End of An Era: The FINAL BIC Blogger Blog

Marshall McLuhan famously said "The medium is the message." With that, we're excited to announce that our integrated program for an integrated world is finally able to integrate the BIC blog into our own distinctive BIC website. Say "so long" to our blogger blog launched in 2013 and join us in celebrating the same industry news and BIC success stories at www.bic-ccny.org which launched in 2020. The website's new blog feature will continue to spread the word on everything BIC as well as archive the incredible work our BICsters have done over the years. 

The new BIC blog was designed and executed by Menos es más, a branding company which was founded in 1996 by BIC Board Member, Graphic designer and Branding consultant, Gustavo Stecher. Menos es más has offices in Argentina and New York and specializes in iconic, cultural and identity branding, working mostly in destination, corporate and institutional identity. They are also responsible for the main BIC site. We couldn't ask for a better partner to make our vision a reality.

We hope to see you on our new blog where you can follow along with everything BIC from our students to our faculty to our alums.... It's not goodbye, it's see you later..... 

Check out the new blog HERE!!

BIC Women On The Rise

From creative strategy to influencers to data integration, the women of BIC are on the rise. Congratulations to NiRey, Hedda and Dhvani who are unstoppable in their new roles and putting their BIC skills to use.  

NiRey Reynolds BIC '17 just left The One Club for Creativity for a Director position at McCann North America. As Director of Creative Impact, NiRey works alongside the Co-Chief Creative Officers primarily supporting the creative department by organizing and nurturing creative ideas. She is also the liaison for awards and creative industry initiatives. Prior to this role NiRey was the Education Manager at The One Club for Creativity, the world’s foremost non-profit organization recognizing creative excellence in advertising and design, producing The Young Ones Student Awards and heading the Education department.

Hedda Davidsen BIC '20 is now a PR Communications Consultant/Social Media Specialist at Involve!, a Norwegian advertising agency delivering Advertising, PR, Content, Design, Web, SoMe, Video and Print. Specifically, Hedda will work with clients to figure out how they can use PR to connect and communicate with their audience. Whether it be organically through traditional media, or through social media - often in collaboration with a fitting influencer. On a day-to-day basis, this means working with multiple clients at once, doing a lot of following up, and deciding what's next before implementing it. For some clients, Hedda does a lot of press work, such as writing and sending out press releases to the right outlets. While for others she solely works with influencers. And for some she's in charge of all their social accounts. Before Involve!, Hedda was an Onboarding Specialist at Fortum.

Dhvani Unadkat BIC '15 recently started working with Edelman Data and Intelligence as an Account Supervisor, Performance Intelligence. Edelman Data and Intelligence is a global, multidisciplinary research, analytics and data consultancy with a distinctly human mission. In this role, Dhvani will lead the development of measurement frameworks, learning agendas, and data integration across multiple work streams for global clients. She will also be responsible for driving performance marketing reporting, analysis and insights across multiple paid channels about sales drivers and key revenue performance metrics to support corporate analytics and translating business requirements into technical requirements. Prior to this, Dhvani was at Hunter PR as a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst.

Brava, ladies!! We're so proud of how you continue to shine and rise in your post BIC life! 

“You love Black culture, but do you love me?” >> The BIC Interview with Castro Desroches '16

As a student in the BIC Class of 2016, Castro Desroches was already pushing boundaries in the creative space. His final BIC portfolio made headlines in AdWeek for being entirely on Instagram as two giant grids. Droga5 took notice and offered him a job as an art director a few days before graduation. While there, he created notable campaigns for Under Armor (his spot featuring Misty Copeland earned him an Athena Award), Twizzlers, and Google Pixel.

Now Creative Director at Translation, Castro's latest campaign, “You Love Me” for Beats by Dre, is a tour de force of storytelling with profound cultural significance. Named one of Ad Age's best spots of 2020, “You Love Me?” was directed by Melina Matsoukas (Queen & Slim) and written by Lena Waithe with music by Solange Knowles. It intercuts everyday people with such stars as Naomi Osaka, Bubba Wallace, Lil Baby, along with activists like Janaya Future Khan.

