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Communication Studies Student Emma Curran Thrives in Fast-Paced Environment at MKG in New York City

Emma and several members of the MKG team during their work for the opening of Vermont's first Target store this past fall.

Emma Curran, a senior studying Communication Studies, Business, and Psychology at Northeastern University, has spent the last six months completing a co-op at creative agency MKG. Her position has been fast-paced and varied, including projects and work both at MKG’s base in New York City, and a project opening in South Burlington, Vermont. We were able to ask Emma a few questions about her experiences at MKG. Check our Q+A out, below!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT CO-OP ROLE.

I currently work as a Production Assistant at MKG in NYC. MKG (owned by Pineapple Co) is a creative agency specializing in brand experiences. Experiential Marketing/Event Marketing is very much a niche field and is rapidly growing, so the agency has been expanding over the past few years. Within the company, the primary teams are production, creative, design, and business development. The production team is made up of multiple producers, associate producers, and production assistants, who are all typically working on multiple projects at once! Once projects go through the business development team and are confirmed, I am then staffed on a project with a producer and occasionally, an associate producer. 

WHAT IS THE DAY-TO-DAY LIKE?

After a project is kicked off, I work with a producer and associate producer to research and develop ideas that are consistent with the vision of the project. We have to stick to a certain timeline, so it is often very fast paced with internal meetings and client meetings happening on a regular basis, in addition to plenty of emails and outreach. A big part of my role is researching and securing venues, sourcing items (i.e. giveaways, decor, furniture, clothing), placing orders, and finding and securing vendors. I am also responsible for authoring essential documents to the event, such as a master expense sheet, project inventory, brand ambassador manuals, production booklets, and more. There is no typical day and there’s always new responsibilities I’m taking on.

One of my favorite parts about MKG is how laid back everyone is. All the employees here are very driven and fun to be around. The company really strives to be the best they can be not just individually, but as a whole. Although it was a challenge getting used to nine hour days, the casual and aesthetic environment, snacks, great people, and all the office dogs make it so much easier!

Emma and some other members of her team at the opening of Vermont’s first Target.

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR HIGHLIGHTS SO FAR?

My biggest and most memorable project took place throughout October. My team and I worked with Target and were in charge of their Grand Opening in Vermont. This project first kicked off at the beginning of August and we spent roughly 8 weeks planning this from scratch before we headed to Burlington, VT for a month. This project consisted of multiple pre-opening activations. Our primary one was a mobile ‘Camp Target’ experience that was activated at various fall happenings around Vermont. It was a camp-themed pop-up that treated guests to hot fall drinks, snacks, programming, giveaways, and a variety of arts and crafts projects. The goal of this was to build awareness for Target Vermont’s Grand Opening, which we also coordinated. While on-site, we also had former co-op Dayna Fields join our team for part of the time to lend an extra set of hands!

WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN LIKE WORKING AND LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY?

It’s been so much fun! I always wanted to live in New York and sometimes I can’t believe how lucky I am to live and work here.  I work in the Soho neighborhood, which is super trendy. Streets are lined with unique cafes, pop up stores, and boutiques, as well as every clothing store you could imagine. It’s definitely a lot more crowded than Boston, but overall it’s pretty magical, especially right now and during the holidays.

HOW DID YOUR CLASSES PREPARE YOU FOR THIS CO-OP?

Although I’m a Communications major, I found marketing and business courses to be immensely beneficial. Intro to Marketing was really helpful when it comes to understanding the basics and marketing for brands. When it comes to event marketing, it’s essential to really understand the brand, who you’re trying to target, and how you plan to reach them, as brands are trusting us to create experiences that represent them. Accounting was also very beneficial to me, as producers are responsible for budgets both small and large, and part of my role has been to assist them in this process. Another course that was very helpful to me was Documentary Filmmaking. I took this course on a dialogue with Michelle Carr and although it’s a different type of production, it really helped enhance my skills when it comes to creating timelines, developing creative ideas and implementing them, scouting locations, and coordinating different elements for the film and various production logistics. My experiences on campus, such as being involved in the Senior Class Events Committee as well as my sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, also really helped prepare me for this role.