Career Path Interview of Design Army’s CEO, Jake Lefebure

Jake Lefebure

Jake Lefebure, CEO, Design Army

About Jake Lefebure:

Jake Lefebure is a co-founding partner and CEO of Design Army. As the principal project leader, he oversees new business and creative for all of the studio’s accounts. In 2009, Jake was named by Graphic Design USA as one of the top 50 People to Watch and his creativity has been featured by every notable design organization, including AIGA 365, American Advertising Federation, Communication Arts, Graphis, HOW, New York Art Directors Club, the One Show, PRINT, SPD, Type Directors Club, D&AD Awards (UK), Red Dot Awards (Germany), Applied Arts and Coupe (Canada), as well as judging design competitions and frequent lecturing at design events and universities.

Tell us about your company?

I could go on for ever – but best way to learn about our company and the work we do is to visit our youtube channel ( and watch a few of our videos. It’s better than reading.

What kind of internships and entry-level positions do you normally offer?

We do not use the word “intern” at Design Army as we do not accept interns – but we do hire students right out of school quite often, and on a rare occasion will accept a part-time designer if they are in their final semester and/or have at least 3+ days a week availability. Everyone is treated equally. An entry level designer will work on the same projects/clients as our senior staff. We do not judge creativity; it’s either good or not – does not matter who’s idea it was.

What is one thing that will entice you to call an applicant for an interview?

A well formatted PDF that’s easy to read and a great work examples that are relevant to our studio.

What is one thing that will make you not call an applicant for an interview?

A PDF over 4mb or a website portfolio that does not function properly.

What skills are most important for an entry-level talent at your company?

Creativity. We can teach a designer to execute; it’s not so easy to teach them to think.

Can you describe what a normal day is like?

9am to 7pm would be pretty average day – most of the day is spent executing design; and in the evenings at home, in front of the TV, sketching ideas for tomorrow’s internal meetings. So it’s probably more like 9am to 11pm.

How has emerging talent benefited from working at Design Army?

Some of our young designers stay an average of 3 to 5 years and then moved on to fantastic jobs in other cities. It’s not a proven fact , but we are pretty certain that 1 year at Design Army is equal to at least 3 years at a “typical” agency. You will learn more than you ever thought possible. Young minds have the weirdest ideas. We love them. The trick is making them relevant to the problem at hand.

Anything else you would like to share with our community of interns and partners?

Great design does not happen from 9 to 5 – be prepared to work hard, cry a little, and learn a lot. Design is not an easy job and it does not get easier. I always tell new candidates during the interview process that Design Army will be the best and worst job you’ll ever have.

What tips can you offer a recent graduate that is preparing to interview for an entry-level position?

99% of the interview is all about you. It’s your personality and how you will fit in with others is what matters once you are at the table. Just be yourself (be on time) and you should do great.

What piece of advice would you offer a student struggling to obtain interviews?

Be persistent. Agency owners are busy and do not always get back to you right away. If we are not hiring I will keep all the good resumes filed so that when we are hiring I can dip back in to them to save time on a new talent search.

What skills are in high demand by your company these days?

Web, Mobile & Video – they are not going away anytime soon. Oh, and also remember to spell check everything!



10 Things Your Internship Program Should Include

Internship Program

Image courtesy of: @boetter

Starting an internship program is a great way to help a college student gain experience and get work done at your company for minimal cost. Interns often have several choices of where they wish to intern. In order to be sure you attract the best intern candidates, here are some things you should consider:

1. The Basics

The schedule should be clear but flexible since most interns are still in school. How long will the program last? Be clear about start and end dates.

2. Compensation

If your budget allows interns will appreciate a paid internship even if it’s a modest wage. For example, “The Metropolitan Museum of Art offers forty-one paid internships for undergraduate and master’s-degree students each year.” However, most internships are unpaid so focus on the experience the intern will gain or consider offering a stipend.

3. Perks

Giving interns free lunches on the days they are in the office.Transportation reimbursement on the days they work is also another nice perk. Consider offering interns a bonus for achieving set goals. Write a letter of recommendation at the end.

4. Meaningful Work

Try to offer an Internship that fits their academics and career goals. “The Juilliard School sponsors a Professional Intern Program that is a practical “hands-on” experience working directly with technicians and administrators in their respective fields.” Assign duties that will develop their knowledge and abilities. Create an outline of what will they learn and what skills will they gain.

5. Good Rapport

Invite interns to meetings and other company events. Make them feel like part of the team.

6. Supervision

Have someone who is available to answer questions and offer assistance. Don’t leave them hanging or feeling lost.

7. Instruction

Let the intern know what needs to be done, but allow for creativity and suggestions. Help them develop their ideas.

