It hasn’t been long since Carissa Kelley Conteh was a master’s student at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication here at Texas State. But now, she is one of the 32 communication experts recognized by Ad 2 Dallas, an affiliate of American Advertising Federation (AAF) Dallas, for advertising professionals who are 32 years old and younger.

Conteh graduated from the SJMC Master’s program in Spring 2017. She said the program added value to her previous work experiences when applying for a position at her current work company, Saatchi & Saatchi in Dallas.

“Interviewers seemed to be impressed when they saw my thesis topic, The Use of Twitter by Millennial Black Women During the 2016 Presidential Election, asking me to share more about it,” Conteh said. “It taught me the value of research. Research is very important to Toyota and we do a lot before we develop campaign creative.”

Saatchi & Saatchi is a global communications and advertising agency working with several companies including Toyota.

Conteh said no day looks the same at Saatchi & Saatchi. “Each account team works on two to four vehicles at any given time. Those vehicles are usually in different stages of the campaign development process.” She continues, “On any given day, I could have a creative kickoff call in which I provide insights on the client’s marketing and business objectives followed by a status call with a different client, meeting with a junior account team member on their goals or discussion around celebrity talent for an upcoming commercial.”

Success does not come overnight, and Conteh is a living example of hard work pays off. Her advice to SJMC students: intern or work while getting a degree.

“I feel strongly that you need real life work experience coupled with the degree to really get the most out of both,” she said. “The Master’s program includes a lot of case studies, but there is nothing like going to class one evening and reading a case study, then being presented with a similar business problem at work.”