A few months ago, BIC sat down with Castro to talk about “You Love Me” as well as his new "side gig" as a BIC professor this Spring and any advice for aspiring creatives.

BIC: Let's kick this off by talking about your recent work for Beats by Dre. Can you tell us a little more about how the spot came about and its importance?

Castro Desroches: When the George Floyd tragedy happened, it made people reassess their role in society -- as humans, as creatives, and the industry as a whole. And so Beats, along with our team, decided that the brand needed to refocus its messaging to make sure the audience could feel heard in a way they weren’t before.

Luckily, we had a truly great director in Melina Matsoukas who championed the idea of Black existence as a revolution against the pitfalls and barriers facing Black Americans. So our concept grew from there. During the process, Doc Rivers, ex-coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, made an impassioned speech proclaiming that the world loves the culture, the basketball, they love everything that is yielded from Black creation, but they don't love the humanity. They don't love the people. That took hold as our central thesis.

BIC: What was your specific creative role in the spot? What was the day-to-day like?

CD: I was a senior creative from the initial brief. This included the concept, art direction and a little bit of writing. I was also able to collaborate with fellow senior writer Steve Horn. The spot was a culmination of the creative, account, context and strategy teams at Translation, as well as Beats by Dre, and Prettybird.

This work was deeply personal and because of that I knew we had to do it right if we were going to do it at all.

BIC: Can you talk through the use of celebrity in the spot?

CD: Instead of showing celebrities as we see them in pop culture, we showed the Black community just living life. It was important to show the humanity of celebrities, irrespective of what they’re famous for. We wanted to show that they're human, not superhuman.

[You can watch the full "You Love Me" spot HERE.]

BIC: So how did you get to where you are today?

CD: It’s been a crazy journey. I went to City College of New York for my BA in Communication Design. I worked as an art director at a few Pharma agencies before going back to City College for my Masters at BIC in the Creative track, which was amazing. I then landed at Droga5 right after graduation where I stayed for about three years. It was extremely challenging and very competitive, but I learned a ton. And now I'm just sort of taking all those learnings into my new role at Translation.

In particular, Nancy R. Tag (BIC Program Director) and Gerardo Blumenkrantz (Professor and Creative Track Director) have been there every step of the way. You really need that energy in this industry, to know that there’s a village that has your back. I hope to give that same energy to the students I’ll be teaching this spring semester.
BIC: As you mentioned, you're currently teaching B3012 Design and Portfolio Development during the Spring semester. How do you plan on bringing your day-to-day as a creative director into a more academic setting?

CD: I’ll be having lots of guest speakers from the industry. We all have very different stories and reference points as creatives. My one story might not resonate with everyone. It also introduces students to different professionals, giving them connections for when they're ready to go out into the industry.

BIC: What would be your advice for aspiring creatives?

CD: What makes you unique is what you bring to the table and what makes you you is what you should bring into storytelling. If I tried to assimilate or just do what I see others doing, I wouldn't be whole. I'd be doing myself a disservice and not telling stories that resonate with me. So my advice is really to channel what makes you, you.


Our thanks to Castro for sitting down with us for this interview, which has been edited for clarity and conciseness. You can check out more of his work here including a number of high profile spots such as Rivian, Twizzlers, Under Armour, Prudential, Google, Instagram Portfolio, Viral Status, “Ezra” and Mozilla Firefox.

One Degree. Two Continents. Three BICsters Rising.

