Graduate Studies


TC 491 Special Topics: How to start, manage or thrive in a creative agency

Spring 2011, TC 491, section 301

Credits: 1 credit

Topic: How to start, manage or thrive in a creative agency
Instructor: Brian Azar - Industry Guest Instructor and Vice President of Operations at Ciesa Design

To Enroll: Regular course enrollment via MSU WebEnroll and enroll in TC 491 section 301 by the first day of class (March 16)

Do you want to know how to start your own creative agency but aren't sure how to get started? Perhaps you aspire to a leadership position in a design or advertising agency such as creative director or art director, and you're not sure how to get there. Is your dream job being a designer at an agency but you're not sure what to expect? This course will break-down how a modern creative agency is structured, including the differences between different types of agencies including, digital marketing, advertising, graphic design, full-service marketing, social media marketing and others. The basic operational model of a typical agency will be discussed, along with the potential rewards and pitfalls of various strategies and tactics. Topics will include diverse areas such as how to setup reasonable tracking and financial controls, how to find and keep the right clients and how to decide what services to offer. Each topic will also include practical real-world examples of successful and unsuccessful efforts. At the conclusion of the course students will be armed with the information they need to either start, manage or thrive in any type of creative agency.

Session dates/times:
This course is on the MSU Schedule of Courses, but the detailed schedule of meeting dates is below. All classes meet in 161 Communication Arts & Sciences.

Wednesday, March 16, 6-9pm
Wednesday, March 23, 6-9pm
Wednesday, March 30, 6-9pm
Wednesday, April 13, 6-9pm
Wednesday, April 20, 6-9pm

About Brian Azar
Brian Azar is the Vice President of Operations at Ciesa Design. He graduated with an MBA from the University of Arizona, and a BA in Communication from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His expertise in technology, business, and communication has allowed him to succeed in a number of diverse roles. His 20 years of experience includes management positions in big companies such as Hewlett-Packard, start-up ventures, and smaller web development companies here in Lansing. Brian is currently interested in the use of social media and its impact on web technologies. Brian is also a PMP certified project manager (#246697).

Brian moved to East Lansing, Michigan three years ago from Northern California along with his wife and son. His hobbies include snowboarding and cycling and he's currently working on earning his black belt in TaeKwonDo.

Questions: Questions regarding this special topics course may be directed towards Jillian Winn at

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