Posted April 16, 2015

Next stop: Ogilvy & Mather, Manhattan

Erika Koiva: BA, advertising, School of Media and Communication

Betsy Manning
Advertising major Erika Koiva has accepted a job offer from Manhattan-based Ogilvy & Mather, one of the top international advertising and marketing firms.

When she was growing up in Tolland, Connecticut, Erika Koiva was encouraged by her Estonian-born father to explore her heritage. So in order to learn about that Baltic European country bordering Russia, she attended Estonian school every other weekend, where she was taught the language and practiced folk dancing. In the summers she went to Estonian camps, which were “very outdoorsy,” she says. “I know how to make a bed out of wood and rope.”

Koiva, who majored in advertising and minored in digital media technologies at the School of Media and Communication, likely won't need to construct a handmade bed after graduation. She has accepted a job offer from Manhattan-based Ogilvy & Mather, one of the top international advertising and marketing firms whose clients include Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and Ikea.

In high school Koiva enjoyed graphic-art classes but wasn’t interested in an art-school future. She realized she wanted a mix of creativity and business. When she visited Temple and heard about the advertising major, she discovered what she had been looking for: “They put it into words for me.”

She appreciated the campus community’s diversity and liked the resources Philadelphia offered. While she encountered excellent professors, Koiva says she was most inspired by her fellow students. She joined the Temple Ad Club and found there “people who were so curious and so willing to work outside the classroom.” She eventually became vice president of the club and a mentor to two students.

Such experiences gave her the skills to succeed at an Ogilvy recruitment event called Super Saturday, which Koiva describes as “straight-up Hunger Games for advertising.” During the course of a day at the firm’s headquarters, 40 college students were asked to come up with advertising pitches on the spot, endure several one-on-one interviews and more. If she doodled on a piece of paper, “They would collect it and put my name on it,” Koiva says with a laugh.

From that group, Koiva was chosen as one of 13 to be offered full-time jobs in Ogilvy’s Manhattan office as part of the company’s associates’ program. She’ll spend a year cycling through three rotations, during which time she’ll explore different departments and work on various accounts. At the end of the year, she and her supervisors will decide where in the firm she’ll be permanently placed.

The program is an innovative way for a company to find what role best fits its new hires. Temple prepared Koiva for the challenge of forging her own path: “There is no mold here,” she says.

— Theresa Everline