“I loved going into his office because there was a lot of creative energy there,” says Parker, graduate of Ball State’s emerging media design and development (EMDD) master’s degree. 

The EMDD program emphasizes three key areas that are in high demand in the workforce: design thinking, human-computer interaction, and cross-platform storytelling. 

A generation later, Parker works as marketing manager for Blinkfire Analytics, a marketing analytics company based in downtown Chicago, located in the West Loop. 

Parker says Blinkfire is a leading business intelligence and marketing analytics platform that evaluates sports, media, and entertainment sponsorships across social media, digital, and advanced TV. He still gets a thrill from the marketing ambience.

“Their Creativity Inspires Me Every Day” 

“One of the best things of working in marketing and advertising is the creative atmosphere and people,” he says. “At Blinkfire, I have coworkers building computer programs that are changing the world of sports. Being around that kind of creativity inspires me every day.” 

Parker is convinced that his graduate degree prepared him for his work in the world of marketing. 

He’s convinced it can do the same for others in the field: “I believe this program has a ton to offer marketing and advertising students and professionals specifically because of how the marketing industry is adopting the rapidly growing digital world.”

Parker began his career at Upshot, an advertising agency also located in Chicago’s West Loop.  

Started Career in Advertising 

Parker Swartz “To be able to start my career in Chicago at an amazing advertising agency like Upshot and work with an incredible client in Constellation Brands [Corona, Modelo, and Pacifico Beer] was a dream come true,” he says. 

Parker says, “You can’t beat downtown Chicago. The city has everything: Lake Michigan, beaches, world-renowned museums, sports, mass amounts of entertainment, and any restaurant you can think of. I think the city inspires everyone who works here.” 

Now at Blinkfire, Parker works with many sports leagues, teams, and players across the globe that use their platform. 

Blinkfire is Perfect Blend of Passion and Abilities 

“As a sports nerd and NCAA D1 collegiate volleyball player,” says Parker. “I think my role at Blinkfire is the perfect blend of passion and abilities for me.” 

The fact that the EMDD program enrolled students from diverse undergraduate backgrounds appealed to Parker. 

“I got to work with people who studied telecommunications, journalism, art, science, and much more,” he says. “I think EMDD does a great job of giving you the tools to success in a modern work environment within your chosen industry.” 

Applied lab experiences are the centerpiece of the EMDD. Parker applies storytelling strategies learned in the EMDD program to his daily work. 

“Our design thinking labs have proven to be incredibly relevant in my workplace,” notes Parker. “I have used ideation strategies from our labs countless times. And it has helped me solve problems surrounding marketing tactics, competitive research, and digital solutions across many forms of business.” 

Parker admits he didn’t compare the program to similar programs because Ball State EMDD is so unique. 

“I knew some of the most talented professors at Ball State were a part of the program,” he says, noting that faculty truly care about their students. “Working with amazing professors such as Dr. Jennifer Palilonis, Dr. Adam Kuban, and Dr. Kevin Moloney was a huge draw.”