Please allow me to introduce myself: My name is Adam Koontz, and I am a junior undergraduate student at the University of Virginia. In 2016, I plan on graduating with a degree in Marketing. This hasn’t been an easy path, as I’ve changed majors a couple times now – from English to Business to my current major. But one’s twenties are meant to be a time of trying out different things and seeing what works, what doesn’t, and what makes a person happy, healthy, successful and fulfilled.

I was born in a small town just south of Richmond, Virginia, in the United States. My mother was a schoolteacher for one of the local schools. I believe she taught English and writing, but it all seems so vague now. Today, she is retired and tutors to keep busy. My dad, on the other hand, when I was I born was a journalist for the Richmond newspaper. Since then he has become a columnist for the same newspaper, but he is also an author. I am very proud to say that I come from a family of smart, happy, successful people who have always excelled at what they do.

But there is more to me than my family. I am a person of my own experiences and dreams, hopes, and letdowns. I don’t come from a wealthy family – in fact, we’ve struggled financially over the years, just like other middle-class families. Nothing has ever been fed to me on a silver platter. Like my parents, I’ve worked very hard, even at only 21 years old, for the things I’ve accomplished in life. I’m very proud of this fact.

I am lucky in that my parents have taught me so much knowledge about the real world. Over the years they have helped me find people – friends and co-workers mostly – who would let me volunteer with them and learn about their job, doing short-served internships of sorts. Those experiences in high school and college have led me to my current course of study: Marketing. I have learned, from a very young and impressionable age, that our economic system is Capitalism: an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. Our country is run on the trading and selling of goods that are on a supply-and-demand basis, so it is important to market a product so that the public wants to buy and then does buy it. Marketing is ubiquitous and needed for every industry and market. Word-of-mouth advertising, of course, is effective, but it is nowhere near as helpful in turning profit as marketing.

The term “Marketing” is indeed a vague one. It means advertising or promoting something, or as in offering for sale. It is done through advertisements on billboards, TV, radio, print publications, online publications, etc. Marketing is also done through the media – as in articles and stories about people, businesses, and products. When I graduate I will be prepared to start a career in the field, which will always be needed and adaptable to weak or strong economies. My focus will be in digital advertising as a way to market something. This involves many important and much-needed skills. Selling would involve superb language and communication skills, as well as superb interpersonal and listening skills. A salesman or saleswoman has to ease into learning of selling of their product or service, I’ve learned. (In summer between semesters in college, I did a short stint selling advertisements in the community newspaper; it was a very helpful experience. I did well and made some spending money, but I also learned how to talk to people and sell.) Meeting with a potential client, on a sales call, is a lot like the hybrid of a job interview and auditioning for a role in a play. You need to know your lines, or at least be prepared to read aloud and use notes as a prompt. My goal is to own an advertising agency which will help big businesses, like Fortunate 500 businesses, market their products or services. I have a lot to learn, but I’m certainly on my way to getting there.

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