Advertising Student’s Road to the MPMS Program


“As a 28-year-old immigrant from Venezuela and a huge advertising nerd, it is an incredible honor to be selected as one of the American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students (MPMS). Becoming the first in FIU’s history makes it truly indescribable. A Panther victory I will carry with me long after graduating with a B.S. in Communications, Advertising. My mentor, FIU Professor Albena Petrus, deserves all the credit in the world. I am blessed and humbled she saw something in me, decided to mentor me, and recommended me for the MPMS, ” said honoree Abraham Escalona.

How did you apply and become selected for the MPMS Program?
“Of course, I was extremely busy when she told me to apply and felt anxious, overwhelmed, and thought it’d be impossible. However, I did not want to live wondering, “What if?” for the rest of my life, so I said, “Why not?” and gave it the old college try. The application process required me to answer five advertising and multiculturalism questions, submit a resume, portfolio pieces (only required for students seeking creative positions), come up with a slogan and hashtag, and have FIU send my transcript to AAF. I almost ran out of time, (I submitted my application EIGHT minutes before the deadline!) and did not think I would be selected – yet I did my absolute best to polish every little detail and received a perfect letter of recommendation from Professor Petrus. A few weeks later, I jumped and screamed like a child when I received my acceptance email. I had no idea I was the first student from FIU to be selected (or even apply) until Professor Petrus told me! Sometimes, I still cannot believe it (cheesy, but true).

The reward was so much sweeter than I could have hoped for – meeting 49 of the kindest, most talented and passionate advertising students across the country, if not the world. We started off as strangers, but quickly grew into quite the coalition (Squad!).”

How did you benefit from this experience?
“Being around these young professionals was one of the most inspiring experiences I have ever had. I look forward to seeing, working with, rooting for and supporting all of them as we continue to make waves in #Adland and beyond. As if that wasn’t enough, we attended a whirlwind of industry immersions, workshops, and mentoring opportunities conducted by advertising giants from some of the best agencies in the world. Finally, we had the chance to shine under the bright lights, as we presented our personal taglines and hashtags to a crowd of 300 advertising leaders. I wrote: Steer past fear. #VenezuelanJoyride

This honor is so meaningful to me, yet so much bigger than I am, as it will help Professor Petrus in turning her vision of putting FIU on the creative map a reality. The value of Professor Petrus to FIU’s School of Communication + Journalism cannot be overstated. Take it from me, in two classes and six months, she might have single-handedly propelled me into a career in the ad industry; however, my wins will be small in comparison with what she will accomplish alongside other professors, such as Grizelle De Los Reyes.”

About the American Advertising Federation’s Most Promising Multicultural Students program:

The AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Students program connects the advertising industry with the nation’s top multicultural college seniors. This premier event provides opportunities to recruit fresh talent to further prepare the advertising industry’s best young prospects and to help the advertising and media workforce better reflect the diversity of today’s society.

The program not only honors the students, but also enhances their knowledge and understanding of the advertising industry by offering networking, interviewing and industry immersion opportunities with top advertising professionals, marketing and media professionals. Learn more here:

Written by: Abraham Escalona

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