the video right now — of combining real basketball players during a game, and then average kids playing a game, so you find that connection. And our ad is going to be the same thing: a picture of a famous ball player, a picture of an average kid next to it, both in the same pose, with our motto across the center. It's simple, it stands out, and people will notice it. And I can't wait to see how the team at Anomaly will react to it. I know they'll have some incredible feedback for us.

Absolutely, that will be so exciting! So how have you been finding Explo as a whole?
It's awesome! It's really cool to be in a place where every kid wants to do the same thing as you, so you know everyone's into it. You know, it's different than when you're in school, and some kids just have no interest in learning what you're doing in class, and they're playing around and don't want to be a part of anything. But here, everyone signed up for it, so you know they want to be here. Everyone's bouncing ideas of each other, everyone loves to meet new people, everyone's so friendly and just want to talk and get to know one another. The program is awesome! I've heard that this is the first year they're running the Marketing program, and as the guinea pig, I can say that it's an awesome program. I call my parents and tell them, 'listen to this cool new thing we did today, and we met this cool new person!' So it's awesome. We get to meet representatives and creative directors from ad agencies and design firms who come in and talk to us. They tell us about what they're working on and give us tips and advice on our projects, too. So that's really cool.

How about living at Yale? How would you describe it?
It's so cool. You know, this is not my first experience living at a college and being away, but here, they give you so much freedom. And the dorms are awesome — they're really big and beautiful. The campus is really easy to find your way around, and the town is fun. They give you a lot of free time to just wander around and explore and kind of get the actual college experience. You don't have to sign in when you want to go out. You go out and you just make sure you get back on time. It's nice — you get to feel like you're an adult, which is so great. I used to go to this camp where you had a time when you showered, a time when you had to eat, and here, it's like, here are the times when everything takes place, just make sure you get to class and do everything you need to do. So it's cool. I like it!

That's great! How are your instructors, Sveta and Jon?
Oh, so much fun! Well, Sveta is also my Residential Advisor, so she's like the head of our living group. They're both just really into what they do. They're not just teaching the class because they're getting paid. They're so excited, and all they really want us to do is to ask questions and learn as much as we can. They're obsessed with making schedules of whatever we're doing during the day and they want us to get involved in everything. And they have all these great connections! Jon has had five of his friends and colleagues come in — who also work in ad agencies — to talk to us, just because he knows it will help us gain more information. They're both really good at what they do, and they both have different sides. Jon is more into the analytical and the strategy, and Sveta's more the artistic side of things. She used to be in film. So both sides fit together really well. You can ask them both questions about anything, and it's just awesome! They're really good teachers.

That's fantastic! Tell me about the speakers that have come in. How have they been?
They are so cool! Today, we had a speaker who was marketing an ice cream company, and all the speakers have different things that they talk about, that you can learn new things from. They're all at very successful ad agencies, so it's really helpful to see someone who's doing what you want to do and succeed in it, because you know that that's kind of your path. Today, a creative director came in, and that's what I want to be. I had so many questions I want to ask her! And the people that come in are so happy to talk to us. They have their presentations, but they're also so ready to answer your questions, and I got all of their business cards. You can make connections! At Explo Marketing, you can meet people that you wouldn't be able to call up at home, because you just don't have those connections on your own. So it's not only getting to learn, but it's having all these resources that I can use in the future. Like, I'm already thinking about internships after college, so that's pretty fantastic. It's really great to have these resources right in front of you.

So true — making those connections now is so important. Now, if someone were thinking about coming to Explo Marketing, what would you tell them?
I'd say you need to be into marketing. You can't be in marketing and sort of be half in and half out. Because in marketing, you have to be invested. Jon was saying just today, 'If you want to be successful in marketing, you have to want to wear the chicken suit.' You need to go out and you have to want to sell it — you want to sell yourself and sell the product. Not all marketing is about advertising, but you want to be passionate if you want to be a marketer, because your job is to make sure that whatever you're selling needs to get out there. Even if you're on the tech side of things. This one speaker's job was to decide where the ads were going to do. He didn't even design the ads, just decided where to place them, but he had all these ideas of what would work best where. Because he had all this experience and passion for what he was doing, and he was able to bring all that to the table. And this program is the best way to explore that interest even further, and find out which facet of marketing is the best fit for you. It's just an awesome program!