Student Spotlight: Charlie Hilger

Meet second year M.A. in Advertising student, Charlie Hilger! Charlie is from Dallas, TX and is a part of the Texas Creative track as well as the Creative Director for the Advertising Graduate Council. Get to know Charlie through our conversation below:

Charlie Hilger Headsho

What made you decide to come to The University of Texas?
I was already living in Austin and had reached a period of my life where I was unhappy with my career path and began looking for opportunities to get into an advertising position. I got in touch with a couple of people that had gone through the portfolio program within the Advertising school at UT and decided to apply. I was accepted Summer of 2020

What is your favorite part of being a Moody student?
Maybe the resources of a larger school? My undergraduate program was underfunded and so it’s nice to be a part of a program that’s well established and has a history of success. Plus it’s nice to grow up in Texas and be able to call myself a Longhorn. Feels like it completes the picture!

What current projects/internships are you doing right now? Or any past experiences you have had while being a Moody student?
I’m currently in Portfolio 3 and interning at a small agency in town called Tilted Chair, doing some interactive work. I’m also involved in our Graduate Student Organization: AGC where I’m serving as Creative Director for the brand and communication efforts. 

How does your experience in classes/programs help you with outside projects/jobs/internships?
My Portfolio classes have definitely helped me get better at establishing a solid concept in my work. I have a background as a graphic designer, but the Advertising program here has not only helped with honing my technical skills but also helped me think more critically and has helped my understanding of brand, hopefully resulting in better work for my portfolio. 

How will being a Moody student help to make you stand apart in current/future jobs? 
The name of the school definitely has some weight, but the portfolio program here will help me craft a book that will hopefully get me noticed by larger agencies, and that may give me an edge against students graduating from other schools. 

Do you have any advice for future/current students? 
It sounds cliche, but find out what you want to do and do it. Don’t go for the easy route, or the expected. That applies to grad school too. If you’re going because you don’t know what to do, do something else, save the money. You can always come back. But if you do know, dive in. Give it all you have, you’ll benefit. Obviously be pragmatic, pick something that you can live with the pay, but every career at some point is difficult and competitive. If you pick something just because it’s easy, you’ll either hate it eventually or not go very far, but if it’s something that you can sink lots of time into, not only will you enjoy going to work, but it’ll give you the drive to excel at it.

There’s also no excuses. My undergraduate program was suffering from a lack of organization and funding, and the month I graduated, got over 100million in grant money, and opened a second campus. I was angry about that for a while, and blamed my lack of career progression on that program, but in the end it’s my fault. You only get as far as you keep pushing. Hit a wall? Go around, dig under, transfer schools, work for free (if you have to), cold email, stalk people on linkedin, ask advice. Moody’s full of wonderful people that want to help you, but at the end of the day, your success is your own responsibility.

Interested in reading more about students at Moody? Check out our other Student Spotlights featured on @txadpr.

Peyton Hammond
Austin Cochran