CommLeader Spotlight| Aparna Das, Cohort 13

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Graduation date or expected graduation date: December 2014

Area of interest (within the MCDM program or in general):

I want to pursue Content Strategy and would also love to polish my skills in video storytelling.

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I have been lucky to work with some of the best journalists and TV networks in India. Having worked as a reporter, anchor and then a news producer, I wish to now shift my focus from facts and stats to storytelling for a more targeted audience base. My goal over the next few years would be to establish my mark as a content strategist. It’s a new and fast emerging field and I would love to join a team where I can add value with my skill-set and aptitude.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

My experience with the Communication leadership has taught me to re-look at the dynamics of communication in its entirety. The market is constantly changing and this is the time to experiment with content. From my experience at MCDM, I have learnt to take more risks in my creative approach. It’s always exciting to try a new route, a bold idea and as long as we are taking a calculated risk, it will work!

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

That’s a difficult question, most classes have taught me something new on how to better evolve with this emerging digital landscape. However, I have to mention Andrea Zeller’s content strategy class, which was perhaps one of my most the interesting subjects I took. The class got me thinking about content in a whole new perspective.  Given my past experience in TV journalism, I was expecting some familiar thread, but content strategy is so much more than just fixing a copy or writing the perfect headline. From collaboration, execution to governance – it is a very holistic approach to content and its distribution platform. This is a must take class for people with a journalism background!

Another class I thoroughly enjoyed was Rick McPherson’s Business Fundamental class. I have no business studies background and so I had to put in some extra hours, but I learnt a great deal and I would strongly recommend it for students who wish to become entrepreneurs at some point in their lives.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

The entire process of Screen Summit 2014 would be one of my most memorable experiences in the program. The competition was great fun and gave me an opportunity to learn about public speaking from some of the best in the industry. It was a challenging too because participating meant extra work on weekends during the final weeks of the spring quarter, but my Professors were accommodating and my cohort was very supportive throughout the process. It was an honor to be chosen to showcase my work –Project Black Noise.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

Uff…there is a long list of it. My most recent one is to understand how some of the most unique & bizarre hashtags on twitter become so popular. #HowMuchIsTooMuch?

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

When it comes to cross-platform storytelling, I believe there are no boundaries to imagination and creativity! So, I really wish I can experiment with new tools and techniques to become someone who just tells beautiful, meaningful stories

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

I am here as an international candidate, so I am a full-time student. The classes in this course are very well-spaced out, so I actually managed some extra time in hand to pursue my other interests like volunteering, photography, cooking etc.

And for the sake of a silly question:

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

That’s an easy one. Snails – boiled in broth with spices. And no it was not a French delicacy but a local dish in the eastern state of Nagaland, India.

 

Ilona IdlisCommLeader Spotlight| Aparna Das, Cohort 13
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