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Philadelphia AMA Student Spotlight: Michael J. Breen

Philadelphia’s AMA student chapters are becoming the center of the marketing universe. We often talk about the future of marketing, but without these students, a marketing future wouldn’t exist. We think it’s high time that we spotlight some of the best and brightest from Philly’s remarkable AMA Student Chapters.

For our first AMA Student Spotlight Series, AMA member and volunteer Marie Scarpulla spoke with Michael Breen, President of the Temple University American Marketing Association Student Chapter, to find out more about what is happening in the world of today’s marketing students.  

Michael is a senior at Temple majoring in marketing, and is looking forward to a great career. He has much to say about his experiences — and just why Temple AMA Chapter students (and other Philadelphia AMA student chapter students) are poised to take the marketing world by storm.


Help me get to know more about the Temple American Marketing Association Student Chapter. 

It’s a great organization! Temple makes a very good showing every year at the International Collegiate Conference.  Last spring, Temple won the annual, national case competition for the second time. Also, Temple was named, along with University of Pennsylvania,  as one of the top three International Chapters of the Year. This is out of 321 schools with AMA Student Chapters in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Student members participate in career development workshops, networking events, and competitions like the case competition, listen to keynote speakers, and generally have fun.


How did you get started in AMA and how has participating impacted your plans for the future?

I joined as a freshman after going to a campus event called Temple Fest, which is where you can learn about different student organizations. I was looking to get involved in extracurriculars pretty early on. 

I saw all the opportunities presented by the AMA Temple Chapter and I liked their energy.  I also found the mentorship opportunities helpful. I had an unofficial mentor, Harry, who took me under his wing when I first got there. Even though he was a senior, he invited me to the socials and went completely out of his way to talk to me. I thought Harry was really cool.

When it was time to actually apply for a mentorship, I asked Harry to be my mentor. He said ‘I’d love to! We already hang out. I’m happy to sit down and help you with anything.’ 

Later, as I was getting into content creation and Adobe Creative Cloud platforms, I decided to try for a position on the Executive Board, in Media Relations. Harry said that I should apply to be a mentee of Julia, who was on the Board. I did, and she became my mentor.  She went on to be President when she was a senior, and that relationship obviously helped me a lot. She taught me a lot about content creation and design.

I mentioned the Case Competition at the International Collegiate Conference; it was Julia who  helped with my onboarding with the Temple Case Team, which she led when she was a junior. I also led it when I became a junior. 

We really do act as mentors.The juniors and seniors help out the freshmen, and there’s an ongoing transfer of knowledge  It’s a great opportunity.


How has serving as President supported your own future goals?  

As President, I gained strong leadership experience. Being able to manage a team of 20 people and work towards a collective goal has been very rewarding. Previously, as an Executive Board Director, I felt the same way: that we were all working towards the same goal.

But being able to point the group in the direction we’re going with strategy is what opened my eyes to how rewarding it can be to manage a group of people like that. Each individual director gave us feedback on the year so far, and everyone felt that we had a good team with a lot of chemistry. And so that’s something I definitely aspire to do in my professional career.


What are the different on-campus activities sponsored by the Temple Chapter?

There are so many opportunities for student participation!

On Mondays, there are professional development workshops with panel discussions or graduate guest speakers. The speakers don’t have to be AMA, but they’re graduates of Temple. The workshops are normally director-run, so one of us will host something. Every now and then we’ll have a AMA sponsored workshop, so a sponsor will come in and do an elevator pitch.

On Wednesdays, there are opportunities to do volunteer work with Cherry Consulting, the non-profit group for students. Small businesses in the community will make a $700 to $1000 donation to Temple AMA and student members have the opportunity to gain real world work experience on tactical projects in marketing. 

On most Fridays, Temple AMA will sponsor professional speakers to come in and lecture on current topics in marketing. We try to get a handful of Temple alumni, and it’s good to hear their experiences, their path. I’d say out of about the 16 speakers we have a semester, four to six of them will probably be Temple alumni. The rest come from the community.

