IMC student brings passion for advertising to national competition

Thu Jun 29, 2017

Roosevelt University student Matthew Spahr changed his major five times before settling on Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC).

Now he is one of the IMC’s top students, as he recently was one of the top finalists in the 2017 Media Plan Case Competition sponsored by the Washington Media Scholars Foundation in Washington, D.C. in June.

President of Roosevelt’s Advertising Club and captain of the RU Lakers Men's Golf  team, Spahr tried finance, biology, hospitality and tourism management, and general marketing before pursuing his passion – a BA in IMC.

“I took a couple of classes in IMC and I really liked the people, environment and the professors, so I decided to go for it,” Spahr said.

A senior from Tucson, Arizona, Spahr was on one of the six teams and 12 students, in all, who presented during the final of the Media Plan Case Competition. In its final stage Spahr presented in front of Hillary Clinton’s Media Buyer, Donald Trump’s Media Buyer, a Washington Post journalist and others, including former Presidential candidate Herman Cain’s top advisor Mark Block.

“It was definitely not an easy preparation, but it certainly gave me experience in how the professional environment works,” Spahr said.

Spahr and his team partner Jojo Winkelman, a student at the University of South Carolina whom he met at an American Advertising Federation networking event, presented together, making it through the qualification round as one of the top 30 teams.  Only six teams, including Spahr's, were selected for an all-expenses paid trip to the final rounds of the Washington.

“Matthew has distinguished himself far and beyond many of our students. He is a very diligent and hardworking young man, who put a lot of effort into this competition,” said Marian Azzaro, the chair of the Communication Department at Roosevelt University and an associate professor of IMC.

Spahr and Winkelman had prepared since last fall for the competition remotely via FaceTime. After succeeding in the entry round, they had to allocate a budget for a magazine being distributed to given media outlets. For the second and final rounds, they analyzed and created a strategic media plan based on a hypothetical public policy issue for Herman Cain’s campaign and Clinton’s and Trump’s campaigns respectively.

“As a student he does everything with passion. He is very energetic and active. If there is something he wants, he just goes for it,” said John Jaramillo, director of athletics and the advertising club staff advisor at Roosevelt University.

Even though Spahr did not win the competition, he is grateful for the professional experience he received.

“Participating in this competition will help me as I move forward in pursuing an advertising career,” said Spahr, who will graduate in Spring 2018.

He also encouraged students to take hold of every opportunity for their future career goals while in college.

“I think students should know about opportunities like this that can provide a vast professional experience,” Spahr said.