Marketing Undergraduate | Apr 24, 2019 | Gabelli School of Business
Two students score fellowships at BBDO New York
By Claire Curry
This summer, Gabelli School students Shrabonti Das ’20 and Emma Havighorst ’20 will experience what it’s like to work at one of the most renowned advertising agencies in the world. After a rigorous selection process, the two were each awarded the 2019 Paul Reilly Advertising Fellowship, a 10-week paid internship at BBDO Worldwide headquarters in New York City.
The annual fellowship, established in 2017, is typically awarded to one junior who meets qualifying criteria and who is passionate about the advertising field. This year, the BBDO selection committee was so impressed with Das and Havighorst that they offered two fellowships, according to Marketing Area Chair and Professor Sertan Kabadayi.
“These students really stand out,” says Tim Malefyt, clinical associate professor of marketing, who has had both Das and Havighorst in his classes. “It’s a rare combination when [someone has] the intellectual capability, the knowledge and the emotional intelligence. They have all three.”
Havighorst, a marketing major, says that the opportunity will allow her to follow in the footsteps of her late great aunt who is her role model. Irene Dunne was one of the first women to land a management position in advertising on Madison Avenue in the 1950s. “She was a trailblazer in that role and in her life overall,” Havighorst says. “The fellowship will allow me to move her legacy forward into the modern advertising landscape and I’m so grateful for and excited about the opportunity.”
The BBDO internship will top off Havighorst’s resumé which includes a social media internship at a communications firm during the summers following her freshman and sophomore years, a research assignment at the Gabelli School and ongoing consulting work. Her experience also includes projects she launched on her own, such as a website she founded that connects Generation Z creatives and a teen fashion blog. The New Jersey native writes and speaks regularly about Generation Z topics; most recently, she was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about Generation Z and technology.
While Havighorst plans to enter the advertising arena post-graduation, she has big ideas for the longer term that match her entrepreneurial spirit. “I hope to found and run my own advertising and digital marketing firm based in New York City,” she says.
Shrabonti Das is equally thrilled about how the opportunity to intern at BBDO New York will help her prepare for a career in advertising.
“It is one of the biggest names in the industry,” she says. “This is a huge opportunity and a dream come true.”
This will be Das’s fourth internship following her current one at Tiffany & Co. where she has worked with the firm’s digital marketing team since 2018. In addition to these experiences, Das has participated in the Gabelli School’s Consulting Cup and is one of 15 students in the elite Marketing Scholars Program.
“Education has always been essential to me,” Das says, explaining that her father was a political science professor for 20 years in Bangladesh. Her family moved to the states when Das was eight. Raised in Queens, she has always loved New York City—it’s one of the reasons she applied to Fordham. Das started out as a commuter student, but since her sophomore year, she has lived on campus where she serves as a Resident Advisor and a Fordham Career Ambassador.
The Paul Reilly Fellowship was created in honor of its namesake, the late Paul Reilly, FCRH ’80, who was a senior executive at BBDO New York responsible for the Campbell Soup account.
“He always encouraged connections between Fordham and BBDO,” says Malefyt, who began teaching at Fordham after Reilly made a similar introduction.
After he passed away, Malefyt ran into [then BBDO CEO] John Osborn. “I said ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to celebrate Paul’s legacy in some way? He really loved BBDO and Fordham. What if we start something?’” Osborn agreed and the fellowship program was established.
Malaya Stewart ’19, who completed the fellowship last summer, says she learned much about the creative process and how to pitch to clients at BBDO New York. Working on the Bacardi account, she conducted competitive research, brainstormed ideas with her team and handled the day-to-day tasks of account management. “I got invaluable experience,” she says. “They place a lot of emphasis on innovation and hard work, and it was inspiring to be in an environment where the employees truly believe in those values.”