Thursday: MSC in London at GMCS – Digital Trends in Politics, Film and Ad Agency Life

Communication is a tool through which people share conversation, exchange opinions and provide information. Due to the Internet, society is more digitally connected and transparent than ever before.  Online forms of communication deliver news in real-time to content seekers via blogs, social media platforms and digital news publications. Such channels have broadened the range of who sparks the conversation, what information is offered and how the perspectives and decisions of readers are influenced. The GMCS group’s mind was shaped by exploring this concept from a discussion at the London School of Economics and visits to the Comcast/NBCUniversal and Ogilvy & Mather offices. LSE Lecturer in Media and Communication Dr. Nick Anstead led the seminar for Thursday’s Global Media and Communications Seminar session. In his address, the New Political Communication: Hopes and Fears, Dr. Anstead provided a historical account of communication in the political realm, with emphasis on the internet as a new technology and it’s importance. Dr. Anstead outlined the dangers of the internet as “‘clicktivism,’ censorship and coarsening,” because the content shared cannot be easily controlled by the government, uneducated readers can misinterpret information and it can spark activism. He theorized there is a “sensible middle ground” to this debate. The four most intriguing theories Dr. Anstead outlined included:
  1. Risk Aversion and Calculation (Stromer-Galley, 2000): Since politicians view the new technology of internet as “risky” an incentive is needed for them to utilize these forms of communication.
  2. Increased Use of Data Management (Howard, 2006): Political campaigns which use big data to understand their audience and transfer this knowledge into targeted campaigns have the advantage to influence swing voters.
  3. New Elites (Hindman, 2008): The Internet has caused an emergence of influential political bloggers that use online forms to communicate, similar to traditional mediums.
  4. Shifting Opportunity Structures (Cammaerts, 2011): Digital communication presents a new advantage to how a political party crafts its communication strategy and what impact or benefit it will have on a particular audience.
Dr. Anstead concluded: “Outcomes are generated by an interaction between characteristics of new media and older facets of political life — institutions, wealth, and, especially, power. We need to need to look for different ways to measure impact of new communication technology. The information society — and the norms and expectations that come from it — is an everyday reality and will do much to shape people’s expectations of politics and government.” photo-21 The executive strategy team at Comcast/NBCUniversal London provided an in-depth introduction to how marketing is executed for film.  The area of digital integration was the most interesting perspective . NBC Universal Vice President of Digital Marketing  Chris Massey provided an overarching strategy of digital engagement. Devices (i.e., mobile, tablet and computer), social media platforms, content (i.e., trailers, interactive, images, etc.) and measurement (i.e., clicks, likes, shares, analytics, etc.) are the areas of importance for digital strategy. Massey described the TrueView, the five second ads that play prior to a YouTube video, as a new technology that challenges the advertisers ability to capture a viewers attention in a short time span. He noted the use of digital technology is about using creativity to engage audiences to drive the desired message and response. photo-4   Ogilvy & Mather UK CEO Cheryl Giovannoni welcomed the GMCS group and provided background on the agency and their award winning office. The executive team discussed the role of the structure of the account team and role of the ad agency. As some may know, the account team consists of a planner, account manager(s), creative, digital and production. The goal of the ad agency is to bridge the strategy gap between the client and their target audience. They shared a variety of case studies but the one most appealing was the Dove “Real Beauty” Campaign. One of the innovative digital methods they employed to engage women was creating banners ads based on positive messages shared via social media posts. Algorithms were used to capture these posts and repurpose them into banner ads. In one week’s time, this campaign generated 253 million impressions, in addition to producing 171 million banner ads and leveraging publicity along the way.  To conclude the day, Working Title Films secured tickets for the group to enjoy Billy Elliot The Musical, which they produced!  billy-elliot                    

Wednesday: MSC at GMCS – Wonderful Dinner in NU Alumni’s House

Today was a rainy day, but the drizzle made London look even more picturesque. It was the fifth day of the GMCS in London, another wonderful day for learning and exchanging ideas.

The beautiful day was started by a lecture from Dr. Terhi Rantanen, a professor of global media & communication at the London School of Economics. Dr. Rantanen is a lovely lady from Finland, who presented the topic “Twenty Years of Media Globalization.” She gave us a new insight about the difference between internationalism, globalization, and cosmopolitanism from an academic perceptive.

 After the lecture, we had a talk-back session with Northwestern alumnus Thomas Hoegh. Thomas is a Norwegian investor and entrepreneur who oversees a portfolio of high-growth businesses in the creative sectors. In his speech, he addressed an interesting point about “sitting in the customer’s seat.” He indicated that the key way for us to adapt the changing world is to clarify the target audience first and try to put ourselves in their chairs.

