Two years ago, around Christmas time, I was having a conversation with my mother and stepfather.  I had three semesters of FOX prerequisites and GenEds under my belt and was lucky enough to intern at a financial planning firm.  The most important thing I learned over that year and a half was that the financial world and my happiness were not a match made in heaven.   But what was I going to do about it?  Could I change the path I was on and finish on time?  There was no way I could afford any more debt, I didn’t even know what I would change my major to.

At the end of our conversation my stepfather gave me one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received.  He told me that it didn’t really matter what I picked as a major.  He studied at Colgate and then Harvard Law and said that none of his friends from undergrad were working in the field they studied in college and only a handful of his friends from law school were still practicing.  He said, “Just find something that you think might be fun, give it your all, graduate, and everything else will work itself out.”

After hours of research I had it narrowed down to three options.  The first was staying right where I was, in FOX.  The second was advertising and the third option was dropping out and moving to the west coast to pursue a career in lifeguarding.  Half serious about the lifeguarding, I presented my findings to my parents.  There was enough time to cram an entire degree into two and a half years so advertising it was.  I had my first ad class with Brooke Duffy, and immediately knew I had made the right decision.  Two years later, I am a semester away from graduating with a degree in advertising account management, and I have yet to even step foot in an agency.   I spent last summer as a marketing intern at a social media start-up that never took off and was lucky enough to spend this summer/semester interning in the VIP Marketing department of SugarHouse Casino.  Here, I have had the unique opportunity to put the skills I’ve learned in my advertising classes to use in an unexpected setting.

Instead of manipulating consumers into buying our clients’ products over the competitor’s, we use similar promotional tactics to get big players to spend their money at SugarHouse, instead of with our competitors.  As a basic overview, we offer free play (free money for slot machine use), match play (free half or ‘matched’ bets at the tables), and special events to help bring players in.  The amount of these offers is specific to the player’s play and attendance patterns.

At work, I generate and analyze player and attendance reports to find trends that we then use to craft offers as well as evaluate the overall experience.  That experience includes everything from the day to day promotions to the menu in the VIP Lounge.  I also have a hand in off-site event planning.  We host dinner events, concerts, and sporting events that we use to make players more partial to our casino.  This was not something I expected going in, but was such an exciting part of the job.  The only thing more fun than planning the events, was attending them!  When I’m not running reports or brainstorming changes, I’m on the casino floor building and maintaining relationships with players.

I never expected to learn so much from SugarHouse, nor did I ever think that an internship could be so enjoyable.  I could go on forever talking about how much fun I had, and continue to have at work, but I guess I’ll wrap it up with some words of advice since I’ve been rambling on a bit too long.  As a Temple SMC Advertising student: You are marketable, employable, and have a tremendous amount to offer.  There are hundreds of companies who are looking for employees who think outside of the box, and have fun doing it so don’t limit yourself or your talents to the agency world if you aren’t completely sold on it.  There are a myriad of opportunities out there, you just have to do what you do best to find them; get creative.