In this series, we take a last look at what some of our 2018 grads are planning on doing after they leave the hilltop.
By: Samantha Klaassen
After graduation this May, Sara Jane Stephens is heading straight to San Francisco to start as an Account Coordinator at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners at the beginning of June. “I couldn’t be more excited for the move and to begin my career at such a renowned advertising agency,” she says. “I’m a serious advertising nerd, so it’s really my dream job!”
Her interest in advertising can be traced back to her grandfather, who was an original “ad man” on Madison Avenue. “I’ve always been so fascinated by his stories,” Stephens says. “I come from a long line of advertisers and by accepting this job at G,S&P I will be a fifth generation advertiser in my family, which I’m really proud of.”
During her time at SMU, Stephens has been a member of Delta Gamma and has also been involved in SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute. Most recently, she worked to create a national advertising campaign for Ocean Spray as Team Director of SMU’s National Student Advertising Competition Team. This included creating a 20-page campaign plans book that outlined their campaign strategy, target market, research, creative platform, media and budget as well as a 30-minute presentation at the NSAC competition. SMU received 3rd place in the competition overall and received the Special Judges Award for best Market Segmentation and Best Strategy.
“It was an incredible learning experience, and really helped me prepare for my upcoming career in Account Management,” Stephens says. “It was awesome for our hard work to be recognized, but I think my greatest accomplishment on ad team was all of the amazing friendships I made with my teammates.”
Hometown: Pasadena, CA
Major: Advertising — Strategic Brand Management
SMU LOOK: What are you most excited about post-graduation?
SARA JANE STEPHENS: I’m really excited to be moving to a completely new city! It was so exhilarating moving to Dallas four years ago and making new friends, trying new restaurants and finding the best bars, so I’m really looking forward to exploring San Francisco. I’ve always loved San Fran and was raised as a Giants fan, so I’m excited to see what’s in store for this next chapter in my life — it’ll certainly be an adventure!
SMU LOOK: What will you miss most about SMU?
SS: My friends, without a doubt! I have made so many incredible friends at SMU and they have all become my second family, so it’ll definitely be an adjustment not seeing them every day or living next door to all of them. Most of my friends are leaving Dallas, so it’ll be fun to go visit them in all of their cool new cities.
SMU LOOK: What are three pieces of advice you would give an SMU first-year?
SS: 1. Get involved in as many SMU activities or clubs as possible—I was really intimidated to join Ad Team, but it was the greatest experience I have had in college so I am forever grateful for putting myself out there.
2. Don’t take the beautiful campus for granted. Now that I am down to my final four weeks, I always get nostalgic passing Dallas Hall. Our campus is so special and there’s really nothing better than waving to friends on your way to class or walking on the boulevard. There’s no place like SMU, so take in every moment because four years flies by!
3. Be a YES person — so many of my best memories have happened at random times, so always say yes to going on adventures with your friends. You never know what new friends you’ll make, what new restaurants you’ll discover or what adventures you’ll stumble upon. SMU is the best four years of your life, so live it up to the fullest. (But do say NO to wearing your favorite shoes to Homebar — they will get ruined.)