By Emily Cole
As the coach bus shifted into drive and pulled away from the Simmons campus, students sat inside looking quite professional on the outside but feeling quite tired on the inside – probably because it was 5:45 AM. The Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter here on their way to New York City for the annual Omnicom trip hosted 23 students at Simmons College.
The Omnicom trip started seventeen years ago by Carmen Baez, a Simmons Alumni who went on to have great career success. For many years she worked at Omnicom as the President of DAS Latin America. Seventeen years ago, she started the Omnicom trip in a way that was sort of a coincidence.
“After Speaking at a Class at Simmons I offered to host a student for a day so that she could appreciate “real life at OMC and Madison Ave.” Turned out that 8 students showed up for that first tour. The rest is history,” said Baez.
Since that first year the trip has grown and the Public Relations/Marketing Communications program has only grown. The trip this year featured panels and meetings with the company Sparks and Honey, a networking dinner sponsored by the Simmons Alumni Association, and plenty of time to explore New York City. The trip allows students to learn key industry skills and find possible future employers while having fun with friends and having a truly unique experience. The effects and benefits of the Omnicom trip are well documented and praised. Rebecca Reusch, co-President of the Simmons chapter of PRSSA and recently appointed Marketing Director at the Lennox Hotel said,
“I think it benefits PR/MarComm students in almost every way. Not only is this a great chance for them to network and meet advertising, communications, and PR professionals, but it also gives them a glance into the New York City communications world… It’s been amazing to see what it’s really like to work in the industry, and there’s always a great opportunity to ask questions at the end… Our students get the chance to ask HR professionals any questions they want about job searching, interviewing, resumes, cover letters, and anything else. It’s been quite beneficial to hear from people who see thousands of resumes and what sticks out to them as both good and bad. The trip is just a fantastic experience as a whole.”
Public Relations and Marketing are industries that rely heavily on networking and experience and anything to get a leg up in the job market is something to jump on. The Omnicom trip is unique for PR/MarComm students that no other program at Simmons matches. The real world opportunities it provides create real results and are extremely valuable. Hailey McCaffrey, current Vice President of PRSSA, discussed how she enjoyed the visit to Sparks and Honey, a firm in New York City,
“My favorite part this year was going to the offices of Sparks and Honey. Their firm basically just tracks trends in the world and uses those trends to inform their clients about them so they can use them to their advantage. Last year we were Skyped into their daily cultural briefing, but this year we actually got a tour of their offices and were able to sit in on the meeting. It was so interesting and they talked for an hour and a half about how the 90’s are influencing today’s culture.”
As the bus headed back to Boston after panels and networking, the students took off their heels, but never their smiles. The joy and experience the Omnicom trip provides are unparalleled and invaluable, and the trip is something students will never forget.