Emerging Leaders Program

A professional training program that integrates transformative curriculum, industry immersion, and experiential learning. 

The demand is growing for talent in brand strategy and consumer innovation. Students in the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising are trained to be strategic problem solvers with a creative energy and an analytical mind. They are perfectly suited for positions at the new frontiers of digital marketing, such as in brand interaction and customer experience (CX) design. Students selected to participate in this program will gain more experience and insight into these spaces, which will catapult them into the competitive brand consultancy job market, beyond the traditional advertising agencies.


The Brand Hub and the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising will host a professional workshop series with four sessions per year held at the Illini Center in downtown Chicago. These sessions will bring students closer to the action, will provide them with a deeper dive into a specific, innovative area of the industry and will connect them to advertising leaders and accomplished alums.

During the 2022-2023 academic year, we will focus on two distinct themes:

Emerging Leaders Program, Fall 2022: Customer Experience Design
Friday, October 21, 2-5pm Workshop, 5-7pm Networking Event
Friday, November 11, 2-5pm Workshop, 5-7pm Networking Event

Emerging Leaders Program, Spring 2023: The Future of Advertising Technology
Friday, February 24, 2-5pm Workshop, 5-7pm Networking Event
Friday, April TBD, 2-5pm Workshop, 5-7pm Networking Event

Theses workshops will host high potential, multicultural students for Friday afternoon seminars where industry experts will give participants an in depth look at and offer hands-on practice in the latest in CX Design or Ad Tech. After each session, students are invited to attend a networking event with alums and leaders from the Chicago advertising community.

Alumni Engagement

We greatly value our strong network of esteemed alums. If you are an alumni from the University of Illinois in the Chicago area, we welcome you to participate in these workshops and networking events. Our students are bright, enthusiastic and are poised for success in the advertising industry. Many are close to graduating and would greatly appreciate your insights and advice as they venture out into the professional world. Please join us at one or more of these sessions this year. We thank you for making it a priority to support our students.

Guidelines and Application Process

All participants must be selected into the program. Stellar Advertising students, undergraduate and graduate students, with a passion for brand, CX Design and learning about the latest innovations in Advertising technology, are encouraged to apply. Due to limited capacity, this program will only accept and sponsor thirty Advertising students per year. Sponsorship will cover all travel expenses and each participant must attend at least 3 out of the 4 sessions to secure this sponsorship.

Students must complete an application form, which includes the submission of a statement of interest and resume. In addition to completing this form, they will be asked to participate in an interview that will be conducted by Brand Hub staff, Department of Advertising faculty or a University of Illinois Advertising alum.

The interview process will begin immediately after an application is submitted and potential students will be contacted by Brand Hub staff within a few business days to schedule their interview. All students selected to participate in this program will be notified of their acceptance by 5pm CST, Friday, October 7th.

The Emerging Leaders Program is a partnership between the Hub for Brand Innovation and Advertising Technology and the Charles H. Sandage Department of Advertising.

For more information, please contact
Susan Muirhead, Associate Director, Brand Hub at muirhea@illinois.edu.