Where Are They Now? Michaela Eichenbaum '10

June 19, 2012

Michaela Eichenbaum

After graduation, Michaela headed out to sunny San Diego, California for a job at SURFING Magazine.

What did you study at Simmons?


What is a typical day like at your job?

Out of everything I do, my unpaid internship is hands down my favorite, and there is nothing typical about it! I report to the art director and he gives me a couple of projects per day, anything from designing web banners, to organizing and preparing photos and files, to creating sponsor banners and advertisements for events (for example, I recently created a banner to represent SURFING Magazine at the Newport Film Festival).
The team here is very small, so I am learning up close and personal the creative process behind making a magazine.

What was the job application process like for you?

When they tell you it's all about who you know, they aren't kidding. I asked a good friend and mentor of mine if he had any contacts at the magazines in SoCal. He is an amazing action sports photographer who has done a lot of freelance work for many different surf magazines. He gave me the associate photo editor's contact info at SURFING and I shot him a short email explaining my deal and attached my resume. He then put me in touch with the art director.
They were hiring an associate art director at the time, I applied for that, but didn't get the job. I heard back from the Art Director about a month or so later asking if I would be interested in an internship (um, yeah!) I interviewed with him and started the following week.

What is your favorite part of your job?

Besides the fact that when the waves are good we all go and surf together either before work or at our lunch break, I love the camaraderie and the atmosphere. It's laid back and I really love that I'm learning everyday. I'm learning new Photoshop and InDesign techniques from extremely respectable people. I'm also learning a lot more about the culture, the industry, and the process of making a magazine. I'll be ready to start my own someday.

How did you know the organization was a good fit for you?

After being a part of the COMMTRACKS team my senior year at Simmons, I knew I wanted to make magazines. I'm a surfer girl at heart and everything and anything involving surfing makes me happy. I come to work and I'm making art that relates to something that I love. I have felt nothing but positives vibes from the people who work here. I always introduce myself when I meet other people around the office (SURFING is under the same roof as about 12 other magazines, all action sports related) and the longer I'm here the more comfortable I get. Also a full-time position has opened up since I've been here that I'm currently "in the running for" (fingers and toes crossed!) It's all about being in the right place at the right time and being patient, a most challenging virtue for me, but I'm slowly learning.

What was your favorite class you took at Simmons? Why?

Tough question! I honestly loved most of my classes at Simmons, especially during senior year. I would have to say Studio5 with Professors Sarah Burrows and Ellen Grabiner because it gave us a legitimate taste of the real world, with some support and guidance. Both teachers took the time to get to know each student and paired us accordingly with an appropriate client and assignment within the group.

If you could come back and take one class at Simmons what would it be?

I would take more marketing communications courses. I wish I had explored the more technical side to marketing analytics etc., it's just a good skill to have. You really have to be able to do it all these days.

How has it been transitioning into a young professional?

Well, it's definitely not easy, but it's life. Making the move from NH to California has been unbelievable and unpredictable! I came out here with no car, no job, only a place to live. I'm so motivated to start my career that I won't take no for an answer. Honestly, I'm proud of myself and I consider myself successful, even though I don't have that 9-5 salary job with benefits. I'm out here and I'm loving what I'm doing.

How did Simmons help prepare you for your career?

Oh man! In so many ways, I couldn't have done it without Simmons, the support from my amazing professors and great friends who I still keep in touch with. Honestly, the biggest thing was Simmons taught me how to network, I am now a networking queen! They also taught us how to dress for interviews, gave us some really great interviewing tips, and key follow-up tips post-interview.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I will have started my own magazine, a women's adventure magazine highlighting action sports, travel, and fashion on and off the slopes, in or out of the water. It's going to be rad.

What advice would you give to the current Simmons undergrads?

Don't stress if you can't find a job right out of college. Get a job at a bar or nannying or something and do an unpaid internship on the side once or twice a week. Keep your career in the front of your mind and do what you gotta do to pay the bills in the meantime. Also, always stay positive. You will attract other positive people and good things will come of it. Be patient. I'll let you know when I figure this one out!