Sometimes, when you want to compete, you don’t have to limit yourself to sports.
Christopher Lucore, a senior integrated marketing communications major from Bay St. Louis, has found his place in the competitive field of advertising campaigns and research.
When Lucore came to the University of Mississippi as a freshman, he had not declared a major, but was leaning toward business.
“I heard about IMC, and it was more of a new-aged marketing program, not just general business, entrepreneurship, or finance,” he said. “IMC is more like shaping a brand and creating campaigns. The more I heard about it, the more I liked it.”
Lucore took IMC 104 the spring semester of his freshman year.
“I still had to take a couple of business classes so I would get some business knowledge,” he said, “but I was looking for what IMC was geared towards.”
One of Lucore’s favorite IMC courses has been IMC research.
“We learned how to do secondary and primary research, and surveys,” he said. “We did a content analysis, which was a lot of work, but really gave me a look into what people do in the research field for jobs.
“I thought it was really cool that there are actually people that sit there and dig into social media profiles or content analyses and see what people are talking about and how many interactions a post got.”
Lucore said IMC research can help companies determine what they can do better as a business or how they can help customers more efficiently.
Caitlyn Loiacono, an IMC major and friend of Lucore’s, said research motivates him.
“He finds it very interesting to learn the motives behind why people respond a certain way from an ad, social media post or whatever,” she said. “He loves to learn the reasoning behind what people are liking, and I think that is very important for an IMC major, because a lot of us only want to focus on the creative side of things.”
Another class Lucore enjoyed is IMC 455, a campaigns class.
“I am in the National Student Advertising Competition, which is really fun because we are competing against the entire nation, or whatever schools applied to compete in the competition,” he said.
IMC 455 has made Lucore excited about creating campaigns and lets him showcase his competitive nature in a way most college classes do not, he said.
“I am very competitive, and I want to win,” he said. “It’s not just competing against my class but competing against everyone in the nation, which is really fun for me.”
The pandemic has affected college students across the nation. Lucore was planning on double majoring in accounting or business before the pandemic, but when classes moved online, he had a harder time learning, especially accounting classes. He said the pandemic made him focus on IMC as his major and forced him to decide that accounting was not for him.
Being a student in the UM School of Journalism and New Media has allowed Lucore to grow as a person and experience new things. From his classes to his professors, he said IMC has helped him figure out what he enjoys doing and shown him a future career path.
One of the biggest life lessons he has learned is not to take things too seriously. Although students must take coursework seriously, Lucore said getting a B in a course instead of an A is not life or death. He said taking anything in college too seriously, whether it be a grade, Greek organization, or job, adds unneeded stress to a student’s life.
“People make mistakes all the time,” he said. “It’s OK. You can always have a night where you don’t do anything and just watch TV on the couch.”
Loiacono said Lucore taught her not to worry about the things she can’t control.
“He is truly someone who I feel can look at the bright side of any situation,” she said, “and I find that very inspiring.”
Growing up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast provided many childhood memories.
“Summer holidays, like Fourth of July, we would go to the beach with my parents’ friends and their kids,” Lucore said. “We would probably have 15 or 20 kids, and we would play on the beach all day, and it was always a lot of fun.”
These memories shaped him. He still values going to the beach with family and friends, lying in the sand and sun, and being around water. And he always knew he wanted to attend the University of Mississippi.
“Ole Miss was the only place I applied,” he said. “All of my friends were going here, and I knew people that had graduated high school before me who attended the school.”
The fact that Ole Miss is an in-state school and Lucore did not have to apply for many scholarships to be able to attend was also an important factor.
One of his favorite professors in the UM School of Journalism and New Media is professor Debbie Hall.
“I have had professor Hall for a couple of classes,” he said, “and I really like her as a person and as a professor. I think she brings some interesting insights into IMC, as well as being very caring.”
Lucore said one thing he admires most about the school’s professors is they demonstrate that they actually care about their students’ lives.
For those who want to major in IMC, Lucore suggests looking into the different electives the IMC program offers and picking ones that interest you most and relate to your specialization. He discourages students from taking classes that may be harder over summer or winter intersession because the workload can be abundant.
Being an IMC student has helped Lucore in several jobs.
“Some of my previous bosses and superiors have asked my advice about marketing and social media profiles,” he said. “I was able to give them very educated and insightful answers because of what I am learning in school right now.”