VMLY&R launches virtual masterclass this summer

In response to COVID-19 disruptions, VMLY&R has suspended its U.S. in-office internship program for 2020. The agency is instead introducing a remote-learning opportunity that invites college students to continue their education through a 10-week master class series focusing on areas such as brand marketing, strategic planning, customer experience, social media strategy and more.  Called, “Nexus” the masterclass series begins in June.

The agency receives 2,500 intern applications every year and believes this is the way to give back to the student community. “While we will be unable to host in-office internships this year, we want to offer value and continual learning for this group of emerging talent,” said Ronnie Felder, VMLY&R chief people officer.

He adds, “We’re excited to introduce VMLY&R’s Nexus masterclass and welcome these students to learn and someday join our organization. Being virtual has long been a part of our business — and in our new COVID-19 reality, we’re thrilled to be able to give back to our student ad community in a new way.”

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The masterclass series will consist of 10 exclusive seminars hosted by VMLY&R global leadership and capability leads. VMLY&R Nexus will not only help students build direct links to the agency’s global leadership, service offerings, and culture, but will also provide a current and real-time perspective of agency dynamics, strategic challenges, and client successes in building connected brands. 

Each session will last 90 minutes, including group discussion and Q&A. Speaker highlights include:

  • Jon Cook, global CEO — “Building and Growing a Global Network Agency” 
  • Beth Wade, global chief marketing officer, and Shali Wade, executive director, office of the global CEO — “Connected Cultures and Branding at VMLY&R”
  • Debbi Vandeven, global chief creative officer — “Creating Work That Transforms Business”
  • VMLY&R agency leaders from across the global network, including real-time COVID-19 insights from offices in China and Italy

“One of the benefits of this format is we are able to expand a traditionally U.S.-only program into one that encompasses views and content from around the globe,” added Felder.

ALSO READ: Noel Cottrell joins VMLY&R as Chief Creative Officer

VMLY&R Nexus will be open to 50 select participants, chosen from those who participated in the original internship application process earlier this year. Nexus will provide participants with the resources, education, and experiences to excel academically and kick-start their career pursuits.

With a focus on helping students connect professionally, socially, and emotionally while being remote, the program will include personalized mentor matches to agency leadership, optional résumé and portfolio reviews, access to the VMLY&R Nexus alumni network for ongoing professional development, and access to VMLY&R’s suite of virtual culture activations (weekly yoga classes, bootcamp fitness classes, live DJ parties, and more). 


  1. An Introduction to VMLY&R
  2. Building a Growing a Global Agency with Jon Cook
  3. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the VMLY&R Foundation
  4. The Customer Experience (CX) Era 
  5. Strategic Studios for Today’s Brand Landscape
  6. Connected Cultures and Branding at VMLY&R
  7. Commerce Possibilities, from D2C DNA to Amazon
  8. Becoming the Most Important Partner through Client Engagement
  9. Creating Work Which Transforms Business
  10. Solving Challenges through Human-Centered Design
  11. Graduation Celebration



Participants will also be eligible for a position in the agency’s in-office summer 2021 internship program. Upon completion of VMLY&R Nexus (completion of eight seminars), interns will be given a letter of accreditation and social badge for use in their portfolios, résumés, and LinkedIn profiles.