Graduating from Grady: Advice with Alumna Allie Bunting
By Lydia Coffman
Many students worry about how to be successful after graduation, but what about all the moments leading up to it? Alumna Allie Bunting shares her experiences both during and after her time at Grady, one of the nation’s most highly accredited journalism and mass communication schools.
Bunting graduated in December 2020 with a degree in public relations and certificates in new media and music business. Bunting paired together her passions for technology and music when selecting her areas of study. “I chose new media because I was intrigued by what I could learn about the tech side of advertising and PR. I learned a lot about the history of media and its importance in the industry, and I also got some insight into coding and other technical aspects that I otherwise would not have been exposed to,” Bunting said. Bunting studied music business to learn how to link her PR degree to the music industry so that she could help artists share their work with their audiences.
Just a year later, Bunting earned her master’s and an additional certificate in media analytics through Georgia’s Double Dawgs program. Double Dawgs gave Bunting “a competitive edge when going into the workforce as did learning more about media analytics.” Additionally, graduate school helped Bunting realize the “importance of reviewing performance and metrics in order to understand what works well and what doesn’t, and therefore, how to strategize for the future.”
During her time at the University of Georgia, Bunting joined an array of activities to further advance her academic pursuits. Some of Bunting’s favorite extracurriculars included copywriting for the Talking Dog agency, interning for the AdPR department and academy and working for the InfUSion magazine. Bunting also took on leadership roles as the coordinator for the Socially Conscious Program Development for University Union as well as the curator and student council member for TEDxUGA. Bunting especially enjoyed her position in TEDxUGA because it relied on project management and collaboration, two qualities Bunting found to be essential in the workplace.
Bunting credits some of her success to her involvement in PRSSA. “I definitely think it helped me prepare for working post-graduation with all of the networking opportunities it provided and guest speakers we were able to listen to! Those sessions always inspired me and helped give me insight into what it’s like to work in the advertising and PR industry,” Bunting recalled.
Currently, Bunting is a Marketing Operations and Analytics Specialist at NCR Corporation. Bunting manages the relationship between sales and marketing. In addition, Bunting reports campaign and marketing team performance. Collaboration is a key aspect of the daily routine at NCR. Bunting’s calendar is stacked full of meetings with the digital marketing team, integrated marketers, the automation team, the sales team and IT. When she is not in a meeting, Bunting can be found “working on reporting lead generation and opportunity revenue, KPIs and any other analytics request someone from the marketing or communications team may have.”
As a recent graduate of Grady and PRSSA, Bunting has ample advice for students looking to excel during their time in college. “Look for certifications, clubs, programs, study abroad opportunities, etc. that will add to what you learn in your classes. Grady does a good job of making certain online certifications required for finishing a course, but I recommend looking into more in your free time,” Bunting suggests. “Having a UGA email gets you free access to a lot of courses that you can earn certifications from, which will help you add skills to your resume and LinkedIn. Even LinkedIn Learning can help you develop more hard and soft skills!”
Bunting’s final recommendation for current students is to attend Grady sessions. “Sometimes it may be the last thing you want to do after a day of classes, but going to those guest speakers and networking sessions can really make a huge difference– same with career fairs! Even if you are a freshman or sophomore, going to those things will help you prepare and practice, and you’ll only get better and less nervous the more you do them!”
These career fairs were what led Bunting to land her job with NCR. “I went to the UGA All Majors Career Fair my junior year of undergrad and stopped by the NCR booth just to give it a shot. I was able to secure an internship with them that summer for digital marketing. That internship was virtual since it was 2020, but I made it a point to network with as many people as possible and to involve myself in multiple areas within marketing! I was then able to secure a part-time position when I went back to school in August, moving from digital marketing to marketing ops! After that, I interned for another summer between my senior year and graduate school, continued to work part-time during the school year and then started full-time after I graduated in February 2022.” Bunting’s ambition and drive led her to seize a multitude of opportunities while in Grady.
“I really think that all the experiences I had within Grady prepared me well for the working world,” Bunting said. “My advice to students would be to really soak up all the opportunities Grady has to offer while you’re still there.” Allie Bunting’s time in Grady illustrates the importance of making the most of the opportunities within the college both during and after graduation.