For Grad David Mittleberg, the Best Career Choice Was ‘All of the Above’

When David Mittelberg first graduated from Full Sail’s Digital Arts & Design program, he had an interesting dilemma: While other grads were choosing their forks in the road – web development, graphic design, 3D animation – David simply couldn’t bring himself to decide.

“I loved every media platform I had the chance to explore at Full Sail,” David says. “I’m not just a graphic designer; I don’t just like photography or video; I’m not just a 3D animation guy.” David knew that the role of creative director would give him the chance to do it all.  “But realistically, most people don’t graduate right out of school and into a creative director position. You have to start your own business, which isn’t easy.”

While working on the production end of an internet marketing company, David started creating brands and collateral (logos, business cards, websites) on the side, sometimes working an extra 40 hours a week after hours doing low-paying and pro bono work to help build up his portfolio. “People gave me the chance to be a creative director and I was able to prove my ability.”

The strategy paid off. A few months ago, David came across a job-board posting from Southern Boating and Yachting magazine, which is based in Fort Lauderdale. “I always knew I wanted to be in print. I love magazines and the possibility of merging print with technology.” The job posting cited 18 requirements; thanks to the side jobs he had been doing for months and his Full Sail education, David had all the skills the magazine wanted and more.

Rather than go through the resume and cover letter submission process on the job board, David sent a cleverly crafted and personal letter directly to the magazine’s owner. He was called in for an interview two hours later. Three weeks later, he was starting his first day on the job as the magazine’s production manager.

The moral of the story isn’t lost on David at all: “If I hadn’t kept doing what I wanted to do, regardless of what I was being paid, I would never have had a shot at this job,” he says. “And, I was the only candidate that sent a thank you note.”

David also thinks that his ability to focus on profits made a difference as well. “I try to not think just like an artist; I think like a businessman, and I think that got my foot in the door,” he says. “The key is that Full Sail gave me the skills to be an entrepreneur.”