8. Assessment

Offer feedback to make the learning experience more valuable. If they are weak in an area give constructive criticism and tell them how to improve. Create an evaluation form like has to rate performance and if they are doing a good job let them know, they will appreciate hearing it.

9. Comfortable Environment

The intern should have their own workspace and supplies so they are not disrupting others. Encourage other staff to be friendly and helpful.

10. Honesty

Let the intern know what to expect from the the program. Make no promises. The program should be a rewarding experience for both the employer and the intern.

Written by Monique Skinner



How To Ace Your Interview

Many students and recent graduates blow their interviews because they do not follow some of the most basic recommendations in preparing and closing the interview process. has compiled some of the biggest faux pas into a 60 second motion graphics video to give you an edge over your competition.

Watch it, learn it, live it – Ace Your Interview!


Talent Spotlight Interview: Andy Ng

Andy Ng S_Chan 1

Interviewee Name: Andy C. Ng

Intern Position: Junior Program Director

Company Name: College For Every Student

Location: New York, NY 


About Andy Ng: 

Andy C. Ng is currently a sophomore at New York University where he is majoring in English with minors in Urban Education Studies & Social Entrepreneurship. Having grown up in a low-income household to immigrant parents, Andy worked a full-time job while in high school and his commitment to his education resulted in his selection as a Gates Millennium Scholar. While in college, Andy has studied abroad twice in London and Rome, and was recently accepted to Teach for America’s Rising Leaders Fellowship. A proud brother of Delta Lambda Phi, Andy now works for College For Every Student as a Junior Program Director and aspires to help low-income students realize their potential and pursue a secondary education.

Tell us the steps you took to land an internship or entry-level position?

College For Every Student is an educational nonprofit working with over 20,000 students in 24 states. As a student in high school, I was involved in the CFES Program mentoring and discussing college plans with underclassmen. The program’s CEO and founder eventually noticed my leadership, and he kindly wrote me a recommendation for college applications. When I lived in London my freshman year, a CFES Program Director was visiting and I promptly set up a meeting with him. I expressed my past experience with the organization and an interest in continuing work with them as not just a former scholar, but in a more professional and administrative position. There was no need to send a resume thanks to the connection I made in high school and after several emails detailing logistics of my work, I secured my current position as a Junior Program Director which I started this past fall.

What makes your internship experience unique?

My internship experience continues to validate my interest in education. I have the unique opportunity to be not just an administrative employee, but also a mentor, a researcher, a facilitator, and public speaker. I work hands-on with students all over NYC and Connecticut, supporting them in their leadership initiatives, teaching them about the college application process, and developing their skills for the future. Concurrently, I have the opportunity to network with wonderful individuals working in the nonprofit sector who have similar passions; as well as gain an in-field perspective of what it’s like to work in urban schools while I meet and plan with administrators, principals, and teachers.

What skills did you learn or improve while at your internship?

College For Every Student forces me to be confident in myself as a leader and speaker. I am often asked to speak to an entire school, which is a daunting task given that I’m still in college and my duty is to inspire not just the students but their more experienced teachers. Over the course of this year, I’ve become better acquainted with the dynamics of working with low-income, under-resourced students in the city. This insight frames my work and has taught me that it is imperative to understand the field you work in. I continually do my research on the DOE and NYC, which has perfected my analytical skills. Above all else, I have learned the beauty of being flexible and preparing various approaches to your work. Working with students is not the easiest job so being on your toes with alternative lessons and strategies is a definite must.

Can you describe what a normal day is for an intern at your company?

A normal day at College For Every Student would entail conducting several site visits throughout the city. I may start off the day in the Financial District, meet with a senior leadership team and discuss their upcoming Career Fair. Then I’d hop on the train to Harlem and work with and film middle school students who are trying to raise morale and encouragement for an upcoming state test. In the midst of this, I am responding to emails, reviewing student resumes, and discussing strategies with administration about how they can improve developmental programs.

Give us one word to describe your workplace environment?


What advice would you give to someone just starting to look for an internship or entry-level job?

For someone just beginning their career opportunities journey, I would highly suggest taking the time to do your research and spend a good deal of time on personal reflection. While you may say that you don’t know what you’d like to do, if you can take a seat back and make a list of things you’re good at or things you don’t want to do, your overall search will become much easier. Finding an opportunity is understandably overwhelming with the countless job databases out there so I would also suggest asking any direct contacts you have for help. Notify a professor or even a classmate of your interests and they may be able to refer you to someone or an organization that holds an available opening.

What do you do to fill the inspiration gas tank?

