Radhika Menon is a 2013 alumna in Communication Studies and Psychology. Currently, she is a Digital Media Planner at Media Storm in New York City, working on the Starz Network account. She works to promote new Starz programming across digital media partners such as The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN and others.
Communication Studies: Tell us a bit about the path you took to get where you are.
Radhika Menon: I became enamored with finding a career in the entertainment media field in college when I interned at The Mark Gordon Company, a TV/film development house in Los Angeles. Afterwards, I sought out more local opportunities on film sets, at social media companies, and at film production companies, and shortly after graduation I decided to move to New York City. I interned at a music public relations firm before moving into a digital role at L’Oreal. About 2 months ago, I used that digital training to transition into my current Digital Media Planning role at Media Storm.
CS: When did you know what field you wanted to go into? What experiences led you there?
RM: I started college thinking that I wanted to go into medicine. After a very rude awakening during general chemistry, I realized that I should play to my strengths — and science was not one of them. I took one Communication Studies class and knew that this was the right field for me. From there, the internships that I did really helped to solidify that decision.
CS: What UM classes or extracurricular activities did you find particularly helpful in your job field?
RM: I still find that many of the Communication Studies classes have not only made me a smarter viewer and more abstract thinker when it comes to media, but also influence my approach when tackling promotion to different demographics. I also worked at the Michigan Daily in the Arts section, covering TV, which gave me my first true foray into the media industry.
CS: Describe a day-in-the-life at work.
RM: The best part about this field is that no two days are the same. Since I’m working on a robust account like Starz, I’m usually working on various parts of the planning process for many different campaigns. A typical day can include anything from exciting brainstorming sessions and meetings with the client to more detail-oriented tasks like filling out creative documents and completing reporting. The job provides a good balance of abstract thinking and implementation, which I really like.
CS: What is one of the best aspects of your work?
RM: The amount of people you get to meet in this job is incredible. We regularly have meetings with a lot of our vendors, and even getting to e-meet people who work at your favorite publications can be really cool. And, as with all jobs, seeing the end product of all of your hard work is always rewarding, whether it’s a custom editorial piece or video, or just seeing the placements on a site.
CS: What is one of the most valuable lessons you have learned from this job?
RM: Being flexible and having the ability to pivot. Sometimes these media plans change at the last second and it’s important to be able to go with the flow and make changes quickly. Also, always be polite and cordial – the world is small and you never know when you’ll cross paths with someone again.
CS: Provide some advice for students working towards internships and full-time opportunities in the communications field.
RM: I have a couple. First, don’t be deterred when you don’t land something in the field you want right away. It took me a lot of time and a lot of jobs before I found something in entertainment, and each position was helpful in getting me here. Second, keep your LinkedIn updated. The rumors are true — recruiters really do use the social tool to find prospective employees, so having the most up-to-date profile will only benefit you. (I actually got my current job through LinkedIn, so I’m not just saying it!) And lastly, utilize the Michigan alumni network to your fullest. I have landed some of my internships through alums, and every job I’ve had has had some kind of a Michigan connection. Go blue!
Radhika will be returning to Ann Arbor in November as a panelist for our Entertainment Media Career Forum! Students are encouraged to attend to learn more about her journey.