Alumni Interview: Jack Thornburg

by Katherine Serrano

jack-thornburgMajors: Business Marketing, Religion

Graduated: 2010

What was your major(s)/minor(s) while you were at IWU? Did they change throughout your years?

I received a double major in Business (Marketing) and Religion. I didn’t make any changes while I was there – I knew that marketing was a field I would enjoy making a career out of and the religion courses were consistently my favorite at IWU.

Were you a part of any RSO’s or Greek Life?

I was a Sigma Chi and also worked on the Fraternity & Sorority Programming Board.

What on-campus resource(s) helped you excel throughout your years at IWU?

The Hart Career Center was a tremendous help and actually put me in contact with the hiring manager at L2TMedia. Without a doubt, the Career Center is a resource that everyone at IWU should be utilizing very early on. I think people wait to reach out to career advisers until they’re panicked and looking for a job. Start those relationships early – share what classes you enjoy taking, discuss what types of internships might interest you, and ask about graduates that have gone into careers that appeal to you. It’s true that you don’t need to know exactly what you want to do while in college, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not exploring your options and testing some cool things out along the way!

What is your role as SEO & Social Media Manager? Can you describe the work that you do?

At L2TMedia, we provide digital marketing solutions primarily within the automotive industry. Products include Paid Advertising (PPC), Display Advertising, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media, and Reputation Management. I oversee the strategies and specialists for our SEO, Social Media, and Reputation Management products. As a manager, much of my time is spent keeping up with industry trends, understanding what those trends mean for our clients, and making decisions around how we should adjust our strategies. The digital marketing world is always changing, so it takes a lot of work to ensure that we’re providing the best services possible to our clients.

How has each of your major(s)/minor(s) helped you to this day?

Illinois Wesleyan does a great job of allowing (and encouraging) students to take a variety of classes. Studying religion appealed to me because of the requirement to think critically from another person or culture’s point of view. It’s no secret that much of marketing requires the same skill.

If you were to hire future IWU alumni, what characteristics would you look for in candidates?

At the risk of giving a simplistic answer, I look for candidates who are personable and excited to learn. Most college graduates simply don’t have a ton of experience to pull from – and that’s fine. I think most hiring managers know this, so they look for bright candidates that will be easy to work with (communicate well, know right from wrong) and will walk into the office eager to learn.

If you had the opportunity to make one change from your IWU experience, what would it be?

I still kick myself for not taking computer science courses. The ability to understand how computers and applications work is invaluable in most careers and will only become more important in the future. Whether or not you can code/develop a website from scratch isn’t critical for most professions, but understanding core concepts like how data is collected and how you can modify technology to suit your needs is invaluable across the board. (If you haven’t taken courses at IWU, it’s not too late! A good place to start is

What was the best part about attending IWU?

The best part about attending IWU was being able to study religion as well as business. I would encourage all students to take plenty of courses outside of their major. To put it bluntly, I always lean towards hiring entry level candidates with strong liberal arts backgrounds over those that have specialized themselves. So much of business (and agency work, in particular) is being able to think critically outside of your “expertise.” Illinois Wesleyan gives you an awesome opportunity to practice this critical thinking through a variety of courses, so take advantage whenever possible!


More questions for Jack?  The Hart Career Center can put you in contact with him!

Become an Awesome Networker

Whether it’s a career fair, professional conference or work mixer, putting yourself out there is daunting. You want to come across as interested, but not aggressive, lively, but not fake. When it  comes to networking, there’s a fine line everyone has to navigate. However, learning how to network doesn’t have to be hard.

Embrace these tips and you’ll be a networking guru in no time!

Career Essentials

In today’s world, it takes a whole lot more than having a well crafted resume and cover letter to succeed in the career arena. Whether you’re looking for a job or currently in one, having all the necessary tools for success is crucial to making your mark in the professional world.

Some of things we think are essential:


Having a well crafted professional wardrobe that’s tailored to your industry is a must. Putting together this wardrobe will take some time, but make it fun by making it fit with your personality.

Career Essentials Photo


Professional Email

It’s time to put your “caligurl92” or “footbawler” email to bed. To be taken seriously in the professional arena, opt for a simple “firstname.lastname” username and if you must a number or two is okay. You can easily set up a free email account with Gmail or Yahoo!.

Business Cards

In a variety of networking settings, whether it be a job fair or an professional organization, you want to make sure you’re not only getting your name out there, but solidifying that they will remember you. At the conclusion of a conversation, how easy is it to suggest, “Can I give you my card?” or “Can I have your card?”. It makes further communication with this connection so much easier. We like MOO because it has a variety of creative and professional business card templates for you to choose from.


Handwritten notes are NOT a thing of the past. They are the preeminent way to thank an employer, professional connection or colleague. Make sure you have tasteful looking stationery for any occasion.


Stay organized with a quality planner. Use your phone’s calendar, or invest in a paper one to bring to important meetings and events. Whether you opt for a bright and colorful Lilly Pulitzer or Emily Ley or a stark and sophisticated leather bound one is up to you!


Company Culture: Something to Consider

company-cultureAlthough sometimes hard to think about, we spend a lot of time at the office. In fact, Americans spend over 2,000 hours a year at their jobs! For this reason, company culture is crucial to your sanity and happiness in the workplace. Know yourself and your preferences when it comes to work style. Do you like a casual environment or do you prefer more formal? Is teamwork your thing?

During the interview process you can begin decipher the work environment by paying close attention:

  • How are you treated while interviewing?
  • What phrases do the interviewers use frequently?
  • Is there a theme or unspoken tone to the questions asked?
  • How does the environment feel to you?
  • How prepared are the interviewers? Are they on time?
  • Were you given an interview schedule?
  • Were you treated like a prisoner or a guest?
  • Are your responses to questions treated with suspicion or professional curiosity?
  • How considerate is the company recruiter?

For more reading and information, check out Forbes and Monsters’ articles about company culture.