Alumni Blake Burch graduated in 2010 and went to Texas Christian University getting a degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management. In high school Burch participated in band, show choir, student council and National Honor Society.
What have you done after high school?
“After Legacy, I went to Texas Christian University for a degree in Music Education, but switched about halfway through to a degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurial Management,” Burch said. “While at TCU, I was on the drumline, I led up the marketing for theCrew (the university’s event planning organization), and served as a Google Student ambassador. Since college, I’ve been working at PMG, a digital advertising agency in Fort Worth. I started as an intern and have been growing and learning with the company, now leading up our Data Innovation department.”
What made you want to do what you are doing now?
“I’ve always enjoyed technology and wanted to learn to program,” Burch said. “Halfway through college, I had some classes and internships that made me realize that I also enjoyed aspects of creatively getting the message out to people. Combine the two and you end up in digital advertising.”
What did you learn or experience in high school affect you in college and beyond?
“I realized in high school that working hard on the things you care about can pay off in dividends, whereas working hard on the things you’re told you should care about won’t,” Burch said. “If you don’t truly care about something, your time and energy is better used elsewhere. As an example, I spent my last two high school years caring less about grades and more about developing my musical skills, netting me some pretty sizable scholarship offers as a result. Those scholarships mattered way more than the few college hours I saved from doing well on AP tests. When in college, I spent more time focused on finding a variety of work (~30h per week) so that I could have real experience and a better idea of what I wanted to do. I worked as a private music tutor, a stagehand, a business plan writer, an online community manager, a legal startup researcher, a print shop helper, a website developer, an event planner, and event marketer, and a product evangelist. I didn’t end up with the best GPA, but it payed off when finding a fantastic job with growth opportunity that met all of my needs.”
Explain your job now, what you are doing, different aspects of your job.
“As the Data Innovation Lead at PMG, I direct the strategy and roadmap for a team of six, focused on creating unique solutions for clients (J.Crew, Cirque du Soleil, Sephora, Opentable, H-E-B, etc.) by piecing together disparate data sources and technologies,” Burch said. “At it’s core, we’re making algorithms to make smarter marketing decisions and we’re building automated processes that let the organization move quicker. Over the course of the last 3 years, I’ve had to learn technical skills like SQL, Python, Regex, and Bash to get the job done. I never expected my job to be so technical and I was definitely never taught these skills in school. The work is fast paced, never gets repetitive, requires constantly learning new things, and it’s a real challenge to stay ahead of the industry.”
What are your plans for the future?
“On a personal level, I plan to continue traveling the world to experience different people and cultures,” Burch said. “On a professional level, I plan on becoming more of an expert in automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. If everything works out, I hope to be running my own SaaS company in the next 10 years.”
What is your advice to current high schoolers?
“Don’t get bogged down with grades, but at the same time, don’t get bogged down with socializing,” Burch said. “You need a good mix of both to succeed and you’ll have to learn how to prioritize between the two. The people that get ahead in life are the ones that take action and actively pursue the things that they want for themselves.”