Minh Phan

Minh is a Digital Media Strategist at the Minnesota Daily
Graduation year
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Strategic Communication


What is your major and what made you decide to pursue it?

I have a double major in Psychology and Strategic Communication with an emphasis on advertising. Many people question this combination at first because these two majors don’t seem to have anything in common, but they actually complement each other very well. I have always been curious about human nature and the different ways we look at the world, so it's fascinating to learn how this can be applied to brand strategy and advertising.  

What has been your favorite part of your experience at the Hubbard School?

My involvement with NSAC is truly a game-changing-- if not best-- experience that I have had at the Hubbard School. I joined the team during my sophomore year and it has been a part of my life since. The coolest part about NSAC is getting to work alongside some of the coolest, most talented people here at the J school that I wouldn't have known otherwise. We came together with a drive to win and we had fun while getting there.

What also makes me feel so proud about NSAC is the skills set that I gained from working on our project. We push ourselves to think like professionals and work on projects that we'll all be proud of for many years to come. It is not an exaggeration to say that NSAC is the closest any college student can get to working in an agency setting outside of a summer internship. I cannot speak highly enough of this experience! 

What journalism class or professor has had the biggest impact on you?

Almost all professors have made an impact on me one way or another, but Mark Jenson has made a huge difference in my learning experience here at the Hubbard School. I took Account Planning with Mark during my junior year and have been working closely with him for NSAC since. You can tell right away from chatting with him that he is passionate about the advertising industry and he cares about his students. His class is never boring because there are always relevant industry updates and professionals in the Twin Cities area coming over to share their wisdom. 

Outside of class, Mark is a great friend and mentor. One of his best pieces of career advice for me that I'll probably never forget is to not enter the industry with the sole intention of becoming an expert, but to use my talent to influence the world for good. This completely changed my perception on advertising and has since motivated me to find a sense of purpose in anything that I create. 

What minors, internships, or activities are you pursuing outside of your major? How do you think these enhance your major and/or your future career plans?

Outside of my time at school, I currently work at Minnesota Daily as a Digital Media Strategist. I came into this job when the newsroom was undergoing a major transition from a print to a digital-first, so it was my job to figure out how we could do it smoothly. This is indeed a challenge for any college student to take on such a role, but this experience has allowed me to learn more about digital marketing in such a short amount of time. Along the way, I get to spearhead some very exciting projects to help increase our digital presence and promote student journalism across the two campuses. It's so satisfying to see everything I learn at school come in handy!

What course would you recommend for other students in your major?

I would recommend Account Planning and Psychology of Advertising to anyone. Even if you're not interested in becoming an account planner, the knowledge and skills you will gain from these two classes would still take you far in your career. 

What is your dream job?

Right now, I'm hoping to pursue a career in a strategically driven role at an advertising agency. One day, I'd love to start my own ad agency and/or become a full-time fiction author. 

What advice do you have for future Hubbard School students?

Give your 200 percent to every major project/assignment that is given to you! Devote your time and effort into perfecting them not only because it'll earn you good grades, but because those are the opportunity for you to develop your skill sets and create a work of quality that you can put into your portfolio or show to your employer in the future.

Also, show up to class because that's the easiest and only way you can optimize your learning experience here. Nothing can come close to the enthusiasm of the HSJMC faculty. 

What is one aspect of your major that surprised you?

One thing that surprised me is that I get to meet and collaborate with so many different types of creatives. I was amazed at the wide-ranging specialties and skill sets that students within my major have possessed. I have met some talented graphic designers, photographers, reporters, copywriters, digital geeks, podcasters, or even social media influencers. Everyone all brings something different to the table and it’s what makes the program so unique. Dabbing in different areas of expertise is a good practice for the future too if you're going into a creative field.

What do you wish you had known about your career path before now?

That it will not be black and white, and it doesn't have to be. I didn't know I would pursue a career in advertising when I first came into the U. I didn't know I would be interested in consumer behaviors. I didn't know I could be so invested in the digital side of advertising. But here I am, slowly figuring myself out, and it's perfectly fine. So to prospective students: keep your options open. Try a different combination of coursework every now and then to push your boundaries. Participate in on-campus clubs. Look up other programs that could supplement your majors. They are the doors to your yet-to-be-found career path. 

Minh Phan