Out of My El Paso Comfort Zone, Hitting the Big Apple Big-time


EL PASO, Texas — Armed with my new suit, my resume and portfolio I stepped up to the plate to interview with Digitas, Team Detroit and Leo Burnett, three of the top general market advertising agencies in the country.

When I received the news that I had been selected American Advertising Federation’s to be one of the 50 Most Promising Minority Students in 2010 I could not believe my luck.

I thought wow free trip to New York, but it wasn’t until I got there that I really understood the magnitude of my luck. I was given an opportunity of a lifetime to join an exclusive circle of elite students. My hard work was starting to pay off, big time.

Borderzine reporter, Esmeralda Almanza (center) with fellow friends at the Big Apple (Courtesy of Esmeralda Almanza)

Borderzine reporter, Esmeralda Almanza (center) at the Big Apple with fellow friends, Hannah Schrag from Oklahoma State University, and Gabriel Carrillo Jr from Texas State University-San Marcos (Courtesy of Esmeralda Almanza)

The majority of the 50 students selected annually for the award are offered a job or internship at one of the top general market agencies in the country. Since its inauguration 12 years ago, the MPMS program has awarded 438 students and honored more than a hundred Honor Roll students across the U.S.

The weight of the title alone was nerve wrecking but knowing I would interview with the top agencies in one day and possibly get an internship if not a job was more than I could handle.

My first time in New York and I was already visiting exclusive locations, and playing on the big leagues. Although the program had many activities designed for our entertainment like taking us to Memphis the Broadway Play or the Building Bridges for Our Future Awards Luncheon there was still work to be done.

When I went into my interviews I knew I had come out of my shell and I was no longer in my comfort zone that I call UTEP, but I went in. My hands sweating, my heart beating fast I think I even stuttered a few times but overall I got good feedback on my work.

I would call my experience Interview Speed Dating because it was the same adrenaline of knowing that in one of those tables you might meet the perfect job opportunity.

Not only did I get opportunity to interview with top agencies, I also got to visit Draftfcb and McCann Erickson two of the agencies headquartered in New York City.

For me this was a real motivation because I envisioned myself working in that environment hopefully next year after I graduate in December.

Going from recruiter to recruiter and have them ask me questions, critique my work and give me advice is something I will never forget. Even if I don’t get a job right away I still have the knowledge these amazing people shared with me. I got the skills and confidence to interview anywhere because I left my nerves along with my churning stomach back in New York.

Now that I’m back I would like to thank my mentor and adviser Professor Carolyn Mitchell for making this trip possible. Although nothing could have prepared me for the experiences I lived during my trip. I would not change anything about it, well maybe something… that Korean bar I went to after the program was over.

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