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When I was a little boy I wanted to be a newscaster on ABC’s “Action News.”

On snow days, when school was closed, I would sit at my makeshift news desk with my co-anchor, my sister, and pretend to cover the snowstorm blanketing our yard. My dad would film us with his camcorder to make the simulated newscast seem real. To this day I remember covering the blizzard of 1993, using a “weather map” and Accu-Weather five-day forecast I had drawn on a dry-erase board. I wanted to be the next Jim Gardner.

My love for broadcasting continued in high school, where during my sophomore, junior and senior years I co-anchored the morning announcements. Dubbed the “Blazer Bulletin,” it was a 10-minute broadcast of the day’s academic news, upcoming sporting and club events, and other pertinent announcements.

But after high school I realized I needed to pursue a more practical major. I decided to put my broadcast aspirations on the back burner and major in business administration. After all, it was also a dream of mine to own my own business one day.

This passion developed after I operated a joint venture my senior year of high school called Gift Shop Express. Three other student-entrepreneurs and I wrote a business plan, manufactured gift baskets consisting of candy and other treats, marketed the baskets and sold them to students, family and friends. It was a successful launch, generating a sizeable profit during its two-month operation.

After earning my associate degree in business administration, and gaining some real life business experience in the hotel industry, I came across five little words in an advertisement for Albright … a different way of thinking. The phrase intrigued me, so I read on … interdisciplinary approach to learning.

It seemed like the perfect fit for a kid who couldn’t decide if he wanted to be on ABC news or own the entire station. The opportunity to combine my interest in business with my passion for communications was too good to pass up. In January 2005, I became an Albrightian.

I quickly realized how courses in both disciplines were interconnected. In my mass communications class, we discussed how the newspaper industry has achieved economies of scale, a term I had previously learned in my business strategies and policies class referring to the reduction in costs to manufacture successive units of a product due to efficient production processes. These lower costs could then translate into lower prices for consumers, making such industries fiercely competitive.

I made a similar connection between my media law and business, government and society classes with regard to deceptive advertising practices and the Federal Trade Commission’s role in regulating product marketing in the U.S.

For my “Marketing Strategy” class taught by Professor Richard Schott I was part of a team of students involved in creating a marketing plan for The Hard Bean Café in West Reading, Pa. Blending concepts from “PR and Advertising” such as positioning
– the slot your brand fills in the minds of consumers relative to competitors– with target market, product, place, price, and promotion strategies from Professor Christine Bell’s marketing management class, I lent my interdisciplinary knowledge to the group in a real-life application.

And the connections weren’t limited to the classroom either. In an internship with Albright’s College Relations and Marketing Office, I honed my media writing skills obtained from both Dr. Jon Bekken’s“Writing for the Mass Media” and Marian Wolbers’ “Writing for the Web.”

As part of the College Relations team, I wrote press releases, news stories and features for The Albright Reporter and Fusion, Albright’s science newsletter. Working for College Relations was more than just a course requirement and extension of my interdisciplinary studies – it was real life work experience that enabled me to apply both my marketing and communications skills, while working toward a career in public relations.

As a bonus, my co-workers in College Relations and my professors in both areas
of concentration are not only my mentors in the field but also my friends.

So what does interdisciplinary study at Albright mean to me? It’s a synergistic
fusion of academic connections, pragmatic experiences, career developments
and longlasting friendships.

I recently began a career with The Vanguard Group in investor relations,
itself interdisciplinary, linking financial management with communications,
marketing and public relations.

Fortunately for me, graduating from Albright College was just the beginning
of thinking differently.

- Joshua R. Grandy ’07, a business
administration, marketing major with a
co-concentration in communications, is a
client relationship administrator for The
Vanguard Group, Malvern, Pa.

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