As I always believed that transpositional consideration is the key to effective communication, his insight confirmed my faith and inspired me a lot. It works not only in business communication, but also in personal life.


 In the afternoon, we went to Working Title Films. A range of Working Title employees introduced their perception of the film industry as well as their working process, after which we watched a trailer for their fantastic new production The Theory of Everything. (I strongly suggest you guys to watch this movie when it comes out!)


The evening concluded with a wonderful dinner at Thomas Hoegh’s home. The dinner was a fantastic experience. The house was beautiful, the food and drinks were tasty, and the saxophonist’s performance was fabulous. Even better, Thomas invited his business partners and friends, according to his own words, “the people who could give you jobs,” to the dinner to talk with us. All of them were very friendly and helpful. It was a great opportunity for professional exploration. Thomas said, “I trust Northwestern so I trust you guys. What I can do is become a channel to help connect talents and business experience.” My fellow MSC classmate Alejandro explained, “It is impressive to see how powerful and supportive our ‘bleeding purple alumni community’ can be.”


 After dinner, the MSC London cohort had a joyful chat in a lovely bar near our hotel. We talked about what we learned and exchanged insights and ideas about diversity and globalization. It was a very exciting talk. We gained a deeper understanding of each other’s view. I realized, as a member of MSC family, we are assets of each other. Today, we learned different cultures and viewpoints from each other; tomorrow, we may become business partners, helping each other to develop our careers.

The wonderful trip became more and more exciting; it brought us a wealth of knowledge and experience. Even more important, it brought us a precious opportunity to develop our friendship. It will become my lifelong wealth.

Thanks MSC, thanks Northwestern University for this opportunity!

Dr. Terhi Rantanen’s Biography

By Dan Hui, MSC Class of 2014

Tuesday: Fourth day of the GMCS in London and the agenda is getting more and more exciting!

Fourth day of the GMCS in London and the agenda is getting more and more exciting! It´s 10 AM on Tuesday, March 24th in London and our communication´s cohort is fully dressed up and ready for another exciting day of learning, exploring. We started with an interesting lecture about the myths of media institutions. The lecture was very engaging and connected to current communication scenarios. Being an international GMCS student in London represents not only an opportunity to meet new people and to learn about relevant communication issues, but also to understand more about other cultures and to try new food. For instance, today we went to a very nice Italian restaurant, where the food was incredibly delicious. It´s always exciting to taste new flavors and to eat some international delicacies! I wanted to engage more with all my classmates, so I sat in a different seat everyday. Interestingly, I ended up having an intriguing conversation with three intelligent senior students about the current legal and ethical issues in social media. Such a great discussion and lunch! With a happy tummy and our hearts content, we moved to the next activity in the agenda, which was visiting two of the most successful and well-known communication and advertising agencies in the world, Starcom MediaVest and Deloitte Consulting. It is impressive to see how powerful and supportive our “bleeding purple alumni community” is around the world. For instance, Starcom MediaVest featured NU alumni Kristen Kelly, who literally made us feel at home. She not only prepared a high level “marketing model plan” for us, but also coordinated a panel of eight experts in the field that provided multiple perspectives of current communication challenges. The experience was amazing and really reinforced my passion for communication. Finally, we went to Deloitte Consulting, where we where we had a 15-minute exercise developing promotional product definition for a sample client. The exercise was fun and challenging! In addition it was very interesting to see how different the organizational culture at the Deloitte Consulting was in comparison to Starcom. The day was included a great mix of education and real world experiences. GMCS has been great example of how the ideal concept can be possible. Thanks Northwestern University for this opportunity! Alejandro castaño marin(President of NU Shapiro, LSE Director Craig Calhoun, VP for Alumni Relations and Development Bob McQuinn, Dean of the School of Communication Barbara O’Keefe and the MSC candidates: Emily Vernon, Dan Hui, Tiffany Lieu, Andrew Hinds, Martina Smith and Alejandro Castaño Marin.)

