Q&A Interview with Professor Borden

Professor Borden is a Professor of the Practice at the College of Communication, in her first year of teaching. Her courses are Principles and Practices of Advertising, Ad Management, and Advertising Strategy. Professor Borden sat down with Virginia Bonilla to check in on how her experience has been at BU so far.

Professor Borden is a Professor of the Practice at COM.

Virginia Bonilla: Thank you for meeting with me, let’s start with your background in the industry?

Professor Borden: I’ve worked in the advertising and marketing field for the last 25 years. I started in an account position which was definitely not my calling, then moved into a strategy role that aligned more with my strengths. During this time, I’ve spent more than half of my career working in global ad agencies on all types of clients over vast industries, as well as brand strategy consulting firms, and consulting through my practice in a freelancing aspect. I’ve also done voice-overs on the side.

How interesting! And how is the voice-over process?

It helps me see the other side of the industry, how scripts come to life and then go on to become TV commercials or air on the radio. I’ve actually been taking on more projects now that I’m teaching since they are so quick and a fun, easy side hustle.

I know this is your first year at BU, how are you adjusting to the role of being a professor?

It’s certainly been different, there is a definitive learning curve in the first semester. I would compare it to a climbing wall in that there’s a lot to learn and you have to take it one step at a time. Especially at first, there’s a lot of ground to cover as you have to create your own content as a professor. You create quite a bit of material going into lectures, assignments, and planning the discussions for each course. Though I have to say I’ve loved every minute of it, it’s definitely worth all the days and nights I’ve spent thinking about what we’re going to do in class the next day.

That’s great to hear. Though how are you juggling being a professor and consulting on the side?

The survival strategy this year has been rolling back on how many clients I take on. Being more particular about what assignments I take on and considering their size and scope. Especially since I’m not available to communicate with my clients every day.

Of course! I know you spoke about transitioning into a strategy role once you started working but is there a reason you chose to be in an account position in the industry in the first place?

I think back then I started off as an account person because I didn’t know that there were other roles at the time. I majored in French Literature which was not particularly useful in this industry. I also graduated at a time when the economy was not great, so this opportunity popped up, and I was very excited about advertising. As I learned more, I found that there were other positions I was better suited for.

That’s something we can all agree on, is that it definitely takes some time to adjust and find your way in a new environment. As you’ve been in many different agencies, is there a point in your career that you found the most rewarding?

That’s a tough question, especially because an interesting thing about advertising is that you move around every couple of years, which is one of the ways you can build your career. I will pinpoint that when I was the head of the strategy group at Arnold, I ran account planning for three years and that was a very interesting challenge. I got to work with a lot of really accomplished individuals during my time there.

What’s something you’ve learned from your time at Boston University?

Well, what’s so interesting about this job is figuring out the most riveting, clearest, and in some ways the most fun way to bring advertising concepts to life for students. Not only to understand the concepts but embrace them and add them to their arsenal of knowledge. That is something that I am continually learning at BU, in what way to best do that. As a professor, I’m here to help and guide students as best as I can with my perspective of the industry and provide advice on how to pursue their chosen path.

Virginia Bonilla, Staff Writer

Virginia grew up in sunny Miami, Florida. She is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Advertising at the College of Communication. Prior to Boston University, she earned her B.S. in Applied Communications, Public Relations, and Advertising with a minor in Sociology from Florida International University in 2020. Virginia loves to travel and has already been to 7 countries and hopes to expand her horizons even further after graduation.

Nishtha Jadav, Senior Editor

Nishtha is a first-year advertising graduate student at Boston University’s College of Communication. She has a bachelor’s in Business and has previously worked in public relations, social media, and content writing. Passionate about storytelling, Nishtha loves metaphors and poetry. When she is not working, she is probably maxing out her pinning time for the day on Pinterest or journaling in her diary.

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