Kaavya Ramesh (’14) was always searching for information to craft her arguments as a member of the Michigan State University debate team, and like her fellow Honors College alumni, her thirst for knowledge hasn’t ceased.
After graduating with three degrees – Chinese from the College of Arts & Letters, comparative cultures and politics, and international relations from James Madison College – Ramesh headed to Washington, D.C. and into the world of think tanks.
It was a world with which she was familiar, having worked as an intern for the Institute for Energy Research prior to graduation. As a senior communications associate for the American Enterprise Institute, Ramesh worked on marketing and communication products, revamping newsletters and developing a new strategy for the institute’s Twitter account.
She thought she’d be working on policy issues the rest of her life, but that quickly changed.
When a position with Bono’s ONE — a campaign and advocacy organization — opened up, Ramesh jumped at the opportunity. She was hired as a marketing coordinator, pitching entertainment companies and Hollywood talent on one of the organization’s main campaigns, which aims to get education to the 130 million girls around the world who aren’t in school.
She quickly found herself dipping her toes into the entertainment waters, bringing the girls’ education campaign to a Disney/Marvel Studio’s “Black Panther” event during New York Fashion Week; the VIP room of U2’s Washington, D.C. concert and Paramount Pictures’ Corporate Day of Service in Los Angeles.
She worked with agencies and focused on getting entertainers such as Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Chadwick Boseman to sign onto the women’s economic empowerment campaign.
It was this new field that has spurred her latest endeavor – studying entertainment marketing as a graduate student at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
While there might be pressure to figure out what you want to be when you grow up, Ramesh says, “I think it’s important to spend time figuring out what you want to do and where your heart and your skill set combined would fit best.”
She is looking forward to finishing her studies and using her creative and analytical skills to market the entertainment brands of which she has been a lifelong fan.
This article was originally published in HConnections 2018.