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Medill IMC Launches Global Brand Communication Program in London

Medill IMC in London
Medill IMC in London

For years, IMC graduate students have been able to take advantage of some of the most innovative and creative cities in the world through Medill’s commitment to broaden horizons. And now IMC is offering a five-week intensive global branding course in London to be held for the first time this fall.

London is a leading center of finance, culture and business, and the Medill IMC Global Brand Communication Management course in London aims to give students a comprehensive understanding of building a brand in a global context. Using London as a classroom, students will learn from top local scholars and industry experts. And given the recent referendum in which the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, a rich learning opportunity awaits these IMC students.

Courtney Wessel (IMC16) says she values Medill IMC for offering global experiences within the curriculum and jumped at the opportunity to explore branding outside Chicago.

“I studied abroad in London during undergrad and it was a life-changing experience. I love London almost as much as I love Chicago, so it was a no-brainer for me to apply for the [course],” she said. “I think learning in London will be the highlight of my time in the IMC program, as it is unlike anything offered elsewhere.”

Adjunct Lecturer Heidi Schultz and Professor Emeritus-in-Service Don Schultz will jointly teach the two-credit course. “[Don and I have] been lucky enough that we’ve worked in London and we’ve done work with a lot of international brands,” Heidi Schultz said.

The program will teach students to consistently define a brand at the highest level while keeping it relevant to people from a variety of backgrounds.

“Students will have a better knowledge and appreciation for the issues of managing a brand across multiple cultures and constituencies, whether it’s across borders or across neighborhoods,” Heidi Schultz said.

Students will learn about global branding, brand equity, retail and luxury marketing with the opportunity to interact with leading brands and agencies. Wessel says she is looking forward to the networking opportunities and the chance to see the inner workings of the many companies the program plans to visit.

“I think talking to professionals in the industry will not only be a great learning experience, but [it will] also teach me more about cultural differences and industry differences in branding in the U.S. compared to the U.K.,” she said.

Joseph Macdougall (IMC16) is also thrilled about the opportunity.

“I think there are very few if any better places in the world to learn about global branding than London,” he said. “I also like that, unlike other [global] programs we will have Northwestern faculty traveling with us, that ensures we will be getting quality instruction.”

Heidi Schultz values London as the backdrop to this comprehensive marketing program because it is such a strong market for retail.

“Besides being the home to many brands, there’s been a lot of really forward thinking. The whole area of brand valuation really started in London, in the financial markets,” she said.

The Schultz team designed the course around the diversity of brands in the city to offer a concentrated branding experience. Students will do everything from interact with grocery store branding, to address the paradoxes of luxury brand strategy.

“London is an important financial center and it has also been very important to development, particularly of modern contemporary thinking, in the area of brands and branding,” Heidi Schultz said.

The global branding course in London is another example of meaningful pathways available to Medill students.

“I think in terms of branding, it’s really unique,” Heidi Schultz said. “There aren’t many programs in either business schools or IMC marketing advertising programs that have this kind of concentrated branding experience, with the goal of getting in front of famous global brands.”

Macdougall said the IMC graduate program initially attracted him because of its versatility and innovation.

“IMC really intrigued me because it blends marketing, PR and advertising approaches and focuses heavily on the customer, which I think is really important in the world we live in today,” he said. “It has allowed me to interact and work with a diverse cohort and learn from some great faculty.” 

The program in London was created and developed by Jenna Massey, IMC full-time program director, director of IMC global initiatives and IMC lecturer. This London course is part of Medill IMC’s global academic initiatives that Massey oversees, including an exchange program with Sciences Po in Paris and academic programs with top schools in Asia, including Nanyang Technological University and City University of Hong Kong. Medill IMC also offers students the opportunity to take a Global Perspectives course that includes a two-week business and research trip to Asia as well as study domestically at Northwestern’s campus in San Francisco.