A group of students recently visited the offices of MKG, an experiential marketing company that houses itself in a non-descript SOHO building. Upon entering we push and wind about the undersized lobby to fit in and look off the surprised office workers; intrigued people looking to arrive at their floors, their meetings, their shiny macbooks.
We share the six-floor ride with MKG employees all interested in the reasons behind the teenagers clogging the usually unfilled elevators. They whisper under the conversations that our students have in their nervous anticipation of what will be seen on the other side of the sliding, bronze doors. For a lot of them, this is their first time on the inside of a building in SOHO that doesn’t have a brand name on the outside of it or tag alarm sensors by the doors. As the elevator opens they’re not disappointed.
They’re greeted first by the MKG logo in bold pink against a black background, the purposeful color that was branded for this company, and second by the liaison for our day Jessica. She greets us and directs us to a glass walled room with a sliding door and MKG pink table where our students were sat around the meeting table and treated to free coffee and candy. After the rush of the free stuff wears off, the students are informed of the birth of the company, what they do there and the daily business process of working at MKG. They dissect the steps of their jobs and offer examples from their past projects to the students to familiarize them with their role at the meeting table.
Before long the group of students are informed that Hudson will be receiving a makeover common spaces around the first floor, basement and outside areas that have been ignored or underutilized in their potential for beauty. And with that news, the students excitedly were set off to create and imagine what that would look like. They started creating a basic logo for Hudson; they brainstormed the unique qualities of Hudson as a place; they translated stories of what the building feels like to them; and found inspiration in print ads for color palettes that could be used in the makeover. Collaboration seamless between the teachers, students, and designers in the design and idea phases while the MKG employees noted the directions that students gave in the composition of a more perfect Hudson.
The focus in the room was inclusive and overwhelming as the ideas were exchanged and built upon by all the stakeholders in this project. The students took the lead and distilled ideas through one another and teachers as the MKG staff took notes on their ideas. Even in the most hectic idea exchange, their commitment to the day was impressive in the way that Hudson has come to expect from their young people. By the end of the exercise each student had contributed at least one idea and were clamoring in support of each other. There was truly great a great feeling of involvement for all.
The experience came to a close after entrepreneur and namesake of MKG, Maneesh Goyah, took time from his day to come in and take questions from our students. Further cementing the importance of their work that day. The main topic of conversation revolved around the working process he uses and where he finds the inspiration to make decisions that have made him so successful. As the time came to a close, he left us with wise words: “Find fulfillment in what you do.”
A piece of advice that resonated with everyone uniquely and individually. A perfect closing sentiment to a day where can truly feel fulfilled and look towards the future to see their dreams become tangible in the halls and rooms of Hudson High.