From New York to Dubai, Brian, Natalie and Maxime are proving the value of a BIC degree and rising all over the world.
Brian Mortensen BIC '16 recently became an Account Executive at Justworks where he will be working with small/medium-sized businesses and non-profits to help focus on their mission and their people. Justworks empowers teams to access enterprise-level benefits while automating back-office tasks in payroll, HR, and compliance on a user-friendly all-in-one platform. As the fastest-growing HR technology company in the country, they're in an exciting period of expansion while still remaining focused on their core values of COGIS - Camaraderie, Openness, Grit, Integrity, and Simplicity. Prior to this role, Brian was a Supervising Multimedia Producer at MLB Advanced Media.

Natalie Alcide BIC '19 is now an Art Director at Grey. Specifically, Natalie will be joining the Discover team, the largest account at the agency, to help reshape the brand's tone and creative platform across video, print, digital, and social. Prior to this role, she was a Junior Art Director at PR firm DeVries Global, where she worked primarily on digital and social creative for Aussie/P&G Beauty and Samsung.

Maxime Menant BIC '15 recently took a job as a Brand Strategist for the METAP region (Middle East, Turkey, Africa, Pakistan) at TikTok and is based in Dubai. Prior to this, Maxime was a Strategy Director at TBWA\Raad where his main clients included KFC / FERRERO Group (Kinder & Tic Tac) / INFINITI / Facebook / PEPSICO (Lay’s) / Standard Chartered Bank (SCB). Maxime has also worked as a Senior Strategic Planner at Wunderman Thompson and as a Brand Planner at Ogilvy & Mather

Bravo to our BICsters for spreading their BIC knowledge all over the world!

Two Incoming BICsters Win The LAGRANT Foundation Scholarship

Congratulations to two incoming BICsters who have won the prestigious The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF) scholarship: Isabella Santana and Sabrina Khan

In a powerhouse showing, they are among just 20 graduate students nationwide to receive a TLF scholarship whose winners share the foundation's mission of increasing ethnic diversity in the advertising, marketing and public relations industries. Isabella and Sabrina will each receive $3,750 and join an impressive list of students from institutions such as Columbia, Vanderbilt University, University of Southern California, Loyola University Chicago, Arizona State University and University of Texas at Austin.

Prior to BIC, Isabella was a student in the City College of New York's Ad-PR Program and graduated in 2020. Sabrina also graduated in 2020 from CUNY New York City College of Technology with a degree in Communication Design/Advertising.

Celebrating its 23rd year, TLF has generously awarded over $100,000 in scholarships to graduate students from the BIC program at The City College of New York — more than any other single college. BICsters have been recipients of a TLF scholarship every year since our launch in 2013. Past BIC scholarship winners are: Fred Garcia and Amber Jackson, BIC '15, Donna Dei-Baning, BIC '16, Dalisbeth Galvez, Melissa Julien, and Priscilla Parra, BIC '17, Charisse Holder, Erica Lopez, and Sean Feol-Baugh, BIC '18, Jennifer Cuffari, LaToya Heron, Amera Lulu, Kelvin Morales, and Rebecca Rivera, BIC '19, and Mohamed Amribet, John Holliday-Stewart, Carlos Matias, Carmen Quang, Raymond Sein, Kamattie Singh, BIC '20, Paul Bernabe, Dimandja Utshudi, and Ayush Kumar, BIC '21.

The LAGRANT Foundation has provided 703 scholarships and $2.9 million since its inception in 1998. Founded by Kim L. Hunter, its mission to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations is generously supported by its major donors and supporters. TLF provides students with career & professional development workshops, scholarships, internships, entry-level positions and mentors to African American/Black, Alaska Native/Native American, Asian American/Pacific Islander and Hispanic/Latino undergraduate and graduate students.

A BIG BIC Brava to Isabella and Sabrina! What a great way to kick off your BIC journey!

You can read more about the 2021 LAGRANT Foundation Scholarship here

Portfolio Bootcamp Reboot: A BIC Tradition Returns in 2021

Action from a previous Portfolio Bootcamp.

