On the evening of Thursday, October 1, the UIC Graduate Marketing Association (GMARK) hosted a conversation with Larry Byrne, Senior Partner and Chief Production Officer for Ogilvy & Mather. The event, put together by Jeffrey Wilson of UIC Business Career Services, was part of the MBA Career Topics series, which is designed to give Liautaud students a view from the C-suite by introducing them to executives from Chicagoland firms.
Byrne is not only an exec at a Chicago firm, he’s also a lifelong Chicagoan. His earliest production work took place in free weekend classes for elementary school students at SAIC. At Whitney Young High School, after making extensive use of the school’s TV studio, Byrne got a production internship at Leo Burnett during his senior year, and following graduation from Columbia College Chicago, gradually worked his way into a position at Leo Burnett, and then, years later, at Ogilvy & Mather.
In his chat with Liautuad students, he wove his career history into a much broader discussion that covered everything from relations between brand managers and ad agencies ("Creative types don't like being ignored or talked down to. As future managers, you'll have to find ways to make creative agencies work with you, not for you.") to work life balance ("Your life happens at work and at home - if one isn't right, the other suffers.") to creating ads that “know their medium,” with examples like Geico’s five-second preroll ads, Hotels.com’s Facebook ads and a long-form ad from Patagonia that drove sharing with its strong emotionality.
The last piece of advice for future brand managers? Media constantly changes forms, Byrne said, and the sheer volume of information in the world is overwhelming. You can never rest on your knowledge. Always be willing to admit you don’t know something, and always find the energy to explore what you don’t know.
The next MBA Career Topics event will be on Thursday, October 22 with Rodrigo Garcia, MBA '09 and Chief Investment & Financial Officer for the Illinois State Treasury.