Home Marketing Innovation Resources Blog Home Five Student Perspectives on the Five-Day Immersive Courses

Five Student Perspectives on the Five-Day Immersive Courses

Apr 09, 2024
Students in immersive class listen to presentation

Christopher Isit, IMC ‘22, feels the immersive courses he took as part of Medill's IMC Professional degree program have helped him in his successful marketing career, and one course in particular made a huge impact. “Design Thinking for innovation is truly a mind-blowing experience and something every marketer should study,” he said of one of the courses. “Design Thinking is about going deep with a few of your targets to find breakthroughs. The process was so freeing, exciting, and yet challenging to master. It’s an experience I’ll never forget.”

Isit is one of many marketers who have advanced to leadership roles with the help of the Medill IMC Professional program and its optional immersive courses. Read more about how the immersive courses helped five Medill IMC Professional program students grow their careers.

Held in leading global cities, including New York, San Francisco, London and Chicago, each immersive course offers a full academic credit. During five days of intensive learning centered on real-world projects, you’ll have exclusive opportunities to interact with accomplished alumni, expert instructors, and classmates. The immersive experiences strengthen connections with classmates and expand on the skills acquired in online courses.

A Week Packed with Powerful Lessons

Isit, currently the marketing director at The Heico Companies LLC, also got far-reaching career value from an immersive course he took in Digital Leadership. “Digital Leadership was packed with powerful lessons. We learned essentials like strategic leadership in the digital economy, a standards + devotion framework, and the importance of leading with empathy,” he said.

“The course helped me become more effective with change management, persuasive communication through storytelling, people empowerment, and leveraging technology to lead in the digital economy.” You can learn more about his Medill experiences in this IMC Spotlight.

Real-Life Scenarios for Real Learning

Kelly Gallagher, IMC ‘22 and vice president at the public relations firm Ketchum, participated in an immersive course on Crisis Communications. Describing her experience in the course, she said, “I felt like it was very real.”

Each day, the course began with a lecture. Students would then break into small teams to work on a prompt or a question of the day and deliver their results in short order.

“We only had two hours to essentially develop a presentation that we then delivered to someone from this company that we were doing a case for. That's what happens in the real world: You sometimes only have an hour or two to respond or to get something done. And yeah, it's not going to be perfect, but you have to learn to prioritize and say, ‘Okay, these are the things we need to do. These are the things we need to address,’” said Gallagher.

Put Distractions on Pause

Whether the class is online or immersive, all the integrated marketing communications courses in the Medill IMC Professional program emphasize real-world assignments and best practices. But the immersive courses can be especially powerful, freeing you from the distractions of daily life to deepen your subject mastery by working alongside other marketing professionals.

Layth Yehyawi, IMC ‘23 and global social media manager for Gallagher, an international insurance firm, attended the Design Thinking course in San Francisco. “The San Francisco trip was one of, if not the most, impactful educational experience of my life,” Yehyawi said. “Putting everything else on pause and just being dedicated to learning … was a very, very impactful experience.” Learn more about how the Design Thinking course changed Yehyawi’s approach to work.

Experiences You Can Only Get With Medill

Only the IMC Professional program offers working marketers the powerful learning and networking benefits of immersive courses along with the flexibility of online remote courses.

The immersive courses are optional and open to students who have completed the three IMC Professional core courses. Tuition costs are the same as for an online course, although students are responsible for travel costs. Courses, offered during breaks between quarters, are frequently updated in response to changing industry conditions.

Recent Immersive Courses

Medill instructors and expert guests lead immersive courses. The most recent courses have included:

  • Global Perspectives–London, UK, June 2023 (also running in June 2024)
  • Introduction to Marketing Technology, New York City, March 2024
  • Circular Economy and Sustainability, Washington, D.C., June 2023 (running in San Francisco in June 2024)
  • Integrating Sustainability in Brand Management, Santiago, Chile, September 2023 (also running in December 2024)
  • Design Thinking, San Francisco, December 2023 (also running in December 2024)
  • Digital Leadership, Chicago, September 2023 (also running in September 2024)

Learn more about the instructors and the course content.

Greenlighting Your Professional Growth

You may wonder if you can manage the time spent away from work and other commitments to participate in an immersive course. While attending them does require planning, many Medill IMC students have secured their employers’ support by laying out the organizational benefits.

Angel Martinez, IMC ‘23 and a strategic communications specialist at the University of Chicago’s Network for College Success, said, The point of this program is to be able to take whatever I learn, whether it's the 10-week courses or the immersive, and be able to apply it to my work in the day-to-day. So when I was communicating with my manager, it was a pretty straightforward process: this is the course, this is the description, here's how I think it applies to my role.”

Tifair Hamed, IMC ‘23 and CMO of the technology-focused Chicago nonprofit P33, had a similar experience when she arranged to take the Digital Leadership immersive course. “My employer agreed to it,” she said. “They understood that it was around my development and could benefit my current job.”

Incomparable Experiences, Invaluable Connections

Medill instructors are accomplished leaders and marketing trailblazers, and they’re not the only luminaries in the program. Many of your classmates are also rising stars.

“There are people in every facet of marketing in this program, and it's amazing to be able to learn from them,” Hamed said. As she embarked on her path to marketing leadership, fellow students helped her “see where I was in my journey and where I needed to go.”

IMC Professional program students are diverse in many dimensions. They work across disciplines, live around the globe and have a wide range of experiences. They trust Medill IMC to deliver leadership-level insights and powerful professional connections to propel their careers.

Opportunities for Authentic Engagement

“I loved the immersive course,” Gallagher said. “I was able to sit side-by-side with people, interact with the professors, and just have much more engaging conversation and even outside of the class, at night, we would grab dinner, we would go out and just get to know one another. So, I just don't think you can put a price on in-person networking.”

Yehyawi said, “A lot of those classmates, I was able to see now in person for the first time because they weren't from Chicago. So, I was able to take those connections that we had made in the weeks and weeks of working together [in the online courses] and then take those relationships even further and really form bonds with a vast network of people I wouldn't have otherwise met.”

“The network at Northwestern is amazing,” Hamed said. “And that network, they're going through the same thing that you're going through while you're trying to build your career…They become family, and they want to see you win.”

Visit the alumni page to learn more about the company you’ll be keeping when you join the Medill network of marketing leaders.

Make More of Your Career

“If you have a passion for marketing, if you have a passion for this industry and you really want to excel, I think you have to want more,” Yehyawi said. “This is a program that gives you as much as you put into it. This is a program where every time I give it effort, it gives me something back, whether that's a new connection, an opportunity, more knowledge or a vision for the future,” and concluded, “it's been an overwhelmingly positive experience.”

Learn more about how you can join marketers like these in growing your professional network and career with the Medill IMC Professional program. Schedule a call with an admissions outreach advisor, or start your program application today.