Published on August 16th, 2022 | by University of Mississippi


Putting Yourself Out There: Ole Miss Journalism Students Land Jobs with BBDO Worldwide

When Kirsten Flanik, president and CEO of BBDO New York, spoke during an Overby Center presentation last year at the University of Mississippi, she mentioned that the company was interested in interviewing more students from the School of Journalism and New Media.

Flanik brought Oliva Dames, vice president and director of agency marketing for BBDO New York and a 2017 UM graduate who earned a degree in business/commerce with minors in marketing and French.

Gulfport native Thomas Lee was in that audience, and his story proves that putting yourself out there sometimes pays off.

“Following the conclusion of the event, I walked up to thank both of them and handed both of them my resume,” said Lee, an Ole Miss graduate student. He said, “I really enjoyed your presentation and would love to intern with you all if you have any positions available.”

Lee stayed in touch with Flanik and Dames after the event.

“I sent a lot of emails throughout the fall and spring to both of them, just trying to keep myself at the top of their minds,” he said. “Kirsten encouraged me to apply for the internship program. I applied and landed the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Flanik and Dames spoke about the global presence of BBDO Worldwide. BBDO – short for Batten, Barton, Durstine and Osborn, a merger between two companies – is one of the largest advertising agency networks in the world, employing more than 15,000 people in 289 agencies across 81 countries.

Flanik said she’s had to bring in new voices, such as Dames, to keep up with changing times. But she’s not the only Ole Miss graduate working for the company.

Other alumni of the School of Journalism and New Media who have worked for BBDO, according to LinkedIn, include Samantha Rippon, Abbie DeLozier, Jasmine Meredith, Mallary Goad, Micah Crick, and Lee.

Lee, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with emphases in international conflict and cooperation and Arabic, plus a minor in Spanish, said he decided to shift to integrated marketing communications for graduate studies because he has a passion for language, culture and graphic design. He puts those skills to use at BBDO.

Another alumnus, Greenwood native Micah Crick, started working remotely as an account management intern at BBDO Atlanta before moving there to continue working for the company.

“I found the job by deciding I wanted to work for one of BBDO’s offices,” said Crick, who was originally assigned to an account management team working on competitive research and providing support before being promoted to business affairs coordinator. Now, she assists business managers in the Business Affairs Department.

Crick, who studied integrated marketing communications with a specialization in visual design and a minor in general business, said she also has learned that putting herself out there can be rewarding.

Crick felt like she wasn’t involved in campus activities until her senior year of college. Then, she decided to say “yes” to everything she could. That led to new opportunities, including work with BBDO.

She became the visuals editor for The Daily Mississippian, sold advertising for, was involved with the National Student Advertising Competition as part of a campaign class led by Chris Sparks, instructional associate professor of IMC, and she interned for Parents of College Students/662 Marketing.

Lee, who spent the summer working with BBDO as an account intern in New York City, said his best advice to journalism and IMC students is to “always have an open mind and apply, apply, apply.”

“I went on a massive LinkedIn internship hunt and got hundreds of rejection emails, but it’s important to not get discouraged,” he said. “… I truly believe that I would not have been in this position if I did not put myself out there – you never know what can happen if you do.”

By LaReeca Rucker

Thomas Lee, a graduate student in the UM School of Journalism and New Media, encourages other Ole Miss students to ‘put themselves out there’ when looking at internship and employment opportunities. The Gulfport native took a chance and landed a summer internship at ad agency network BBDO Worldwide. Submitted photo
University of Mississippi alumna Micah Crick, who earned a degree in integrated marketing communications, turned an internship with BBDO into a full-time job in the company’s Business Affairs Department. Submitted photo

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About the Author

The University of Mississippi, affectionately known as Ole Miss, is Mississippi’s flagship university. A member of the elite group of R1: Doctoral Universities - Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, Ole Miss has a long history of producing leaders in public service, business, academics and the professions. Its 16 academic divisions include a major medical school; nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy; and an Honors College acclaimed for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action. Acclaimed as one of the nation’s most beautiful, Ole Miss's main campus is in Oxford, which is routinely recognized as one of the nation's best college towns.

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