Brandcenter student earns highly sought international fellowship

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Steven Ebert

Steven Ebert, who will receive his M.S. in May from the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter in the School of Business, has been offered the 2016-2019 WPP Fellowship, a coveted three-year, postgraduate rotational program with the world’s largest communications services group.

The fellowship comprises three one-year rotations through WPP companies, with each rotation chosen on the basis of the individual's interests and the group's needs. Ebert, who is in the communications strategy track at the Brandcenter, will spend his first year at brand consultancy agency Added Value in New York City. Years two and three are to be determined, he said, but will likely be abroad.

The fellowship is a dream come true, really.

A senior executive from WPP’s board will mentor Ebert. At the end of the fellowship, Ebert could have a permanent position with a WPP company.

“The fellowship is a dream come true, really,” Ebert said. “Beyond the professional development, I’m most excited for the mentorship that comes along with all of this.”

Each year, between 1,500 and 2,000 people apply for the fellowship, and only eight to 12 people are hired for it.

The process starts with a lengthy application, Ebert said. Most of the questions are designed to tease out the way an applicant thinks about the world. While some of the questions are marketing-focused, most are open-ended.

“As far as why I applied, it was partially about pursuing a dream job and partially about seeing if I had what it took to land it,” he said. “The final round was 24 of the most impressive people I’ve ever met. Really passionate, dedicated, inspiring folks, all of whom were uniquely qualified. … I think the important thing to know is that [while] the statistical odds are daunting, it’s absolutely within reach. My professors at Brandcenter prepared me well.”

Ebert is the fifth Brandcenter alumnus to become a WPP Fellow. The others are Emily Collier Sengenberger, Emanuel Basnight, Katie Chapin and Haywood Watkins.


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