Given that, it’s a shame that Boston University is only given three semesters to get to know incoming graduate students. As a new grad student, I am acutely aware of this time constraint – and I’m worried there won’t be enough time to cram in all the information I need before graduation.
To remedy this and soak up everything I can from my more seasoned peers, I make it a point to strike up conversations with all the second-year grad students I can. I’ve met many fascinating second-year grad students this way, and I try to extract any insight from them on the opportunities or weaknesses in their programs. Understanding where they’re headed next helps me hone my own direction.
A visual thinker picturing a better ad world
Eric Suliga, a COM Graduate Assistant, majors in the advertising art direction track like I do. Eric graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in both communication and art from California State University Channel Islands, where he also worked as a Student Communication Graphic Specialist.
The southern California native came to BU having applied nowhere else. The BU advertising program met his criteria for a perfect school– one that allowed him to explore the East Coast while preparing for agency work concerned with social causes. He’s tired of seeing ad agencies employ tired strategies like sex or cheap design tricks to sell products. His philosophy on such matters: “If you see something you don’t agree with, go and change it.” And that’s exactly what he plans to do.
In his closing semester, Eric is developing a skill-set and portfolio to improve the conscience of the ad industry and maybe, along the way, the world too.
Becoming a Bangladeshi film villain is the obvious next step when you’ve accomplished everything Arafat has…
Arafat Kazi is a second-year advertising graduate student, studying to be a copywriter. Arafat is from Bangladesh, and came to BU for his undergraduate degree. He’s a drummer in the Bangladeshi band The Watson Brothers, who recorded their first album in the summer of 2002 after Arafat’s sophomore year. By his senior year the album, “Ohom,” had taken off in Bangladesh.
In the wake of success from “Ohom” in 2005, Arafat started work at the Bangladeshi advertising agency Bitopi Leo Burnett. After a year at the agency, he left for an offer to work as the first full-time employee at the first Bangladeshi FM radio station, Radio Foorti. After working a year at the radio station, Arafat returned to Bitopi Leo Burnett, earning the title of Creative Group Head. Unfortunately, Arafat was forced to leave the agency, and the country, due to simultaneous cases of Malaria and Typhoid Fever.
Returning to the United States in search of better treatment, Arafat decided to stay and find a new advertising job. This proved more challenging than he had hoped given the timing– Lehman Brothers had just collapsed. Instead he set his sights on a master’s degree at his alma mater.
When asked about his post-BU plans, Arafat told me, “After graduating I’m going to go back to Bangladesh to get some things done that I’ve always wanted to do but never could, because I was working and didn’t have enough time. I’m going to record a few albums with my band and finish some projects and then… I want to be a Bangladeshi movie villain.”
He’s not joking. Well, maybe a little, but I’ll still be on the lookout for Bangladeshi movie posters adorned with a scowling Arafat baddie.
I’m grateful this degree has allowed me to meet such incredible people. There’s still time for all of us to better understand one another before disappearing from this ever-changing campus. So next time you’re in the COM lounge why not introduce yourself to a stranger–they could end up being a first boss…or even just a great friend.