Komal Charania - A Jill Of All Trades
Each year, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) selects an elite group of multicultural students to connect with and form meaningful relationships with professionals in the fields of advertising and public relations. This program is called the Most Promising Multicultural Students Program, and some of the biggest names in the industry participate, making it a great honor for students to be chosen. Senior Komal Charania, who was named one of the Most Promising Multicultural Students, provides insights and reflections on her time applying for and being accepted into the program, and delves into some of her plans post-graduation. We wish you all the best, Komal!
1. What is your name, major and classification at The University of Texas at Austin (UT)?
My name is Komal Charania I am a senior at the University majoring in Public Relations.
2. How did you know you were interested in pursuing public relations?
I have always enjoyed and had a passion for storytelling, and initially I thought that that I couldn’t possibly translate that into my professional life, but when I got to University I realized that it was definitely possible.
3. What is the AAF Most Promising Multicultural Student program, and how did you hear about this?
The AAF Most Multicultural Promising Student program is an award given to students wanting to pursue a communication-related career and have a passion for D+I efforts in the industry. I heard about the program through MAIP (Multicultural Advertising Intern Program) hosted by the 4A’s which is another program that for students who value D+I and want a career in the communication industry.
4. What was the application process like, what did it entail?
The application process is very rigorous as it requires 5 short essays, a resume, letter of recommendation by a AAF-affiliated professional or advisor, and an attention grabbing tagline.
5. What are some of your experiences at UT and in your internships that you feel shaped you well for this program?
The University has prepared me to always question my work, in a good way. I have found that when I find the true purpose of my assignments, whether I am working on a campaign or simply writing a discussion post I always ask “why?”, and that has helped my work improve tremendously. In relation to the MPMS program, it has helped me gain a wider understanding of all the moving parts in the industry and the importance of staying curious and hungry.
6. What was your reaction upon being named one of the Most Promising Multicultural students?
I remember the moment I received the notification that I was accepted in the program. I was sitting in Medici Cafe, having trouble connecting to the wifi when my friend texted me, in all-caps, that we were MPMS finalists. I was speechless and remember pulling up my emails on my phone to see the subject line, “Most Promising 2018 Update.” I read it so many times because I just couldn't believe it! I am so blessed and honored to be named AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student among so many well-deserved and talented individuals. The connections that I have made are irreplaceable, and to know that everyone that I met values D+I in the industry is amazing!
7. What are your plans post-graduation? What position(s) are you looking for?
After graduation I will be interning at Mother, an independent creative agency, in New York City. I will be doing something different from public relations as I will take on an account management role to broaden my experience. I am really excited to begin this new chapter and meet more inspiring and passionate individuals in the industry!
8. Finally, what advice do you have for aspiring PR and advertising professionals?
Find your purpose and find your passion. As a PR/advertising professional you have the advantage of being a part of many different sectors and industry. So, it is important to make the most of it! Finally, always stay hungry. There are thousands of students like you, but few that are truly curious, hungry, and driven for a spot in the industry.
We hope that Komal’s insights and words of advice will potentially encourage you to either further explore the world of advertising and public relations or look more into the Most Promising Multicultural Student program, and we wish you all the best as we begin the home stretch to summer.