Each year, BIC follows its annual recruiting event, the BIC PiP (Portfolios-in-Progress), with a weeklong Portfolio Bootcamp, where graduating students get the chance to work intensely on their portfolios with the help of visiting professionals who provide design, content, and storytelling expertise. Sadly, last year's Portfolio Bootcamp was cancelled due to the pandemic, but it returned this year in a virtual format from March 22nd to the 25th. In keeping with the mood of the times, the week was re-dubbed Portfolio Therapy with new opportunities for reflection, celebration, and innovation, including an Open Mic Night for students and War Stories from alumni. Despite being virtual, BICsters were still able to roll up their sleeves and take their portfolios to the next level.  

Our professional mentors offered invaluable expertise and substantive feedback giving BIC students all the insider tips, trick, and tools they'll need to perfect their portfolios for what we expect will be standout presentations on Portfolio Thesis Defense day June 1, 2021.

A BIG BIC THANKS to our amazing experts: Roberto Bernasconi, Co-Founder Bardo Industries, Mark Brooks, Brand Director of Adobe 99U, Laura Giraudo, Creative Director of Bardo Industries, Gustavo Stecher, Founder of Menos es Mas, Leandro Incetta, UX/UI, Senior Product Designer, Xero, Yoni Weiss, Graphic Designer, Chelsea Campbell, Experiential Creative Director at Pandora Media, Monique Naoum, User Experience Consultant, Gustavo Asman, SVP Creative Director, Pyramid Communications, Michael Bruno, Head of Strategy at Weber Shandwick, Jeannie Huang, Experience Design Manager at Adobe, Mark Robin, Senior Creative Lead, Video Director of Bloomberg Media Group, George Logothetis, Freelance Creative Director, and Babak Rassi, Film/Video Editor, CCNY Professor.

Action from a previous Portfolio Bootcamp.

We were especially excited to welcome back some BIC alums who are now successful pros -- and truly know how to bring BIC portfolios to life. Joining us for the final session Alumni War Stories: Plus Troubleshooting, was Ray Sein BIC '20, Alex Suazo BIC '15, Andy Kwan BIC '16, Cassondra Bazelow BIC '16, LaToya Heron BIC '19, Jose Fresan BIC '20, Lorenzo Lasagna BIC '20, Melissa Orr BIC '20, and Natalie Alcide BIC '19. 

Action from a previous Portfolio Bootcamp.

A Big BIC thank you to all our BICsters for their tenacity, perseverance, and dedication to developing their portfolios. We can't wait to see the work you defend in June! 

BIC Prof Sandra Stahl's “The Art & Craft of PR” en español

BIC BIC Brava to Founding BIC faculty member and Professor Sandra Stahl whose award-winning book The Art & Craft of PR has been expanded into Spanish via Cuantica Activa Audiolibros and is now available as an audiobook on 300 platforms and retailers -- Audible, Storytel, Audibooks, AudioTeka, Cuantica. The Art & Craft of PR has been recommended or required reading in PR and marketing courses at universities around the world. 

"My hope, from the beginning, for The Art & Craft of PR was to offer a forward-looking perspective about public relations that connected with current practitioners and those considering entering the field. It is very exciting to expand its reach to Spanish-speaking audiences around the world. As an audiobook, Arte y Oficio de las Relaciones Publicas is a really fun listen-- it not only features a great reader who brings to life the ideas, the stories and anecdotes, there's also music and a terrific translation." said Sandra. 

Drawing on decades of experience in agency and corporate positions, The Art & Craft of PR is a user’s manual of skills that distinguish PR as integral to meeting an organization's needs and business challenges. Her book includes insights from communications leaders at corporate, agency, and industry powerhouses including Burson-Marsteller, Chevron, Edelman, Levi-Strauss, and the Holmes Report. You can read a review of the book here.

Sandra is the co-founder of jacobstahl, a full-service in-house PR agency which was recently acquired by Global Independent PR agency, Ruder Finn. She is a founding faculty at BIC and teaches the Branding Influentials course. Sandra guest lectures frequently at schools and conferences around the world. The Art & Craft of PR has won numerous awards since publication in 2018 and is on the BookAuthority 21 Best New Public Relations Books to Read in 2020.