Monday in London with MSC at the Global Media and Communications Seminar

Bridge The Northwestern Global Media and Communication’s Seminar (GMCS) kicked off on Monday with our first lecture by Professor Charlie Beckett at the London School of Economics (LSE), introduced by our very own Professor Dilip Gaonkar.  Professor Beckett is the founding director of POLIS, the think-tank for research and debate into international journalism and society in the Media and Communications Department. After a highly anticipated arrival and introduction to London, and the seminar over the weekend, we were all quite excited to hear Professor Beckett’s perspective and take on the London media landscape in the Digital Era.  It only took a few minutes into the lecture to be reminded what a great academic experience we were about to have on this trip.  The lecture and discussion included insights about how saving journalism in this new Digital Era can save the world, a topic of Professor Beckett’s publications.  Excellent points were raised about how communication strategy plays such a vital role in this day and age, not only through the media, but throughout global society, politics, pleasure and the economy as a whole. We transitioned into the afternoon with an amazing lunch at Dishoom, an Indian restaurant in Covent Garden.  For a few it was the first time they have ever had Indian food, and it did not disappoint with everything from lamb sausage to ice cream sticks!  The lunches and dinners were a perfect way to get to know the whole GMCS group better and discuss the events.  Afterward, the group had a little time for some local shopping in Covent Garden before our next stop at one of Google’s offices in London. We were hosted by Monika Mankiewicz, University Programs Specialist at Google.  She and her team put together a great session for us and provided a snapshot of the culture, structure and work at Google, along with a few prizes!  The GMCS group got a chance to tour the office and see the many perks we all hear about at Google, part of what creates such a collaborative work environment where communication between each other is a founding principle from Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s early days in the garage where it all started. Truly a great work environment at Google. The MSC London cohort then got a chance to do more sight seeing together, the Tower Bridge (often referred to as the London Bridge) and the Tower of London.  The night was wrapped up with friends and a nice dinner at Jamie Oliver’s recapping the day and getting ready for another packed day ahead. Professor Beckett’s Biography:

Student PicBy Andy Hinds, MSC Class of 2014

Sunday in London with MSC at the Global Media and Communications Seminar

big ben    photo 4 ‘Ello from sunny London! You are probably thinking that the words sunny and London do not belong in the same sentence, but in fact we have been very fortunate to have the sun join us for our first few days in England. What a warm welcome it has been. Today marked our second day of activities for the Global Media and Communication Seminar (GMCS) in London. Last night we had the pleasure of seeing a theatre performance, The Weir, together as a group at the Wyndham’s Theatre following a delicious British meal at Browns Bar & Brasserie. After a night of enjoying the theatre scene in London together on our first official day, we decided to take Sunday morning at a slower pace as we are all trying to get acclimated to the time difference after traveling across the pond. We – the six graduate students from the MSC program – started our morning off with some caffeine and pastries before heading out to explore the beautiful, historical and cosmopolitan city that London is. Our adventure began by riding the Tube to the Green Park station. For those of you who may not be familiar with British jargon or London, the Tube is the London Underground, which is their mass transportation system. After arriving at the station, we took a stroll through one of the Royal Parks, Green Park, towards Buckingham Palace. It was very peaceful and serene – and full of life with budding trees and blossoming flowers. You can tell spring is in the air here! After exploring the area and seeing some iconic London landmarks, such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament and the London Eye we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our GMCS opening reception, hosted by the Director of the London School of Economics (LSE), Craig Calhoun. Our very own President Schapiro and Dean O’Keefe of Northwestern University also welcomed us. Our fellow students from Northwestern were not the only ones to join us at the reception as we also had a few LSE students and Professors from their MSc Global Media and Communications program. It was a wonderful evening had by all and a great way to kickoff our weeklong activities of seminars, site visits and fun in London. This past weekend was action-packed and I look forward to seeing what the other day’s have in store for us as temporary expats in London. Cheers! photo 2 By Emily Vernon, MSC Class of 2014

Lucky 13

Work hard and surround yourself with people smarter than you, and you can be awfully lucky.”  As I read this quote in a blog by Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local, it brought to mind Northwestern and my 2013 MSC cohort. The day I received my acceptance letter into Northwestern’s MSC Program, I felt like I won the lottery. As I first listened to each member of my cohort introduce themselves on orientation day, I thought, how did I become fortunate enough be in this program and among this amazing, talented group of individuals? Hard work was definitely a part of it, but a lot of luck was also involved. It was clear from the start that we were as interested in the value of coming together as a cohort as we were in the content of our classes. As the year progressed, we became a tightly knit group, helping and supporting each other along the way. Even now, seven months after graduation, our bonds remain strong. If anyone needs advice on a work project, a new opportunity or an upcoming interview, an inquiry on our Facebook page instantly brings a dozen or more responses. Announcements of new jobs are greeted with a barrage of well wishes and congratulations. Happy hours, lunches, dinners and other outings help us strengthen our resolve and celebrate our successes. In our final term of the Program, our Ethics professor Dr. Hariman spoke on Aristotle’s theory of friendship. According to this theory, there are three types of friends:
  • Pleasure friends are the people you have fun with – they are like your Facebook friends.
  • Utility friends are the people that are useful to you – your networks. In other words, your LinkedIn friends.
  • Virtue friends help you become a better person. They understand who you truly are and hold you to a higher standard. They are your moral compass.
Virtue friendship resonated with MSC 2013. We now had a term to explain what we were experiencing. In 10 intense months, we had learned what we were capable of and challenged each other to become our best, even when we felt our worst.  And, we continue to do so. As one of my fellow cohort members often says, “We have each others backs and always will.” I am still in awe of and learning from MSC13. Our cohort is one of the most enduring and valuable aspects of the MSC Program. During my time at Northwestern I not only gained an incredible amount of knowledge, I also earned true virtue friends. We are – and always will be – lucky 13. By Barb Lack, MSC Class of 2013

MSC Class of ’14 Celebrates Week 10, Term 2!

