Lebanese American University


LAU and Leo Burnett to bridge “university to market gap”

A scene from the end of year student exhibition, titled Imprints.

One component of the initiative is an internship with Leo Burnett for two graphic design students who have already graduated from LAU and are looking for work.

Taan designed this program to help students bridge the university-market gap.

Click on any photo to view all 3 pictures.

June 27, 2014—

“Congratulations on winning the “Adopt a Creative” program that Leo Burnett is launching with LAU School of Architecture and Design. The program is intended to coach you during your final year project, so we can immerse you in our approach to the industry and help you shape your ideas. The communication landscape is changing by the day, and our role will be to guide you in your thinking process.”

Three LAU Graphic Design students received this email from Carol Hanna, Leo Burnett’s Levant director for People & Culture. “Adopt a Creative” pairs final year students with experienced professional designers to guide them on their final projects. The students were chosen based on a stringent portfolio and defense process by a jury that included LAU design faculty and Leo Burnett creative directors. “Students are selected according to their maturity, dedication and motivation. Talent and creativity are necessary, but it’s important that the students are serious about their career,” points out Dr. Yasmine Taan, chair of the Design department. 

“We worked really hard for this,” says Rima Rifai, a student who will be “adopted” by Leo Burnett in the fall. “Those with the strongest vision about changing something in Lebanon and who were the most passionate about their topics were chosen,” she explains. Based on crime investigation and the mistakes that occur during that process, Rifai’s final project is an interactive book that teaches 18-21 year olds about correct investigative processes. It will also be available on mobile phones and iPads. “This is a huge step for LAU. We never imagined that we would be given such an opportunity. It’s like a dream come true,” says Rifai.

The “Adopt a Creative” is only one component of a serious and rigorous initiative awaiting LAU’s graphic design students. Spearheaded by Taan, and designed to bridge the “university-market gap” as she calls it, the department invited Leo Burnett and other design practitioners including JWT, 1984, Oglivy and Lorem Ipsum for informal encounters with the students. “These encounters give the students an idea of what the market expects from them as they prepare their portfolios,” she says. LAU also invited distinguished design figures, such as Omar Sadek, Carla Andraous and Said Francis, who spoke to students about the difficulties of launching a career, as well as dealing with clients, project management, design briefs and work ethics, among others.

The third component of the initiative is an internship with Leo Burnett for two graphic design students who have already graduated from LAU and are looking for work. “This is not just a regular internship, it’s a possibility to get hired,” Taan points out.

“Why LAU?” poses Hanna, “Because we have noticed the tremendous effort that has gone into developing and elevating the level of the faculty. LAU design students are on top of our list when hiring entry level creative talents, not only for their design skills but also for their conceptual approach to issues and opportunities,” she says. “Design has evolved to become a pivotal aspect of a brand’s communication and LAU students are well prepped to look at every angle that affects people’s attitude towards a brand.”

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