Feb 16, 2010

Wong wins national recognition

by Melinda Zosh

Senior advertising major Christopher Wong was one of 49 students honored at the American Advertising Federation’s (AAF) 2010 Most Promising Students Program at the New York Athletic Club in New York City Feb. 2-4.

The program is the “premier advertising industry award program to recognize and recruit outstanding minority college graduates in advertising, marketing and media communications,” according to aaf.org.

Advertising professor Angela Widgeon nominated Wong for the program in the fall, because she felt that he had a strong chance to win, she said.

“I was already impressed with him, but he also had the grades to support a nomination,” Widgeon said. “I knew Chris was the right (nomination), because he gives God the glory for this honor.”

AAF Mosaic, the subdivision of AAF that organizes and the Most Promising Students Program asks faculty advisors of AAF college chapters to nominate students who would make “great professionals,” Widgeon said.

Wong’s background in broadcasting encouraged Widgeon decision to nominate him, because his audio and video experience “made him a strong candidate to have multiple skill sets.” The new trend in advertising is integrated marketing, background in multiple areas of communications, according to Widgeon.

The AAF requires that the students be of African, Asian, Latino, Native American or Pacific Islander descent and hold a minimum GPA of 3.2 overall and 3.22 in their majors. The students must also graduate within the 2010 calendar year and be nominated through an AAF-affiliated college chapter, according to the AAF Web site.

Wong met the group’s GPA requirements, but he was surprised that the recruiters did not ask about his grades. They wanted to know more about his real world work experience, he said.

“None of the companies asked ‘How are you doing in your classes?” Wong said. “You go to college to get good grades, but I learned that it is not so much how you (perform) in class, it is more about what you do.”

Wong, who interned at ABC-13 in the commercial production department, emphasized his work experience to recruiters of two global business companies, General Mills and Interpublic Group (IPG).

Both the companies interviewed Wong for a job starting after graduation in May. IPG offers a two-year paid internship with four different companies. Many people get hired after the internship, and Wong would like to be one of them, he said.

Wong was surprised by what kind of experience most of the companies were seeking—business skills. He wants to be on the creative end of advertising, but only three out of 30 companies were seeking creative workers.

“GM was looking for people with experience in promotional marketing, which combines business, public relations and advertising into one thing,” Wong said.

When he visited globally renown advertising agency McCann-Erickson, Wong learned an important lesson about the future of advertising and marketing, he said.

“The new things that companies are doing with social media kind of blew my mind,” Wong said. “A lot of companies are doing business on Facebook.”

Wong has changed his goals since his trip to New York City. He plans to learn more about social media and the business aspect of advertising.

“I want to get my foot in the door, and then I can do (the job) I want when I get in,” Wong said. “When I was talking to recruiters, I tailored my perspective to their company, because I want to work for them.”

Wong plans to keep in contact with the recruiters he met two weeks ago.

“The most important thing in the business world is networking,” Wong said. “Be involved with as many things as possible to get more experience. Send e-mails and keep in contact.”

Widgeon said that Wong’s participation in the program is an honor for Liberty University, because it is rare for a college student to interview with top advertising companies with the possibility of attaining an entry level job after graduation.

“The number one reason that (Wong) received this honor was his testimony,” Widgeon said. “He was so humbled that God would allow him to be in this way and that God had bigger plans for him.”

Contact Melinda Zosh at

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