Position Title:Director of Media
Employer: BestFit Media
Degree/Year: MSIS, 2009
"My capstone project acted as a major launching point for my career."
Joel Lang is currently the lead sales analyst at Smiley Media, an Internet advertising network. He manages a team of seven analysts and works to match advertising to websites by discovering which of four different advertising settings is best for the client. Joel chose the iSchool because he wanted an information degree and also sought to be in a place with a strong start-up community like Austin. The most useful experiences he had in the iSchool were his classes, conversations with professors, internships, and his capstone project. Joel took a number of statistics, web analytics, information retrieval, and data mining classes, all of which he draws on in his current position. He found guidance from professors about class selections to be particularly useful and help him develop a degree plan that fit his future career goals.
For his first summer at the iSchool, Joel obtained an internship as a Corporate Anthropologist for Hoovers.com. This internship helped him figure out how to shape his iSchool experience and future career. In addition to his studies, Joel was a GRA for April Kessler, a Buisiness Librarian at UT, a position that gave him the chance to work and communicate with business professors. Working with April Kessler gave him additional guidance in selecting courses outside the iSchool to further enhance his education. Joel’s capstone project was a major launching point for his career. He interned at Austin Ventures as a research and analytic associate. In this position he reviewed business plans and dug around in data in search of sound business models for start-up companies. This position also directly led to his first graduate job at Santé Ventures.
Before attending the iSchool, Joel worked in the Peace Corps for two years and in advertising for another two years. He draws extensively on these experiences in entrepreneurship and marketing in his current position.
What makes Joel passionate about his job is that it allows him to be a contrarian. He looks at data and tests whether a vice president’s ideas will make money. He is often the call to reason for startups by telling them to keep working on the numbers in order to flesh out a more solid business model. Thus, his work helps facilitate the start-up process and ensure a vibrant local business community. He also enjoys the freedom inherent in his position because he runs his own department and gets to pursue projects that appeal to him. Joel says his current position has given him opportunities to work with business-savvy individuals and to obtain a broader understanding of operating a business.