Joe Schlesinger ’08

Joe SchlesingerSyracuse University has been special to Joe Schlesinger ’08 since childhood, and that Orange pride has only grown stronger. “When I was around 8 years old, I had an SU sweatshirt with Otto on it, and it was my favorite shirt; I always thought Otto was a funny mascot. Then, when I was in high school and came to visit, I knew it was the school for me. Syracuse had all the opportunities of a bigger university, but maintained a tight-knit community feel. Plus, it was my junior year in high school that the basketball team won the national championship, and that energy seemed exciting.”

Reflecting on his student years, Schlesinger knows life-changing experiences occurred without him even realizing it at the time. “It’s crazy to think that on the first day I moved in, I met seven guys on my floor who will be attending my wedding this summer, 12 years later,” he says. “Just getting to know everyone freshman year, meeting people from different backgrounds and finding out how much we have in common was very impactful.”

His semester abroad in London marked another defining time in Schlesinger’s life. “The SU Abroad program was so seamless, from traveling all around Europe to making the most of our time in London— all while still taking on good course loads that mixed what we were learning in our majors with different experiences overseas.”

Schlesinger appreciated having many influential professors who taught him best practices for “making it in the real world” and honed his problem-solving skills. But Syracuse gave Schlesinger something else—courage to take chances.

While the norm for many young alumni is to change jobs frequently in the first decade of their careers, Schlesinger has worked at the same place since graduating from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2008. He took a chance on Gupta Media, then a small startup with big Orange ties, and he’s never looked back.

“The head of our digital team, Jason Carrasco, is a Syracuse grad. When I joined the company, it was very small, but having Jason as my manager was comforting and part of what made me excited to start my career here,” says Schlesinger, who serves as an account director for the digital media agency and works primarily in the music business. “Jason remains a mentor for me to this day, and I know how fortunate I am to be working closely with the same person eight years later.”

Today Schlesinger manages a team of five, overseeing digital ad campaigns for major record labels, music festivals, and other live events. Gupta Media has grown from a small startup to an agency of 50 employees. The media team alone includes 25 people, 10 of whom are Syracuse alums. “We’ve hired many Syracuse graduates and have always been thrilled, because we know they’ll come in and be ready to help the company very quickly,” he says.

Schlesinger is proud to hire Syracuse alumni, and equally happy about giving back to the University. “Syracuse played a big part in my career path, and I want to ensure future students have all the same opportunities,” he says.