It’s week 10 and after Saturday, we officially have completed half of the MSC program! To celebrate (and to get together outside of Francis Searle), fellow classmates, Martina Smith, Andy Hinds and Pablo Lopez organized an awesome bowling event at Lucky Strike, Chicago.  After class last Saturday, many of us headed down to the city for a night of bowling, socializing, and as it turned out, some dancing, too! This particular event was especially entertaining because we all got to be together around a playful, fun, and non-stressful activity. I forgot how much fun bowling is – especially when you get to do it in the dark, with neon lights and music playing. Check out some of the photos from this term’s social event! I can’t wait to see what the Spring and Summer term events will be! Cheers, classmates! 1958570_10100171628731851_1347390899_nMSC_Lucky Strike_3-8-14photo 1 (2)

Connecting the Dots

What’s really cool about MSC is the way in which material from professors and guest speakers alike always seems to fit together; everything is related and relevant, it seems. This was particularly true this past Saturday. The second half of this term in our core course, Strategy in the Global Economy, is focused on the “retail revolution,” which includes the means in which selling or making commodities available to consumers has evolved.  We discussed this in class and then listened to guest speaker and MSC alum, Dante Ciccione present his material on guidance for effective outside sales, during our lunch break. His presentation was very interesting, engaging and fun, especially when Dante put one of our classmates, Francis, to the test in a sales simulation.  Francis did an awesome on-the-spot job, selling a watch to Dante in just 3 minutes (seen in the picture below). After lunch, my elective course, Hot Topics in Marketing Strategy, focused on the interplay between Sales and Marketing.  We discussed the differences between sales and marketing teams and how there is great potential when those two groups can work together within organizations. Everything that I learned this past Saturday fit so nicely together and I loved being able to draw on material from one course when explaining or thinking about something I’ve learned in another. I  enjoyed “connecting the dots.”  This I believe, is the beauty of our program and the beauty of communications in business. Stay tuned because my next post will be about our winter term social event next week at Lucky Strike Chicago! Post and pictures to come! photo copy 3 (Dante on the left and Francis on the right).


All of a sudden, there are only three weeks left in the quarter and less than six months left in the program. Whoa. Where did the time go? The past five months have felt like such a blur — though a good blur. Making the decision to apply for grad school has turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. There’s really no price tag that you can put on a great education, especially with everything that I’ve learned so far in the MSC Program. I was accepted into the program around this time a year ago. I still can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by and that program is almost over. There never feels as though there’s a enough time in the quarter to finish projects and the stress level has definitely risen as the days progress. But the challenge is refreshing, because despite the stress, it makes me feel as though I’m learning, growing and becoming more of the professional I aspire to be. The Marketing Topics/Strategy course in particular, has been an incredible experience for me this quarter. Professor Kolsky definitely challenges us to think in a different perspective and I’ve noticed myself expand my range of thinking when it comes to marketing strategy. I’ve spent the past five years or so, working primarily in marketing communications, so the strategy aspect of the course has definitely given me a new profound perspective on marketing and really pushed my mindset to places I hadn’t even considered before. There’s an unending wealth of knowledge to be absorbed here at MSC and I hope to soak in every last bit of it as we make our landmark to the halfway point of the program. In less than 6 months until we’ll all be “masters” in communication, MSC ’14. We’ve got this!

Week 5 Has Come and Gone Again

We are already halfway through winter term! When did that happen?  Time sure is flying by! In the crazy midst of our midterm assignments due this week and next (good luck, everyone!), our cohort had a lovely opportunity to again be reminded why the MSC program is so wonderful.  During a relaxing, casual breakout session during lunch, “Working with Recruiters and Professional Staffing Firms,” we had the opportunity to hear from Jadey Ryndak from Paladin and Alicia Yamada from Kittleman. We were invited to ask questions about leveraging our MSC degrees as that relates to working with recruiters and how to prepare ourselves for entering into new positions or new fields. I left feeling very encouraged and very appreciative of the non-stop, very valuable and relevant resources MSC provides. E526A2DD-0C33-4686-9D48-708E1F2FFA85