Professor John Swan

Advertising Students Thrive in the Shadows of Madison Avenue

St. John’s University’s popular Advertising Communications program has a decided advantage over similar programs offered in other regions: location. Just a few short miles from the center of the advertising universe, the University’s proximity to New York’s fabled Madison Avenue is a huge draw, according to John Swan,  Director of the Advertising Communications program. “There are some really great advertising programs around the country, but St. John’s is located directly across the river from the city where it all happens.”

Offered by the College of Professional Studies (CPS), the program prepares students for careers in advertising as account executives, art directors, copywriters, media buyers and planners. Employment in the advertising industry is expected to grow by 12 percent through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, making this an excellent time to enter the burgeoning field. In New York City, media-related fields grew by 10,500 jobs last year, a 6.6 percent boost.

The University’s location plays a pivotal role in helping St. John’s advertising students secure internships at some of the world’s premier advertising agencies and communication companies. “If you name a place in advertising, marketing or public relations, chances are we’re getting our students in there,” said Professor Swan. “These are internships at the highest level of the advertising business — the major leagues.”

Years ago, finding student internships at leading agencies and media companies could be a bit of a challenge. Now, because of the reputation of the program and its students, this has changed. “We used to have to knock on doors to get students internships. Now, we have top agencies coming to us,” said Professor. Swan. He added, “People who’ve had our students as interns love their common sense and above all, their work ethic.”

Internships often lead to permanent positions after graduation, a fact that is not lost on Professor Swan or his students. To help facilitate this transition, the school holds open seminars and information sessions to show students how best to turn an internship into a full-time position after graduation.

In addition, each semester the student-run Advertising Club sponsors a networking event featuring some of the industry’s most influential leaders. “Since we’re right here in New York, our most recent panel featured five 20-year veterans from a variety of advertising disciplines,” Professor Swan said of the impressive assembly.

Later this year, rising stars from the field also spoke to students about the current state of the job market in advertising. “Students are nervous,” said Professor Swan. “By featuring people that were sitting in their seats just a few short years ago, we can create hope by showing they’re still hiring and that there are still jobs out there.”

Graduates of the program leave St. John’s well-prepared to meet the challenges of the business. According to the Professor, “We’re getting a lot of feedback that our students are learning real, practical skills that they can use starting on day one.” He added, “Employers are excited to know that when they hire a St. John’s graduate, they’ll have a higher level of understanding and can hit the ground running.”

For more information on the Advertising Communications program, contact Professor Swan at: swanj@stjohns.edu