Student Says UMass Experience Deserves Payback
When Amir Moini ’11 (communication) received the Connor Internship Award last spring from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, he was able to fulfill a goal. “I wanted to go to Los Angeles and intern in Hollywood,” he says, “but I didn’t have the funds to do so. Without this scholarship, it would not have been possible, so I am very grateful for the financial support.”
Moini landed a position at ADD Marketing, an alternative marketing agency that uses non-traditional marketing strategies and techniques to communicate directly with consumer audiences. They use social media, street promotions, web development and design, immersive marketing, and merchandise packaging production to reach consumers in both the online and offline worlds. In short, ADD Marketing is a award-winning leader in the world of hi-tech digital, viral, social media and user generated content coupled with the low tech domain of PR stunts, promotions, sampling, street teams and buzz.
“I applied for about 20 internships," Moini says. “I found this one through Craigslist, surprisingly enough. I got my paperwork in quickly, had two phone interviews, and was hired on the spot.”
Moini actually worked two internships at ADD: street campaigns and in developmental marketing. “For the street campaigns I helped hire people in all the major U.S. cities, typed reports, and researched clubs, bars, and high traffic areas to market to people. I also helped organize photos and information in final summaries for film studios. In developmental marketing, I read four or five scripts a day, choosing the ones I thought would work best. Then, I’d participate in brainstorming sessions, coming up with ways to market the film. We’d pitch ideas to movie studio reps in charge of hiring the marketer. Because the company is small, I was able to do a lot of different and interesting things. I worked with almost every department and really got a feel for how an advertising company works in the Hollywood industry. Even though the internship was unpaid, I did receive three credits, and I made excellent contacts for future internships and jobs.”
In fact, Moini points out that his whole experience at UMass Amherst has been extremely positive. “I was an honor student at Canton [MA] High School and did a lot of extracurricular activities, including yearbook and student government,” he says. “Originally, I was enrolled at Emerson College because of my interest in advertising, but I ended up at UMass Amherst because of the financial aid package. I didn’t even see the campus or know much about it, but I wouldn’t change that decision. I love this school and am very glad I came.”
Academics, Moini says, have been outstanding. “I started off in marketing at the Isenberg School, but went with communication in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences because the classes are geared more to my interests. The department offered more film classes, including film and television production, advertising and classes where we studied actual films. Sut Jhally is my favorite professor, by far. He’s amazing and we are lucky to have him here. The department, I think, has some of the best faculty and classes, and I wish more funding would come our way to further enhance the program.”
Having completed his gen ed requirements and the communication classes required for the major, Moini will be focusing on completing his global education requirements this spring during a study abroad experience in Barcelona. “The language and the culture of Spain have always intrigued me,” Moini says, “and I’m excited to know more about it."
Moini’s experience at UMass Amherst goes well beyond the classroom. “I am a manager at the Annual Fund and have raised about $30,000 for the institution. I’m also working on the Senior Campaign, and will be co-chair during my senior year. Besides being a waiter at Bertucci’s, I do hip hop and choreograph for the Amherst College hip hop team. And I participated in Alternative Spring Break my freshman year, rebuilding houses in New Orleans. This past October I organized three busses to get students to the National Equity March for gay rights in D.C.”
While Moini acknowledges that it takes some time to get used to the college lifestyle and the large campus, he says that if you prioritize wisely and budget your time, then the student experience becomes “amazing.” His advice to other students: “Take your classes seriously, keep a positive attitude, and be proud of your school. It goes a long way! Get involved. It makes the overall experience so much better.”
Speaking to upcoming budget cuts and the fact that state support for the university has been on a downward spiral, Moini says, “To alumni and current students who will be future alumni, I want to stress the importance of giving back to the school through the Annual Fund and other donations. Private schools have much stronger support from their former students. It’s important to remember that UMass Amherst is not state-funded; it is only state supported. The rest of the budget must come from other sources of revenue. So, support your school and Go UMass!”
As for the future, Moini would definitely like to return to LA. “It’s the dominant city for the movie industry and film advertising. Having tried it out through my internship, I know the work is a good fit, and I really enjoyed the city. I’ve made some great connections, and I’m interested to make more, especially with alumni.”
December 7, 2009