I make a big effort to stay informed and involved in my field of work and academic interest. There are always new developments and front-page news to digest, and these crises or breakthroughs compel me to remain committed to my goals – you never know how your work and passion may one day make an impact. Additionally, I remind myself of how lucky I am to have such opportunities at my fingertips. Persistence and dedication lead to results, and at the end of the day you have to deal with this fact: If something doesn’t work out, the only person you can blame is yourself. That pressure and challenge to do well keeps me racing towards the eventual finish line.

What’s next for you?

This summer I will be working as a Summer Assistant at NYU while contributing to the National Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander Research in Education under the guidance of Professor Robert Teranishi. I also plan on continuing my work at College For Every Student, assisting with a college pathways trip where we bring high school students to Roger Williams University. In the midst of preparing for this, I am competing in the Catherine B. Reynolds Program in Social Entrepreneurship Changemaker Challenge. Now in the top three teams, Student to Student Ltd. (which is a nonprofit aimed at providing free SHSAT summer tutoring to low-income middle school students) is on the verge of potentially winning $10,000 to put our venture forward.


Benefits of Having an Internship Program

StudentsThere are many benefits of having an internship program. It doesn’t matter if you are a startup or a big company, having good interns can benefit your business in many ways.

Hiring interns is probably the best way to find future employees. An internship program can be a year-round recruiting process. For many that process can drain company’s resources but if you use your sources wisely it can be pretty simple and enjoyable. You can use different online job posting sites like for getting word out to a wide crowd; as well as individual college career services departments.

Once your company completes its first round of an internship program you should be able to identify the kind of changes and improvements to make to your program. If you already have a developed internship program with learning exercises, word about your internship program could spread between students quickly. Soon you will have many students contacting you and asking for new opportunities.

Emerging talent looking for full-time work often apply to well-known companies. But when seeking internships, learning is the main motivation. Some students feel they’ll get more hands-on training and mentoring opportunities with smaller organizations. Internship programs can help smaller businesses secure quality talent while still in school. One great thing about hiring from an intern pool is that you can test skills and get to know them before offering a full-time position. In addition, interns will have a chance to understand the company culture and decide if it is a good fit for them too.

An intern can be a great extra pair of hands with a fresh, eager mind full of new ideas and creativity. Interns are also inexpensive source which is great advantage. Salaries of interns are much lower than full-time employees and their motivation is extremely high. After you find your perfect intern you might notice an amazing increase in productivity.

As a small business, you likely rely on community support. Creating an internship program is an excellent way to give back. Hiring interns not only helps students in your community get started, it improves the local workforce as a whole. Internships also provide students numerous benefits such as: industry experience, skill development, new connections and a chance to build their resume.

Offering a paid internship is extremely beneficial to emerging talent because it enables economically disadvantaged youth to participate. Students who have to help fund their own education will need a job, regardless. Providing an internship makes it easier to get job in future.

Written by Ana Komnenovic


How Do You Network?

Image courtesy of: Samuel Mann

How Do You Network?

1. Be clear about your expertise and the resource you can be for others.

2. Be vulnerable and willing to ask for help.

3. Become a team player.

4. Accept and express appreciation of the support and contributions of others.

5. Develop short and long-term goals. Revise them regularly.

6. Organize a list of who is currently in your network.

7. Portray professionalism through your actions and presentation.

8. Introduce yourself in a way that is clear, concise, and personable. This will generate interest.

9. Reintroduce yourself to people rather than waiting for them to remember you.

10. Focus on people as they are introduced so that you remember their name and who they are.

11. Become comfortable creating visibility for you.

12. Give business cards out only after rapport has been developed.

13. Make notations about the person and the conversation you had on business cards you receive for follow-up conversations.

14. Nurture your network with calls, notes and gifts when appropriate.

15. Prepare before attending networking events by practicing introduction and researching what topics of interests will be discussed at the event.

16. Decide what organizational method you will use to store your network contacts (e.g., iPhone, Blackberry, Gmail, Outlook address book).

17. Return phone calls to people in your network within 24 hours.

18. Become committed to the success of the people in your network.

19. Approach each contact and opportunity with an open mind.

20. Keep your network in the forefront of your thinking.



• Social gatherings (Meetups)

• Over the phone

• Job fairs

• Place of employment

• Seminars

• Association meetings

• Religious affiliations

• Workshops

• Volunteer events

• Internet social networks

• Industry conferences

• Educational institutions



• Neighbors

• Friends

• Co-workers

• Family

• Clients

• Anyone within three feet of you

• Vendors

• Local business owners


Written by: Marc Scoleri


Chat With Professor About Creative Careers

Professor Brian Moriarty

During Meetup events you have a chance to learn, network and connect with many knowledgeable people. Recently, we spoke to one of those people at the Wix Lounge, Professor Brian Moriarty from Stevens Institute of Technology. We had chance to chat with Professor Moriarty and he shared tips, trends and resources that he provides to his students at Stevens Institute of Technology.

