Art student in Olin minor values gaining business background

  • September 15, 2020
  • By Guest Blogger
  • 5 minute read

Erin Noh, AB ’21, is one of two recipients of Olin’s $2,500 stipend for the business of the arts minor. Noh snagged summer internships at both Almost 30 and Hawke Media. She wrote this for the Olin Blog.

In which area of the arts are you focused? Why?

I am a graphic designer with experience in digital marketing and branding. I love working in this field because I can use my creative skills to deliver a message or purpose to a target audience. Visual marketing allows me to combine my eye for art and passion for marketing. I work in diverse creative fields, including print and logo design, branding and social media.

How do you envision your career path going forward?

I hope to pursue a career path in digital marketing or brand management after graduation. I am open to both larger advertising firms or in-house agencies related to the lifestyle or fashion industry. Because I love working collaboratively with different individuals and teams, I prefer larger work environments that foster this interaction.

How did you find the minor in the business of the arts program? Can you speak yet to the ways it has influenced the vision you have for your career?

My friend who is pursuing fine art major in the Sam Fox School introduced me to the business of the arts minor last year when it first became one of the Olin Business School programs. After talking to my Sam Fox adviser, I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity for me to learn about and prepare for pursuing a career in the creative field.

One key takeaway for me is that I need to be self-aware of my own interests, passions and purpose. Although I always knew I wanted to do something related to art or design, thoroughly thinking about potential career paths helped me to realize that I want to create designs that further a purpose or advertise ideas.

In addition, I not only learned so many new business and management principles but also ways to implement the ideas to my own life. In particular, the core class “business of the arts” was a whole course designed for students to think about their career paths as creatives, and set action steps that can be taken to make those goals a reality.

The program has motivated me to be more proactive about pursuing my career path by encouraging me to research diverse occupations and conduct informational interviews to gain more industry insight. I definitely became much more confident in my career direction and learned about realistic measures I can take to get closer to my vision.

What drew you to the program?

I was drawn to the business of the arts minor because I wanted to learn about art-focused business management principles. Because I want to start working at a company or design firm right after graduation, I thought it would be an opportunity for me to gain knowledge of business fundamentals and management tools.

This would allow me to make more informed decisions related to my finances as I move forward. I also wanted to learn about ways that I can make maximal use of my skills, interests and experiences in design.

How did you land the internship? How did that experience influence your plans for the future?

My business of the arts minor adviser, Sandra Philius, forwarded an application for a graphic design intern position for Almost 30, a lifestyle podcast based in LA. I was so grateful that she informed me of this opportunity. The position was exactly what I was looking for: a designer that creates social media posts and digital marketing collateral.

After the application and interview process, I became a part of an 11-member team that works collaboratively to promote the podcast brand. I strengthened the brand identity by designing new social media marketing templates.

Additionally, when I was about  three weeks in with Almost 30, a hiring manager for Hawke Media, a full-service marketing consultancy, reached out to me through LinkedIn and asked for an interview. I had applied a few months back and was happy to hear back, as I had strongly been drawn to their work.

The workdays and hours of the two companies don’t overlap. It has been very manageable and fun to work with so many different individuals. I love that Hawke Media is a larger scale advertising firm, as I get to interact with diverse teams and individuals.

I am responsible for designing creative assets promoting E-Commerce Week LA. This event focuses on highlighting Los Angeles’ wealth of e-commerce brands and the people behind them.

Through my experiences so far, I realized I definitely love creating designs for various digital platforms that people interact with. After graduation, I hope to continue pursuing this path as a graphic designer. I would prefer to work for a lifestyle or fashion company. I am grateful for my internship opportunities as I can get real-life work experience and learn more about what kind of projects I am passionate about.

What’s the most surprising takeaway from your coursework or your internship?

While taking Management 200 as a part of the minor requirement, I learned about what it means to have a “business mindset,” which is something I never really thought about before. I was surprised to learn that this mindset requires both the ability to think strategically and realistically, as well as having the necessary interpersonal skills.

Some of the soft skills required in this mindset are open-mindedness, communication and collaboration.

During my internship, I learned about the interconnected nature of different departments and roles within a business. When I first joined the internship teams, I thought I would be working closely only with other designers or members of the creative team. But to my surprise, I regularly interact with a wide range of people such as the copywriter, social media manager and partnerships director.

As for my internship with Almost 30, the two hosts of the show are actually heavily involved in all of the production and design decisions. I learned how diverse departments of a business are closely connected to each other and although the roles may be different, everyone is working toward the same goal.

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