Contact: Media School

Add Virginia Commonwealth University's mass communications master's program to the list of things you didn't have when you were growing up. The 10-year-old VCU Adcenter, located in Richmond, Va., began a two-year creative media planning track in the fall of 2004. There are also tracks for art direction, strategic planning, and creative brand management.

With agency veteran Rick Boyko acting as managing director since 2003, the Adcenter is on a mission to become the "Harvard of Advertising," aiming to provide a real-world, agency-like environment for students.

Michael Karnjanaprakorn, one of six second-year students on the media planning track, is taking Creative Thinking for Advertising and Media Research and Planning this semester.

"The main thing they teach us is media neutrality. We pursue campaigns with a neutral approach," says Karnjanaprakorn. He is currently studying how to measure non-traditional media.

Karnjanaprakorn counts The Media Kitchen, Strawberry Frog, Naked, and Crispin Porter + Bogusky as agencies he'd like to interview with after graduation. With the Adcenter claiming a 95 percent placement rate within eight months of graduation, that might not be such a hard sell.

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