In your opinion how can internship or volunteer experience help students during and after their studies?

Internships are critical to academic and professional development is critical to the student experience, as it allows the student to apply academic skills in the real world.

What are some most valuable internship employers your college partners with? What makes their program special?

We have students working in internships currently or have recently completed internships at NBC UniversalMTV,, and the CLIO Awards.  Each of these companies have been valuable to our students as they provide real world experience for our students working on complex projects.

What student services or events do you offer to assist students in finding internships in entry-level positions?

We work on a one-on-one basis with our students to identify the right internship for our students.  This is done by individual faculty members and in coordination with our Career Services office.

What professional development courses or workshops does your college offer to students to prepare the following: resumes, portfolios, social media, and interviewing skills?

We cover many of these topics in our design and studio courses.  As well, we suggest that students enroll in courses in other disciplines such as Project Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship.

What tips can you offer a recent graduate that is preparing to interview for an entry-level position?

Always make your case to your potential employer personal.  Do your research on the company, know your interviewer when possible, without sounding like your Google stalking them, and make the employer understand how you can help solve their problems.

What piece of advice would you offer a student struggling to obtain interviews? 

Exploit all possible avenues of engagement, from traditional means like a college career services office, to social media. Consider every interaction as a possible link to an interview or job.

What kinds of skills are in demand by employers these days?

From my position in education, I am seeing a lot of interest in students who have a traditional arts background, both in theoretical principles and in practice, who merge those ‘outdated’ skills with technology skills in order to provide a new depth of understanding of creative work requirements.

What online resources do you recommend for students looking for jobs in creative industry?

Though new to me, I am finding to be a good resource.  As well, meetups are a very useful resource.

 Stevens Institute of Technology

Professor Brian Moriarty studied photography, receiving his BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1994 and an MFA from Yale University in 1996. His photographs have been published in a number of fine art and editorial publications including 25 and Under/Photographers published by W.W. NortonFortuneWired, Detour, and Yankee Magazine. His work has been exhibited widely, including the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, the Getty Museum, the Hans Weiss Newspace Gallery at Manchester Community College, and most recently at the Verge Brooklyn Art Fair. He is currently a photography, web programming, and visualization professor at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ and is taking part in photography and imaging research projects in remote locations in the Middle East. He is also pursuing a PhD as Stevens Institute of Technology in Systems Engineering, with a research interest in developing games for education.


Employers Benefit By Hiring Interns

Motion graphics animation describing the benefits of an internship program for employers. Animated by Diane Bruzzese, music by Robert May and concept created by Marc Scoleri.


How to Write a Cover Letter

cover letter for interns

Crumpled Cover Letter

The importance of cover letters can never be neglected. A cover letter is your first opportunity to present yourself to a prospective employer, and its quality determines whether or not your resume will be read. Writing a cover letter is not that difficult. If you have never written a cover letter and don’t know where to start, don’t panic, here is what a cover letter should look like.

Usually a cover letter consists of three paragraphs.

  • The first paragraph is the introduction. In this paragraph, briefly express your interest in the company, and specify what position you are applying for. You may also include where you heard about this job opening and when you would like to start. Usually this paragraph won’t exceed 2-3 sentences.
  • The second paragraph contains the most valuable information. This is the paragraph where you outline your most relevant qualifications. Explain why you are the best candidate for this position, what your skills are and how you can contribute to the company. Read job postings carefully and research the company to get a clear idea of what kind of person they are looking for, and then tailor your experience accordingly. Also, be aware that many companies nowadays use keyword search to filter candidates, so be sure to have the right keywords in your cover letter. Those keywords can be easily found in the job description.
  • The third paragraph is the closing. In this paragraph, you provide your contact information, thank the recruiters for their time and consideration, and invite the employer to get back in touch with you for further conversation. Make this paragraph no longer than 3-4 sentences.

To help you better understand how to write a cover letter, below is a great cover letter example I found on the Harvard Business Review blog:

Dear David:

I am writing in response to the opening for xxxx, which I believe may report to you.

I can offer you seven years of experience managing communications for top-tier xxxx firms, excellent project-management skills, and a great eye for detail, all of which should make me an ideal candidate for this opening.

I have attached my résumé for your review and would welcome the chance to speak with you sometime.

Best regards,

xxx xxx

Written by Cathy Qiu


Talent Spotlight Interview: Jamilla Pipersburg

Marc Scoleri, CEO of interviews Jamilla Pipersburg, current student and President of the Pace University Ad Club in New York City.