Congratulations, Sandra!

BICsters Impress Talent Seekers at the Virtual BIC PiP 2021

Each Spring, our annual recruiting event, the BIC PiP, showcases the talents of soon-to-be graduates who present their Portfolios-in-Progress to a roomful of industry recruiters, talent seekers, and career catalysts. BICsters in the Management/Planning, Public Relations, and Creative Tracks use the PiP to not only expose their thinking to recruiters, but use the feedback to elevate their portfolios for BIC's Portfolio Thesis Defense in June. 

This year, BIC held the PiP remotely via Zoom which limited the number of participants. But students were still inspired by an engaged group of recruiters from companies such as TBWA\Chiat\Day, TBWA\WorldwideFleishmanHillard, Jack Morton Worldwide, Google, Ogilvy, VMLY&R, BBH, BCW Global, DayOne Agency, DiMassimo Goldstein, Mother, Ruder Finn, Hunter, Fenton, McGarrah Jessee, MRM, the community, The Martin Agency, W2O Group, Weber Shandwick, Concentric Health Experience, DDB, DeVries GlobalGolin, Digitas North America and StrawberryFrog

BIC is the only academic program with the chutzpah to give recruiters a sneak peek at portfolios prior to completion. This allows them to cultivate talent before the portfolios hit the market. During the two and a half hour event, recruiters from top agencies and companies had the opportunity to tap into the agile thinking, sharp skills, and dynamic personalities of 30 cross-disciplinary BIC students from the Class of 2021 as they went from breakout room to breakout room -- like speed dating, only with a professional spin.

Action from a previous BIC PiP

A big BIC thanks to all our recruiters and BICsters for their energy, feedback, and — most of all — their curiosity. For those who missed BIC’s 2021 PiP Recruiting Event, there’s always next year...!

BICsters Following In The Footsteps of BICsters

They say the communications industry is small and everyone knows everyone. Well it's even smaller in the BIC universe.

Current BICster Anmol Dhamrait BIC ' 22 just scored a role as Brand Coordinator at Patients & Purpose, an healthcare advertising agency that is part of Omnicom Health Group. Anmol follows in the footsteps of BIC alum Marta Mugica Telleria BIC ' 17 who was an Art Director at Patients and Purpose where she worked for clients such as Vertex, AstraZeneca and Fintepla. While Marta has now transitioned to a new role as an Art Supervisor at McCann Health New York, it's great to see our BICsters following in each other's footsteps and demonstrating the power of a BIC degree both during and after the program. 

Patients and Purpose is as full service as it gets, working on all kinds of health brands—from pre-launch to post-LOE, rare to common, and DTP to DTC. By utilizing future-focused capabilities and rich, deep experience, Patients and Purpose move brands and their customers forward. You can learn more about them here

Brava, ladies!

ONLY A FEW SPOTS LEFT >> Apply to BIC by April 25th!

Good news! Starting April 16th, BIC will have rolling admissions through April 25th. There are only a few spots left. So take a deep breath. You got this!! 

ABOUT BIC: the Graduate Program in Branding + Integrated Communications at City College.

Supercharged by the diverse, dynamic energy of the world's media capital, BIC is both of the moment and about the future. It's a grad program. A think tank. An executive training ground. BIC is where you roll up your sleeves and figure out how communication creates meaning and adds value: to a company, for the consumer, in society.

Our unique 36-credit, portfolio-driven master's degree program combines theory and practice in an interdisciplinary, multi-tracked curriculum. Who are BICsters? Idea catalysts. Culture creators. Social Do-Gooders. Communication strategists. Creative managers. PR activators. Conceptualizers. Wordsmiths. Designers. Brand galvanizers. Problem solvers. Forward thinkers. Lateral thinkers. Deep thinkers. Non-Bloviators...

Curious? Apply here