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Alumni Perspective: An Interview with Chris Milhous ’83, President and CEO of Ogilvy South

Chris Milhous ’83 [Photo Credit: Byron E. Small, Atlanta Business Chronicle]

Chris Milhous, President and CEO of Ogilvy South and Bucknell Class of 1983 reached out to the Bucknell Career Development Center to offer insight and advice for current Bucknell students looking to go into marketing and communications, but his advice is applicable to anyone that will be working with clients on a daily basis.

Ogilvy and Mather is a marketing and communications company with clients including Coca-Cola, UPS, Holiday Inn, Royal Caribbean, Sea-Doo, Hilton Head Island, Zoosk, Boy Scouts of America, Darden Restaurant group, Dollywood, and CNN. Mr. Milhous’ office moved from the outskirts to the heart of Atlanta, Georgia in 2012, adding a second location for Ogilvy digital labs and moving into an area shared by young artists and large clients, such as Coca-Cola.

The following is an excerpt from a brief email interview:

Q:What different departments exist within your office and how do they interact?
A: We have five core verticals or businesses – Advertising, Direct, PR, Activation and Production Studio.  We are divided into Account Services, Creative, Technology, Project Management and Administration.

Q: An old article I read was commending Ogilvy’s decision to move their Georgia office into the heart of Atlanta, do you think that it’s been beneficial to the office?
A: It’s been a very good move for us.  Higher visibility/profile, closer location to younger talent and suppliers.  Good energy.

Q: I saw on your LinkedIn profile that you know French, do you think that your second language has helped you in your career? How so?
A: I would not say that French has been any benefit.  Spanish, Chinese, Russian or Japanese…maybe.  Sea-Doo is owned by a French Canadian company and is the only time I have spoken French in business in 30 years and that was only so that they could laugh at my poor language skills.  English truly is the international business language, though comfort with languages, just to be polite and respectful goes a long ways.  I can handle basic greetings in Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and Swahili…but no further.

Q: What kind of experience do you look for in new hires at OgilvyAction?
A: Ogilvy Action is our Activation arm.  They do shopper marketing, promotional marketing, experiential marketing.  They look for gregarious, confident, self-sufficient and insightful talent.

Q: Is there one thing that an applicant has put on a resume or something that they has done in an interview that made or broke their chance of being hired?
A: Typos are a big no-no.  Good grammar and good writing skills stand out greatly as the ability to write deteriorates.  Accomplishments stand out.

Q: What new ideas are you most excited about right now?
A: The convergence of CRM, Social and the entire Digital revolution.

If you’re interested in the Marketing and Communications industry, it’s important to do your research. Chris Milhous described his company’s culture as “smart, insightful, curious, candid, intuitive, persistent, hard working, [and] informal.” Find a company that fits what you’d like to do and learn everything you can about it. The more you know about the history, current events, portfolio, and culture of a company, the more at ease you’ll be during an interview. You can start with a simple google search. Many company websites have vital and in-depth information featured and that insight can help you find more details elsewhere on the internet.

If you’d like to learn more about Ogilvy and Mather, visit their website, and the Atlanta office has it’s own blog on which Chris Milhous has posted:

Ogilvy & Mather is ranked #2 on Vault Best Advertising Agencies; read the Vault profile.

To get your industry research started, the CDC recommends the following links:

This post was written and researched by Bucknell Sophomore Allison Friedlander, Bucknell School of Management MIDE student and Social Media & Marketing Peer Specialist for the Career Center.

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