Tim Katt '09 was a Media Production major at the time when it was first created. Think about how media and communications have changed in the past eight years and then read on to see how his education has helped him thrive through those changes.
Q: Did you have any valuable internship experiences while at Calvin?
A: After sophomore year, I interned at a start-up. I got to understand how a start-up works without the risk. I could leverage that to get a bigger opportunity with Steelcase. I had an incredible experience at Steelcase where I really got to understand how marketing works in the real world and how a big organization works. Life is pretty linear, so the start up experience where I was doing a little bit of everything enabled me to get the internship at Steelcase. Through that I was connected to another former intern who was a Calvin alum living in New York at the time. That connection gave me the opportunity to come out to NYC. Especially at the internship level, you’re so focused on job, job, job. You may not be crazy about your job as an intern, but if you work hard and find people in the organization that value people who work hard and ask interesting questions, they are more inclined to help you find what’s right for you. My boss was pretty willing to help. You don’t know unless you put yourself in those situations.
Q: What is your current job in New York City?
A: I do business development and partnerships for Carrot Creative. That company is owned by VICE Media which is the world’s fastest growing media company. Carrot creates social media technology and analytics to help activate brand campaigns. I’m the first point of contact if there's a new brand that wants help with a campaign or wants to start a new one. I use a wide range of media skills. Throughout the week I’ll have to do everything from creating a PowerPoint presentation to filming a video, doing consumer research and meeting with clients. I'm always trying to better understand conusmers and discover new ways to reach them.
Q: What is the most exciting part of working in the media industry?
A: For me the most exciting thing is to be a part of the digital media industry as it evolves and see that change in real time. Every day, media changes because of technology. When I was in college you couldn’t shoot a film on your phone. You couldn’t share content or read an article on your phone. Now mobile content dominates communication and 5-10 yrs from now it will be something completely different. The Calvin approach of looking at things holistically and considering how that shapes your worldview or how your worldview can shape your vocation is so important. That perspective is really unique and important to thrive in that industry. If Calvin media productions had been way more technical, those tech skills would have already been outdated the day I left campus. I think that what makes CAS and media productions so exciting is the fact that communication and digital media are going to continue to transform every day, year and decade.
Q: Any advice for current students or recent grads?
A: Within media production, the focus can so often be on the tangible or the output, but it’s important that within CAS, you don’t look at developing skills as checking a box, but you focus more on how to solve problems, how to tell a story. It’s also important to gain experience outside of the walls of Calvin. How can you use Calvin’s connections within the West Michigan community or the alumni network? Don’t be afraid to seek out alums.