OHIO alum at major creative firm encourages students to utilize Bobcat connections
When Madison Sury, BSJ ’19, MBA ’20, graduated from Ohio University during a global pandemic, she was not sure where she would land.
Growing up in Waterford, Ohio, Sury originally never saw herself moving out of the state. She was drawn to Ohio University because of the well-known journalism program in the Scripps College of Communication as well as the athletic opportunities.
Sury majored in journalism strategic communication and committed to the track and cross country teams. When she finished her undergraduate degree and had an extra year of athletic eligibility, she enrolled in OHIO’s one-year master of business administration program.
After graduation in 2020, Sury and her two friends decided to take a big leap of faith: move across the country to Portland, Ore.
“It was a difficult time to enter the workforce because most places were not really hiring,” Sury said. “So, we kind of saw that as an opportunity to go do something that we probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to do before.”
While Sury did not have a job lined up, she knew where she wanted to work: Wieden + Kennedy.
Even if you haven’t heard of the name before, you most likely have seen an advertisement crafted by Wieden + Kennedy. The global creative company has worked with many prominent brands, including Audi, Coca-Cola, Disney, Facebook, Honda, McDonald’s, Netflix, Nike and more, according to their website.
“I moved out here with the hope that I would end up there someday, but I was not sure if it would happen,” she explained.
OHIO experiences made her believe in opportunity, herself
She first heard of the company thanks to a Bobcat graduate who visited campus while Sury was a student and shared his experience working at Wieden + Kennedy with Nike. After his visit, Sury reached out to him. Although no longer with the company, he connected Sury with his former colleagues.
“He gave me the contact information for my now-boss and said, ‘you should email her. She’s super helpful and she’ll definitely be glad to jump on the phone with you.’ And he was right,” Sury said. “I ended up emailing her and we maintained the relationship for about two years before I even met her. She told me if anything would open up, she’d try to get me in. All that came from my connections at OU.”
Moving across the country eventually paid off: Sury is now a media and comms planner at Wieden + Kennedy, working for the Nike brand.
“I’ve been working there for a year and a half now and I don’t think the impact of what I get to be involved with, what my agency is involved with such as historical advertisements, has really sunk in,” she said. “It’s really inspiring, especially getting to work with the people that I work with, some people have been on this account for 10 or 20 plus years. It’s really cool to know that anything we put out there, that part of my voice is now in there.”
Sury currently works a hybrid schedule, with two days remote and three days in the office. On a daily basis, Sury checks over finances for media campaigns, conducts research for campaigns, curates ideas, holds meetings, and more while working on multiple campaigns for Nike. She’s contributing to many creative campaigns, including ones for the World Cup, Super Bowl and Chicago Marathon.
Before enrolling at OHIO, Sury never would have imagined working for a top global creative brand across the country from her hometown. Her Bobcat connections, including faculty and alumni, made her believe not only in the opportunity, but in herself.
“I developed super strong relationships with a lot of my professors,” she said. “They would always take the time if I wanted to come by their office and listen to me. They would want to hear what I wanted to get into [after college]. Then they would be like, ‘oh, I know someone. Here’s their contact information.’ It just opened so many doors for me.”
Bobcats got connections” — Madison Sury
Sury is thankful for many of her professors, including Craig Davis, professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, who helped her throughout her education and job searching process.
“I didn’t really know what kind of advertising I wanted to go into, so he shed light on a new route that was also new to him, which was media planning. He was super helpful and always took it one step beyond the class,” she said. When she started her first media planning job, he also sent her his book about media planning.
While at OHIO, Sury was also involved in the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre and the Hugh M. Culbertson Scripps PRSSA Chapter’s 1804 Communication, a student-run integrated marketing and communication firm. The experiences she gained there, as well as working with clients as a student, helped prepare her for her daily work now at the company.
“There were so many immersive experiences at OU,” she said. “So much effort goes into getting alumni to come back and the faculty are so willing to help you get to where you want to go.”
Sury encourages current students to not be afraid in reaching out to Bobcat alumni and fostering those connections. It’s also okay to not have the “biggest and best job” right after graduation, Sury said. Take the steps, foster the relationships and Bobcat connections can open doors.
“Everyone a part of OHIO just wants to help everyone. So go find those alumni,” Sury said. “I always say ‘Bobcats got connections,’ but it’s true. It’s how I got my job.”