As we talk about all the things that can prepare you for the professional world of publishing and what are the best things for you, it seemed fitting to have our newest team member, Julia Nollen, tell us why she chose do to NYU’s Summer Publishing Institute Certificate program. Is it really worth the time and money, we wondered?
As a recent college graduate and MPI‘s newest intern, I want to pursue a career in publishing because I enjoy every step of the process. Write, read, revise, design, discuss, repeat. Publishing is the one industry where I am constantly inspired by the product and its environment.
Last year, I set my sights high in hopes of breaking into the industry by applying for New York University’s prestigious Summer Publishing Institute Certificate Program. SPI (as it’s regularly referred to) annually accepts about 100 applicants worldwide to its 6-week-long intensive course, which is comprised of lectures and tutorials from some of the most influential and innovative members of the industry. From designing magazine feature spreads to drafting profit and loss statements, students are given a crash course in all things publishing.
While at the University of Delaware, I learned the importance of effective written and visual communication through studying English and Film, and several extra-curricular opportunities contributed to my passion for reading and editing (I blame fifteen years of ballet and Ph.D.-educated parents for my unrelenting attention to detail). However, it wasn’t until week two at SPI that I can truly say I found and focused my professional passions. Up to my elbows in InDesign files and portfolios, I realized I wanted to work in digital publishing and design, and wouldn’t stop until I got there.
What I found most appealing about SPI was its focus on the current and future state of the publishing industry. Print runs are shrinking, and unit costs are growing, we’re told. Texts are now tweets, and looking over your shoulder no longer reveals the identities of those “following” you. But publishing houses are using the web’s unprecedented reach to enhance product discoverability and to expand existing audiences. By offering weekly web design workshops and tutorials for both print and digital platforms, SPI’s lectures embrace this change and cover all avenues of publishing. Students are asked to analyze current trends and consider future solutions.
Though many consider a graduate certificate unnecessary due to the industry’s apprenticeship nature, attending the SPI program has been worth its (rather hefty) weight in gold. I have made invaluable contacts through the wide breadth of resources NYU eagerly extends its attendees, and have secured three internships for the fall season. Other students were offered full-time positions because of their time at NYU. And, if building lasting relationships with HR managers from the Big Six isn’t enough incentive, consider the valuable feedback you’re guaranteed to receive on your résumé, interview performance, and overall contribution to both magazine and book groups. There is nothing like nervously sliding one’s magazine designs across a table, only to be critiqued and commended by the Art Director of Esquire. Though our conversation was followed by a few residual heart palpitations, Mr. Curcurito‘s advice left a lasting impression and inspired me to radically reconsider my professional goals.
While every person’s experience at SPI is unique, most alumni (including me) would enthusiastically recommend the program to others. Ultimately, there’s nothing like learning about the industry in its epicenter locale of New York City, alongside other like-minded bibliophiles and aspiring publishing professionals.