There are also opportunities to participate in charity and social impact projects in the neighborhoods, such as block cleanups or soccer tournaments. 


Tell me more about the Cherry Consulting** opportunities for Temple AMA student members and local businesses.

I participated and had a chance to actually apply the skills I was learning in class.  We’re now just finding out who our new clients are going to be next semester.  

A second semester freshman can apply to be a Project Leader (PM) or Associate Project Manager (APM) for one of the Cherry clients. Being a project manager is where you can develop a more specific soft skill or hard skill. For example, with one of our new board members, it was clear that he was really good at website development on his individual project. That made it easy for us, as executive board members, to say he would be great for chapter communications next year, because he already works on websites.

Cherry is a good place to initially stand out. It gears you up to apply to one of the positions on the Temple AMA Student Executive Board.


What other valuable experiences do Temple AMA Student Chapter members generally gain by participating?

As I mentioned, I believe the Mentorship Program is most valuable – an executive board of students that help other students with plans, applications, goals, and checking out different career ideas. I think if you were to talk to everyone else from the chapter, that’s what people would say was their favorite thing, or the thing that really got them involved. 

General body members can apply for the program, list their interests, and rank the top five  mentors that they want to be paired with. Then our directors and membership go through all of the submissions and do some matchmaking with general body members and Executive Board Directors. Normally, each director will have anywhere between two to four mentees a year.


What types of companies do AMA students tend to get jobs with after graduation?

A lot of people will get job leads from our AMA speaker sessions. In the past two or three years, we’ve had a lot of entertainment-focused speakers, like those from Universal and Live Nation.  

We also have a lot of sports speakers come in, as a lot of Temple students are sports-focused. We have what they call the sister school to Fox: the School of Sport,Tourism, and Hospitality Management.  So we do try to get a lot of sports speakers. I think we’ve had nearly one from every major Philly team: the Union, the Phillies, and the Flyers. The Eagles might be the only one where we’re waiting on!


Do marketing graduates from Temple want to stay in Philadelphia? Would you like to stay?

The city’s really grown on me these past four years. I really do love it. I think working in Center City or South Philly would be great. 

All of us in the Student Chapter would love to network and get to know the professional AMA members better and learn about their experiences and their career paths. Many of us came to Philadelphia for school, but we’re not sure of the advantages of working in Philadelphia versus if we were to move back home. I think guidance on something like that would be especially helpful.

What are your plans after graduation in May? 

I have several job offers already: one from a corporate group, one from an ad agency, and several freelance opportunities.

Currently, I’ve been working with Enterprise, and it looks like I will stay for the rest of the semester until the end of graduation. I’ve also been connecting with someone who came to us as a speaker just a week or so ago from an agency.  


Mike, thank you for speaking with me.  We all wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.  And we hope to see you around the AMA Professional Networking Events this spring!


**Editor’s note (as per the Temple Student AMA Newsletter:

Cherry Consulting is a nonprofit, student-run marketing consulting firm based out of TU-AMA. By partnering with local businesses, our student consultants gain real-life marketing experience through hands-on projects that drive measurable results for our clients. Students learn how to conduct insight driven research, marketing strategy, and creative content creation throughout the course of the semester. For the Fall 2022 semester, Cherry Consulting partnered with Inlier Learning, Philanthrofi, Mural City Cellars, Only Light Brand, and Skin Devotee. Project Managers (PM) and Associate Project Managers (APM) worked together throughout the semester to collaborate with the brand and to direct a group of student consultants. In addition, the Creative Team produced visual work as requested by each project.


Whether you’re a student or professional member of AMA, don’t miss Philly AMA’s biggest event of the season, the Superbowl Smackdown. Join us at Yards Brewing on February 15 for marketing strategy, debate, networking, and a chance to vote for the brand that you think won Super Bowl Sunday’s ad wars!


Click here for info and tickets!