By: Mari BehovitzAs an advertising and public relations student at Grand Valley, the importance of networking has been enforced by my professors and demonstrated by my highly motivated peers since day one. From freshmen year to now, I have learned first-hand how valuable industry connections are.

Being a senior in college, I am currently interning for my fourth time. Of my four internships, every single one was obtained through acting upon one of my industry connections. As they say, it really is about who you know or who knows you.

This topic is important to discuss as we begin a new academic year. The opportunities available within our major are endless. The first step I personally took towards making connections was joining two major-based clubs, GVSU Advertising Club and PRSSA. Each week, a professional from the advertising and public relations industry is present at the club meetings, sharing valuable information about the industry. The speakers are always willing to work with students whether that means meeting for coffee, helping with the internship search, or just connecting on LinkedIn. These professionals want to see the next generation of advertising and public relations professionals succeed. Do not be afraid to approach a speaker after the meeting to chat with them for a moment so they know your name and face.

The other unique opportunity club members have for making valuable connections is that each of the clubs in the advertising and public relations major are associated with a parent chapter (or national version) of the club. As student members, we are able to attend most of our parent chapter’s events. Whether that means attending the PRSA National Conference or going to an event in GR hosted by the Ad Fed, Advertising Club’s parent chapter. While you do not have to attend these events, it shows a lot of determination and maturity when you do participate.

A good place to start making connections is by getting to know your professors. At this Wednesday’s PRSSA chapter meeting, students will get a chance to hear from the AD/PR professors in a laid back discussion setting. This is a great place to start getting to know successful professionals in the field. Making connections and approaching professionals can be intimidating. So, I encourage you all to keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone!

Mari Behovitz is a senior at GVSU majoring in advertising and public relations and minoring in business. Mari finds it important to gain experience in both aspects of her major, advertising and public relations. She has served as the Events Coordinator for the GVSU Advertising Club and is currently serving as the clubs Vice President. Mari has been a PRSSA member for two years and this will be her first year as a Grand PR account associate. Mari’s professional experiences include interning with the Insurance Institute of Michigan, Outer Graphics of Lansing, Tri-county TRIAD, and most recently the American Advertising Federation (AAF). Mari has worked at the GVSU Laker store for three years and in her free time loves spending time at her cottage.