Creative director at local advertising agency earns Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications, gains valuable insight into their career
Patrick Piper, Group Creative Director at VMLY&R, graduated from KU this May with a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. Piper’s decision to join the program stemmed from KU’s excellent reputation as a journalism school, and the classes he took exceeded those expectations.
“[My favorite memory was] taking Marketing Ethics from Professor Charles Marsh. I had no idea what the class was going to be, and it was nothing like what I was expecting. I learned about the great philosophers and how to use their decision models to help solve marketing and business problems.”
Find out more about Patrick and what he learned at KU.
What is a typical day in your life like?
My typical day is anything but: status meetings, client meetings, reviewing work, writing and concepting. Then there are TV shoots, or edits, concept presentations and new business pitches. It’s all different. There are days where I crave some normalcy, but when that happens, I get bored and want something new and different.
What makes you the happiest?
At work: A great idea in its infancy. So many possibilities and directions it could take. And watching different partners build on it to make it even greater. Personally, it’s movies; watching a new movie or revisiting an old one. I have a large home collection but also visit the movie theaters often.
Learning something new: During the pandemic, I taught myself how to tuck-point and rebuilt things around the house. Before that, I’d never been a DIY person. Then, I taught myself how to cloud prune. I’ll let you look it up.
What motivates you?
Having a lot of problems to solve and working with a client that trusts me and the team.
Why did you choose KU and the Edwards Campus?
I wanted to choose a school with a great reputation for journalism, and I thought I would be able to pay student prices for basketball tickets. But really, [Assistant Dean for Graduate and Professional Studies] Matt Tidwell sold me. I appreciated that he took the time to sit down with me and explain the program.
How did KUEC meet your personal and/or academic needs?
It’s not a sprawling campus so it’s easy to manage and navigate, and there are a lot of plugs for laptops. Laugh all you want, but that’s important.
How has your degree prepared you for the future?
It gave me the confidence to think about the whole picture. I’ve been a Creative Director for a long time, so I don’t always understand the processes or the work that goes into each part of the whole. The program has connected me to some amazing professors and professionals that I look forward to working with in the future.
What was the most difficult part of earning your college degree and how did you overcome it?
I think balancing work and school was the most difficult. Remote learning was also a challenge when it came to collaboration, but when there’s a deadline and a grade on the line, you just work through it. It meant working outside the normal class time on calls via zoom, or just by phone.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
We delivered a lot of smart strategic work in our Capstone class that made me very proud, but I’d have to say my proudest moment was my final presentation for my Media Relations class. It was something I did independently, so I was forced to solve all the problems, not just a few of them. I was proud to finish my year with Angie Hendershot. She’s a fantastic professor.
What is your favorite memory of your time at KUEC?
Taking Marketing Ethics from Professor Charles Marsh. I had no idea what the class was going to be like, and it was nothing like what I was expecting. I learned about the great philosophers, and how to use their decision models to help solve marketing and business problems.
What are your long-term career goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
A wonderful question, and the possibilities both excite and intimidate me. My long-term goal is to go back to work on the client side as a CMO or VP of marketing. Movies have been a lifelong passion of mine, so to be able to work in that industry would be my dream. My plan is to just insert myself in that industry and make connections for the next opportunity.
What advice would you give others who are thinking of earning a degree, whether a first-time bachelor’s, a second bachelor’s or a master’s?
Never stop learning. Accept that you don’t know it all and continue to tickle your brain with new and interesting things.
Learn more about KU’s Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications