Integrated Marketing Communication Student and Alumni Profiles
Marist Welcomes Educated Industry Professionals and Recent Graduates into the IMC Master’s Degree Program
The IMC program attracts students from any of the following areas:
- Professionals in the fields of advertising, brand management, corporate communication, marketing, public relations and sales
- Professionals working in other fields, but who have some background in an IMC-related discipline and who are seeking a positive career change
- Recent graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in IMC-related disciplines, such as advertising, public relations and marketing
Anyone that has a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university is eligible to apply for the IMC program. While we prefer applicants with some background in IMC-related fields, we encourage applicants seeking to switch careers. Learn more about our current students and alumni by reading the profiles below.
Name: Allison Ritacco
Year of Graduation: 2016
Previous Education (degree and institution): B.A. English: Journalism from Fairfield University
Current Employer and Position: Account Manager at Hall & Partners
Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions: 1 year of experience working at a Supply Chain software company in Sales and Marketing (Sales and Marketing Assistant); over 2 and a half years working at Market Research Firm Millward Brown with my latest title of Business Analyst
What are your career goals? To be successful in Insights or Marketing Research, either on the supplier side or client side. Ideally I will move to the client side in the next 5-10 years.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist: One I have my Masters I will be able to further my career, be eligible for more money and apply for more senior positions as I develop. I also wanted to learn marketing communications as my clients know it, so I can better serve them in my current job.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development: The Sakai project I worked on in my last course (PR management) was a great project for me development wise. I was able to challenge myself in a field where I have less experience, and working with my team, I was able to broaden my thinking as to how we would solve the provided problem through what we learned in the course.
How has a degree from Marist and your course work enhanced your career: The curriculum aligns almost perfectly with what I do on a day to day basis, so it’s been great having a fresh perspective to enhance my work day. I’ve also been able to teach my direct reports more easily, since I have more foundation after completing certain courses in this program.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master’s degree at Marist: It’s all about time management. Learn how to time manage before beginning this program.
Please feel free to provide additional comments: Overall I’m enjoying the program. A few hiccups here and there, but it’s been a good experience so far.
Name: Gina Rose Sirico
Year of Graduation: 2016, Integrated Marketing Communication, MA
Previous Education (degree and institution): BA, Marist College 2013 (Communications, Journalism & Advertising, Minors in Fashion Merchandising and Global Studies)
Current Employer and Position: Sikorsky Aircraft, Executive Assistant for the Combat Rescue Helicopter Program (CRH)
Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions: My first job upon graduation from Marist as an undergrad was as Fashion Market Editor for Accessories Magazine in NYC. I worked there for a year before deciding to change directions and industries to get more corporate experience. Prior to that, I’ve had many internships including NBC New York where I received an Emmy Nomination for my video profile piece with Gabe Pressman, Hudson Valley Magazine, Milford Living Magazine, among others.
What are your career goals? My goal would be to transition into Sikorsky’s marketing department and continue to grow with the company. I also want to continue my freelance work as an IMC consultant to local businesses.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist: I chose Marist for the IMC program because it was one of the only schools offering such an advanced degree in the new field of study. I wanted an all-inclusive program, not just a marketing or communications masters; the IMC program allows me to see the whole picture and get a broader knowledge of the ever-changing industry. Since I had an amazing undergraduate experience at the college, I wanted to continue my education at a school I know and trust. Marist also offered the part-time online option, which was the best graduate study experience for me.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development: I recently completed a SWOT analysis of my company for an assignment in Marketing Foundations and it helped me see the current IMC strategies and what we can improve on. The assignment also allowed me to reach out to the Director of Marketing at the company and interview him on his thoughts. Developing this professional connection is great for advice and mentoring. It will help me in the future to have this connection when I wish to transition into that department.
How has a degree from Marist and your course work enhanced your career: My course work allows me to be more engaged in marketing decisions in my current role, when I attend meetings on our program’s marketing and any communications I engage in with the team. I will be responsible for updating the plasma screens for our program, essentially a “news channel” announcing company and program updates for employees.
My current course work in IMC helps me think about my company’s IMC strategies and what they can improve on. My IMC degree from Marist has helped me focus my career goals even more, in that I truly care in the subject matter and want to use everything I have learned in my next position with the company.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master’s degree at Marist: If you don’t think you have time, part-time is really a great option, especially for an online degree. There are due dates, but you can manage your time wisely and get everything done. I plan my time to allow for days off as a reward to completing something early. Group work is a challenge, but communication is key. As long as everyone knows their role in the group and you have regular online meetings before an assignment is due, it can be done well. You can still have a life outside of work while completing your degree! Take one class at a time, one assignment at a time and the courses fly by!
If you took an online class or had online learning as part of a regular course, tell us about your experiences – any tips or suggestions to pass along to future students? Check iLearn regularly! Professors often post important announcements, and everything you need for the course is there on your course site. Participating in forums helps to get to know other online students. Chat rooms also let you interact with group members and classmates real time. Set aside time to be online and free of distractions for any timed quizzes or exams. It’s like being in a classroom, only on your computer! Your professor is usually quick to respond to questions/concerns, so ask them if you have any doubts. Professors usually have their own chat room times scheduled, so join it and ask as many questions as you have.
Name: Brianna Rendine
Year of Graduation: 2015
Previous Education (degree and institution): BA – Communications / William Paterson University
Current Employer and Position: Konica Minolta Business Solutions; Learning Systems Technologies Analyst
Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions:
- Konica Minolta Business Solutions; Learning Systems Technologies Analyst – 3 ½ years
- RE/MAX Legend; Marketing Coordinator – 1 ½ years
- Clear Channel Communications; Promotions Assistant – 3 ½ years
What are your career goals? Run an interactive marketing department at a Fortune 1000 company or greater focusing on social media marketing campaigns/branding
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist: I loved the IMC program and wanted to get my degree from Marist.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development: The social media course helped me further my education and knowledge on how to use tools that we use on our personal lives and leverage them on a corporate level. I was able to apply theories right away at my current position and grow exponentially over the 8 week class.
How has a degree from Marist and your course work enhanced your career: Being able to apply knowledge immediately without waiting for the program completion. That type of education is invaluable when it can be used right away.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master’s degree at Marist: Be prepared to work and work with others. You will not regret your decision – your hard work with pay off greatly during and after you receive your degree.
If you took an online class or had online learning as part of a regular course, tell us about your experiences – any tips or suggestions to pass along to future students? Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It is a different way of learning but as long as you are open, you will do just fine.
Name: Kelly Apfel
Year of Graduation: 2016
Previous Education (degree and institution): SUNY Purchase College - Bachelor's Degree in Communications, minor in Psychology; Rockland Community College – Associates in Liberal Arts; Aberdeen College – Associates in Hospitality Management
Current Employer and Position: Community Based Services, Inc. Executive Assistant. I manage the nonprofit department Good Reasons.
Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions: I worked in many restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels at home in Scotland, which led to my interest in pursuing Hospitality Management. However after I moved to the USA and my Au Pair in America role was complete, I decided to go back to College for Psychology. During my time as a student I did some more bartending, was a nanny and worked within the Internship Department at RCC. I also worked for a finance company in Westchester for several years as a Sales Associate, Operational Associate and then Operational Manager. I have now been with Community Based Services for just over one year. CBS provides residential and community support to people with disabilities. I took the job with an open job description which within a year now has me responsible for our new Good Reasons nonprofit department, as well as PR, Marketing, Social Media and Fundraising for GR and CBS.
What are your career goals? I am enjoying my experience at CBS. In one year I have learned how to build a new business from the ground up, and hope to continue to see that grow. I am committed to learning more about the CBS agency and would like to remain with the nonprofit sector.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist: I wanted to pursue Graduate school, I chose Marist for several reasons. I live in Poughkeepsie therefore have close access to the College. However most importantly I have grown to love the Marist community and the beautiful campus, and was very excited to become a Red Fox. Additionally, the IMC course was a perfect match for the interests I wanted to pursue in education and career. The online aspect was the final perfect piece. The flexibility to study online is really the only way I could have made it work with all my other commitments.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development: All of the IMC courses have provided their own unique aspects that I am able to use in my professional role, however the Public Relations and Social Media courses lined up perfectly with my position at work. I took the PR class as we were launching Good Reasons, therefore really learned what was needed to ensure a successful launch and build longevity for the company. Additionally, the same month I was enrolled in the social media class was the same month my CEO gave me full responsibility of all social media outlets for Good Reasons and CBS. These courses have given me the confidence and knowledge to help these nonprofits grow, and have helped enhance my position with the agency.
How has a degree from Marist and your course work enhanced your career? The IMC degree has somewhat enabled me to craft my own job role within the agency. I am fully able to use what I learn in class and put it into effect at work. Being able to study and get an education within an area I am passionate about, and then do it professionally has been a great experience.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master's degree at Marist? Marist offers so many courses, and so many flexible options that I would definitely recommend it. The only down side to the online program is that you don't get to enjoy the beautiful campus. But if you have many other life commitments then the online course is a perfect way to get a meaningful education while still being a part of the Marist community.
If you took an online class or had online learning as part of a regular course, tell us about your experiences – any tips or suggestions to pass along to future students? The Marist online classes are fantastic. They are well structured and organized to ensure each student knows what is expected. The professors are quick to respond to emails, and provide helpful feedback. The content is interesting, well thought out and usually involves case studies of real life situations and topics. The classes provide opportunities for interaction with classmates and forum discussion which help you get more out of the class. Most classes offer group projects which encourages that community spirit and interaction.
Name: Rebecca McGuire (Faucher)
Year of Graduation: 2015
Previous Education (degree and institution): B.A. in Communications/Public Relations with a Minor in Psychology from Marist College ‘05
Current Employer and Position: The Foote School, Assistant Director of Development and Alumni Programs
Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions:
- Currently- Assistant Director of Development and Alumni Programs at The Foote School
- Development Committee Chair and Director-At-Large at the National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation- 3 years and counting
- Westminster School- Development Operations Manager- 3 years
What are your career goals? To further develop integrated marketing communications as a vital component in the non-profit sector.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist: I chose Marist as it was my undergraduate alma mater and I believe strongly in the education that they provide.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development: In my first class of the program, IMC Principles, I was able to create materials and ideas that would benefit my foundation work. Real world experiences and weaving them into the foundation and my education was the most beneficial and rewarding to my professional development. While working for a small rare disease foundation it is my lifelong goal to support it in anyway possible, and the direct implementation of these ideas was cross-beneficial.
How has a degree from Marist and your course work enhanced your career: Having this degree has helped me make huge strides in the past two years. I have developed a strong background that has allowed me to work my way up in the development industry.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master’s degree at Marist: Marist has provided me the opportunity to gain a master’s degree while being a full-time employee and a mother of two children. This flexibility and opportunity teaches you how to balance all aspects of life.
If you took an online class or had online learning as part of a regular course, tell us about your experiences – any tips or suggestions to pass along to future students? Online learning is completely different from the in-classroom experience. You learn to manage your workload while still being held to strong deadlines. This online program teaches you all the possibilities and opportunities to communicate through group work. Group work is key in today’s world and learning how to manage with colleagues from all over the country helps teach you prospective.
Name: James McKenna
Year of Graduation: 2013
Previous Education (degree and institution): Bachelor of Science in Hotel, Restaurant, and Tourism Management from SUNY Plattsburgh
Current Employer and Position: Marketing Communications Business Partner at Tompkins Financial Corporation
Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions: Prior to Marist, I spent 6 months as the Marketing and Promotions Manager for a seasonal restaurant, 8 months in business travel account management at Liberty Travel, 2 years as a marketing coordinator at Liberty Travel, and 2 years as a unit marketing coordinator at Sodexo.
What are your career goals? I would like to continue to be creative, have opportunities to grow, explore new marketing initiatives, and pursue freelance opportunities. I think the best thing I can do to grow my career and develop professionally is to utilize my skills in different industries.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist: Since it became clear after graduation from SUNY Plattsburgh that I wanted a career in marketing, I felt formalizing my education in IMC would be crucial to my personal and professional development. I was concerned about being “typecast” as only a hospitality marketer. Since I did not have a formal marketing education, it was exciting and fun to learn about all of the concepts I practice every day at work.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development: For the Consumer Insights course, we had a group project where we analyzed an organization, and provided solutions for improvement. This was meaningful because I never had the chance in my work experience to dive into consumer insights. This is an aspect of IMC that I never thought too much about, and was excited to propose solutions. The organization we analyzed was a local financial institution. Little did I know that a few years later I would end up working for a financial institution. The content of the project is proving helpful right now as a look for ways to target the 18-35 year old demographic.
How has a degree from Marist and your course work enhanced your career: Without my degree, I do not think I would have been able to make a smooth transition outside of hospitality. My Masters in IMC has allowed me to expand my knowledge by joining a company outside of my prior industry work experience. It has been great for my professional development to work in marketing for a new industry, and I owe that to my Marist education. I also feel it gives me an edge over other candidates. When I was looking for new employment in early 2015, I had no problem attaining interviews.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master’s degree at Marist: It is important to work at some level in the field of IMC. I found it much more useful to be able to apply what I was learning in the classroom to my career. Also, I was able to bring in relevant examples from my work experience. I was only two years out of college when I joined the program, but I had gained enough experience to enhance my education.
If you took an online class or had online learning as part of a regular course, tell us about your experiences – any tips or suggestions to pass along to future students? The IMC program is 100% online. This was important to me in choosing a program. If you are looking for flexibility, this is the format for you. Also, I feel I learned more from an online program. You are forced to engage in conversation with your classmates, read materials, and find creative ways to work on group projects. My advice is to utilize this format even if it is not required. It allows you to have discussions you may not have in a live setting.
Please feel free to provide additional comments: I was one of the first graduates of the IMC program, and I could not be happier with its results.
Name: Kait Smith
Year of Graduation: 2014
Previous Education (degree and institution): Marist College, B.A. in Communications (Emphasis: Journalism), 2010
Current Employer and Position: Manager, Student Experience Communications at Babson College. I work in the college’s marketing department as an account manager, and collaborate with clients on marketing and communication strategy development and project management.
Tell us about your work history before Marist, including years of experience, industry, companies, and positions: After graduating with my B.A., I pursued a career in magazine journalism and worked at a national women’s service magazine as an editorial assistant. One year later, I switched industries and pursued a career in Student Affairs at Marist. I spent three years as a Coordinator of First Year Programs and Leadership Development at Marist before moving into my current role. I also worked as a freelance writer and blogger for three years, writing marketing content and lifestyle blogs for various companies and websites.
What are your career goals? I’d like to find new opportunities to expand my portfolio and expertise outside of the higher education industry. My goal is to consult with small businesses on digital strategies and content creation.
Why did you choose to pursue your degree at Marist: Marist’s 100% online IMC program fit best into my busy life. I didn’t need to put my career on hold to obtain my degree, and that was really important to me.
Tell us about a project or course that was particularly meaningful to your professional development: All of the courses provided their own insight into the various elements of integrated marketing, but the most meaningful overall was the capstone course. I was able to apply coursework from every single class I had taken in the program into the integrated marketing campaign my team and I developed for the class. Throughout our development of the campaign, our instructor constantly challenged us to think of innovating ways to integrate the campaign across platforms, while also ensuring we targeted the appropriate audience and had a solid strategy. The framework for thinking that I developed during that course has been incredibly beneficial in my current position.
How has a degree from Marist and your course work enhanced your career: Throughout the entire program, I was able to apply lessons from each course to my role in student affairs. The biggest impact my IMC degree had, however, was in enabling me to take on a more marketing-focused role within my industry. My IMC degree was a topic of conversation in every interview I went on, and the knowledge I gained in the program prepared me to take on a role at an integrated marketing agency within higher education.
What advice would you give to a student considering pursuing their master’s degree at Marist: Take advantage of Marist’s resources – particularly the professors.
If you took an online class or had online learning as part of a regular course, tell us about your experiences – any tips or suggestions to pass along to future students? Collaboration is key. Even if your program is 100% online, you’ll do a lot of group work, often with group members located across the country! But that’s the value of a part-time, online degree too – collaborating with fellow students who work in varying industries, are located around the country, and bring different areas of expertise to your group work.
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