Alex Beaudin, alumni spotlight

Alex Beaudin, alumni spotlight

Alex Beaudin, alumni spotlight

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Alex Beaudin graduated from the Wayne State University Anthropology department in 2013 with a master's in business anthropology. He was interested in how language was used by social media companies. For his master’s essay, he compared Starbucks and Caribou Coffee to examine and compare how the two companies used language in their social media to convey the impression of being personable.

He discovered Starbucks used personal language in their posts compared to Caribou Coffee which did not use personal language. He explained, “During that time Starbucks was doing well while Caribou Coffee had to close down hundreds of stores in the US. Whether or not there was a relationship between the use of personable language and financial success was hard to pin down, but it was correlated.” Alex discussed how the practicum course was one of the most helpful experiences for him at WSU.

In that course, students had to find and create their own internships in which they could practice anthropology. In his internship, Alex learned how to apply his business anthropology background at a marketing firm. He still uses the internship experience at the company for which he currently works. He is a project manager for Build/Create Studies where he was able to gain experience outside of anthropology and in an area where anthropology is really useful. He has been working at Build for the past eight years. He explained he uses his anthropology background by “applying holistic methods and looking at things from other perspectives.

I am able to wrap my mind around something that I might not be familiar with and take the insider knowledge and learn from that. Most of my job is figuring out what clients need and figuring out what their needs are from what they are telling me and not telling me. It was very much learning how to apply field methods to non-traditional environments.”

His advice to anthropology students is to not be afraid to try something that is outside of the field. He explains, “Anthropology is one of those cool fields where you can fit into anything you really want to do. Don’t worry about whether or not it's something that is the traditional area to practice anthropology. You can find ways to use your skills and things you have learned, and you can really only benefit you and the position you have.”