26 Apr

Guest Post by: Stefanie Grieser, BComm student at UVIC (@smgrieser)

When will I ever use this in the “real world”? This is a reoccurring student question and one that I have dismissed as a rhetorical one when it comes to certain classes.

I know most students sit through one class or another, whether it be English or math, and wonder how the things they are learning in the classroom will eventually apply to the working world. Well through this very brief, yet highly interesting and dynamic internship at Copeland I feel that my Theatre, English and French literature courses parallel to the advertising industry.

And I know what you are thinking: How can English, French and Theatre courses have anything to do with advertising?


Although now pursuing a business degree at the University of Victoria, I always enjoyed literature and theater resulting in my choice of electives, but decided that a business degree was more practical.  Overall, a business degree would surely give me skills that I could more easily transfer to the work place.

I was wrong. While I sat in on a brand audit session the other day, I thought that this work paralleled all those classes that I loved, yet dismissed as somewhat useless beyond my own interest. Let me explain: when unraveling a company’s true brand, you are unraveling their nature and their personality: not what they do, but how they do it. With theatre and literature you do the same. You break down all the words, lines and actions and reduce it to some underlying message the author is sending to its audience, similar to branding, where you break down what the client is saying and in the end you narrow down their brand to one sentence describing that brand. Call me crazy, but I find these concepts are very similar.

The brand audit session was one of the things I enjoyed doing most at Copeland. Speaking with a client and discovering what their brand truly is, is like watching a play or reading a novel and discovering its purpose and message.



  1. Reg Krake April 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Great observations, Stefanie. While I wouldn’t discount the ‘fundamentals’ you’ll get from your business degree, as an Arts major (joint major in History, French and Political Science), I have had an exciting and rewarding career in marketing/business (as well as a few other hats I’ve worn), and am continuously grateful for the education I had. Not saying “Arts vs Business”, per se (both are valuable in their own right), but it’s great to see you taking lessons from your elective courses and imbuing them into your business experience. This IS valuable in its own right — and both sets of studies can inform/enhance the other. Good on you!

  2. Stef April 26, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Thank you Reg!
    While I definitely do not regret my choice pursuing a business degree, I find it great how I can combine what I learned in my electives besides just my straightforward business courses. In fact, while having coffee with Diana today we discussed how advertising combines so many aspects of academia – you have the sociology/ psychology spectrum, the business side and then the creative side to it as well. I think this is why I am finding my interest in advertising and marketing in general increasing. It pulls so many aspects and combines them all together – which is great!

  3. Stef April 26, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Also I just wanted to bring up the ever so predominant Arts vs. Business or Arts vs. Science debate that always comes up when getting a degree! Some people have a bias view on whats a useful course is or furthermore what a useful degree is and I just wanted to post a shout out that these “useless” courses can indeed be useful!

  4. Reg Krake April 26, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Agree on all fronts, Stefanie. It’s not necessarily the degree itself (though of course there are specific skills/learning with each course/degree), but a) the discipline of learning itself (and hopefully an inculcated love of lifelong learning as a result); and b) HOW you apply the learning that become the REAL stepping stones from the degree.

    Keep exploring and making connections between what you’re learning on the page, off the page and everything else in between. THAT is what employers like and respond well to, in my opinion — the natural curiosity and passion (no matter what the vertical or career area) combined with the ability to make meaning from disparate sources and experiences. Best of luck to you — but keep on CREATING that luck as well!

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