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Alumni Spotlight

Meet the Class: Sam Bergen

September 15, 2016

How does a successful creative go even further? Ask Sam Bergen who is the Executive Creative Director at Vice. His creative leadership journey started with a scholarship application and ended with him not only winning a scholarship from iHeartMedia and going on to complete his Executive MBA in Creative Leadership at the Berlin but also being invited to join iHeartMedia’s Creative Council which will select the 2016 iHeartMedia scholarship winner.

Sam took a few minutes to tell us just how the scholarship and the Berlin School impacted his work.

In 2014 you were the winner of the iHeartMedia scholarship and were selected from numerous applicants from over 20 countries. What did this award mean to you?

Winning the iHeartMedia scholarship was a jolt of emotions, I was extremely honored and humbled to have my submission selected by such esteemed leaders in the industry, while at the same time elated and excited to be embarking on a truly life changing adventure. It gave me renewed energy for my work, and allowed me to make an earnest commitment to my future, and my dream, of being a leader with a creativity and innovation at my core. I went to my first module and came back incredibly inspired which spurred a roller coaster of momentum that I am still riding today.

You’ve gone from applying for the scholarship to joining the iHeartMedia Creative Advisory Council, meaning you’re helping to judge this year’s entries. What do you think will make a stand out applicant?

Applying to the iHeartMedia Scholarship for Leadership in Audio Innovation comprises of the standard Berlin School application and an additional scholarship essay question. A strong applicant will showcase an insightful understanding of the space, and bring truly original thinking about the future of audio innovation. Succinctly answering each of the questions with a strong perspective and clearly articulating disruptive and unexpected ideas on how to inspire a new wave of excitement for the Power of Sound will go a long way in making an application memorable. To truly stand out, an applicant should be able to communicate how their innovative thinking could be put into practice in the market.

What impact has the Berlin School had on your career?

Since starting at the Berlin School I’ve led teams, departments, and cross agency groups at a scale and speed I could not have imagined before. Succeeding at such scale and speed has in turn given me experiences and access at the highest levels of the advertising industry where I have been able to confidently and positively add value no matter what the task. And it's because of the Berlin School that I have the knowledge, skills, and awareness to excel in these situations.

What’s the most valuable or memorable thing you’ve learned during your Executive MBA Studies so far?

The single greatest value the Berlin School offers is that it is truly a global Creative MBA, it exposes you to leadership styles and cultures of creativity from all over the world. That’s experience you simply cannot get in your day job, and I believe is critical for any modern day creative leader working to bring value to an organization that interfaces with people and culture. And the faculty are true masters at packaging everything into practical learnings that you can take away and immediately apply to your life and work. 

What benefits does an Executive MBA in Creative Leadership offer Creatives?

An Executive MBA from the Berlin School gives Creatives a new set of tools to lead and succeed in any environment. Suddenly you have more energy and confidence walking into challenging situations. You’ve learned how to be creative and effective while operating outside of your comfort zone. And you see opportunities to lead and inspire those around you that before would have gone unnoticed. 

Feel inspired by Sam’s story and scholarship application tips and want to find out more about this year’s iHeartMedia scholarship? Just click here and get a jump on the application process.