Alumni Spotlight: Ali Afshar
Name: Ali Afshar
Major at UT: Advertising
Graduation date: December 2014
Current Livelihood: Account Manager, Facebook, Austin
1. What is your position at Facebook and what does your role entail?
Account Manager – consulting clients across their marketing & business strategy, managing programs focused on growth within specific industries, and growing our team within the org.
2. How would you describe the company culture?
Amazing! I originally freelanced/interned at a few agencies (usually generally heralded as having great culture) and Facebook blew it away. From transparency from leadership, to an emphasis on feedback & openness, to everyone just being themselves every day at work – in my limited time in the corporate world, I haven’t seen many places like it.
3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Being able to help partners grow their businesses!
4. Were you in any organizations at The University of Texas at Austin and if so, what positions did you hold?
I was in TAG (VP), Texas Media
5. How did UT impact your life and career? Did the Stan Richards School or any other organizations at UT help you with what you’re doing now?
Definitely! Coming out of the school, you’re much more equipped for a media position – whether it’s knowledge of the industry all the way to being able to present to 200+ people. Most importantly, I met some amazing people along the way that helped me grow personally & professionally (as corny as it sounds).
6. Which professors were the most memorable to you and why?
Dobias, Murphy & Wilcox! Each of them helped me learn different things (also just great people & professors). Dobias was the media side, Murphy was the business side & Wilcox was the analytical side.
7. Why did you choose to study advertising?
Originally was looking at Architecture but after a recommendation to try out 318J, lo & behold I fell in love.
8. What do you love (or don’t love) about living in Austin?
Always changing, great food, CHEAP (relative to other big cities), rapidly growing, easy to access nature – also drastically different when you’re out of college ☺
9. What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
Short term: working to become a team lead in our current team & long-term, would love to go into VR (specifically education).
10. What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?
Changes all the time! Travel, eat, read, explore, etc.
11. What publications/sites/newsletters do you subscribe to and find are most helpful in your occupation?
Not a lot actually – I used to read AdAge, AdExchanger, AdWeek, etc. quite a bit- nowadays it’s specific to the industry I work on (Gaming). So PocketGamer, Gamasutra, Kotaku, Polygon, etc.
12. What is the hardest part about your job?
Everything getting mashed together and everything always changing! But it also makes it fun. There’s always a new product/thing being launched that mixes everything around.
13. What is the most interesting project you have worked on so far in your career?
Project managing a new product launch for our platform
14. Where do you see the industry going?
More of an emphasis on measuring media against results, more agencies shifting to a consulting-type model, and probably many more directions that I can’t think ☺
15. What advice would you give to a current student in the Stan Richards School?
Don’t discount any experience you’ve gotten (even it seems incredibly distant from the job you want) – be self-aware about what learnings you get. Say yes a lot. Learn to work efficiently vs. working more. And don’t beat yourself up over mistakes – best lessons learned through those.