VSA goes to college

Pat Palmer speaking to students at Illinois Wesleyan University (image courtesy of IWU)

With the beginning of every new school year, VSA leaders hit the lectern, guest-speaking and teaching courses at liberal arts, design and business schools around the country. This fall, Strategy Practice Lead Eric Martinez is teaching at NYU Stern, Strategy and Analytics Discipline Lead Patrick Palmer will speak to students at Illinois Wesleyan University and Digital Discipline Lead Cory Clarke will lead two classes at Miami Ad School.

We asked them to share what students are most interested in learning from an industry professional rather than their everyday professor. Here’s what they had to say:

“The academic structure can tend to separate the creative process from the practicalities of business, particularly if students are working on abstract, client-less projects. My students have always pushed for more concrete and tangible work with real-world implications.” —Cory Clarke

“I’m speaking to a lot of liberal arts students, and they’re interested in translating their skills and experiences into a meaningful career path. They get excited when they learn that creativity and individual ‘quirks’ or passions are welcomed in the agency world. So often they’ve been programmed to ‘be professional,’ which can come across as boring—I encourage them to reveal their deeper story (within reason).” —Patrick Palmer

“Business schools are known for teaching their students to be very analytical and strong on the financial front. But they’re not known for turning out creative or visionary students. This year, NYU Stern has redesigned its mandatory freshman seminar to focus on “leadership through innovation,” to teach every incoming freshman the fundamentals of design thinking and emotional intelligence. It shouldn’t be surprising that the liberal arts students are clamoring for practical applications of the critical thinking and creative abilities, while the business school students are learning to complement their analytical abilities with creative abilities. It really adds up to the need for full-brain thinkers in the modern workplace.” —Eric Martinez