It won’t be long until students are back in classes at the University of Mississippi, but right now, summer classes are in session. Professor Mark Dolan’s IMC 205 class welcomed Nikki Daost last week, who discussed her education and career path in integrated marketing communications (IMC). This story was written by Paige Case, a student in Dolan’s class.
By Paige Case
Born in Quebec, raised in California, and now living in Mississippi, Nikki Daoust, a 23-year-old graduate student at The University of Mississippi, has traveled her whole life.
“I travel a lot with my family. For birthdays and Christmas we go on trips and just do small gifts. Traveling together means more,” Daoust says.
While earning her integrated marketing and communications undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi, Daoust studied abroad her junior year for six months in New Zealand. Although Daoust has traveled far and wide, she always finds her way back home to Oxford.
In New Zealand, she interned at All Heart NZ, a nonprofit organization, where she worked on branding and marketing. After her internship, she finished her undergraduate degree in 2020 and was ready to see where she would go next.
Then the pandemic hit and Daoust’s plans to travel were put on pause.
She voyaged off into a new kind of journey when she learned that Ole Miss is one of the few colleges offering a graduate IMC program. Furthering her knowledge of IMC led Daoust to explore the benefits of staying in Oxford by enrolling in the graduate program.
Her original plan was to graduate from Ole Miss and travel. She wanted to work for companies outside of Mississippi and even toyed with the idea of returning to have a temporary stay in New Zealand.
Although Daoust didn’t travel geographically, she explored different possibilities for her future by using the graduate program as her transportation to deepen her education.
The graduate program lets students dive in more on a specific area of their choosing within IMC and gives students the responsibility of being in charge of graphic design, writing, marketing, and more. It’s a two year program where students are able to work at any of the university’s departments or off campus.
“I interviewed for the School of Education, and they said they wanted a lot of videos and just ways to contact students and get involved and all that. Seems like there’s a lot of stuff for me to do here. I’ve always liked graphic design and just a way to be creative,” Daoust says.
Daoust took on the job of marketing and communications at the School of Education where she redesigned their magazine, revamped their website, put their interviews together with stories, and created an online toolbox for outlining how to market the university’s brand. With a 20-hour work week, Daoust primarily works on their graphic design, bringing out the passion she had when she was younger.
Although she was excited to start a new journey, that excitement came hand-in-hand with nervousness. “When I first got the job, I was really worried that I didn’t know anything about the School of Education or education as a whole. I’m not a teacher. I was kind of thinking that I was going to be jumping into something that was completely unknown to me, but everyone there is super friendly,” Daoust says.
Working on the School of Education’s magazine and website gave Daoust a chance to take hold of her creativity and apply it to marketing something she knew little about.
“It’s kind of nice being one of the only people in charge of marketing and communications because it gives me a little bit more creative freedom, and I just get to express myself, even though it’s limited to the university’s branding,” Daoust says.
In addition to the work she’s done on the magazine and website, she also helps contribute to the School of Education’s Instagram. “When I first started, we were trying to grow our social media presence,” Daoust explains.
She managed the Instagram account by posting on it and improving it based on the analytic data. “We have weekly meetings. We see if there’s an increase or decrease in what we’re posting,” Daoust says.
Daoust said some of the most enjoyable benefits about her work, which is primarily done on her computer, are the flexibility of deadlines and the ability to work at home with her beloved cat, Gertrude. While she works, she manages her coursework.
Daoust plans to graduate in 2022 with her masters in integrated marketing communications, which is sure to lead her on a new adventure. “I realized that there’s a lot more I need to learn, and I’m not really done with IMC yet,” Daoust says.
This story was written by Paige Case. The Madison, Mississippi native currently attends Jackson Preparatory School as a rising senior. She has worked on the yearbook staff throughout high school. She interned at Mississippi Magazine during June and gained hands-on experience. “This summer, I have learned a lot about Ole Miss’ School of Journalism and New Media by taking an integrated marketing communications 205 class throughout July,” she said. “I love learning about how photography, writing, and social media all interact with each other. Before taking this class, I didn’t know the difference between writing news stories and writing a paper. The School of Journalism and New Media has expanded my way of thinking to be more creative with my writing and has shown me all of the opportunities IMC can lead to. I have two older sisters who went to Ole Miss and I plan to attend Ole Miss when I graduate high school in 2022 and likely major in IMC.“