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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  Drive and talent, but no ad school or portfolio

Drive and talent, but no ad school or portfolio


I should be considered one of your groupies; I stalk this site and I’ve written before. I’m a senior at a small but solid liberal arts college approaching my last semester. I have two creative advertising internships at major agency under my belt, and have received good feedback and plenty of “If you need help getting into the industry,” “if you’re ever looking for work overseas,” and “if you need help with your book, email me” ‘s to make me feel like I have that something to make the cut. But I don’t, at least not in a full tangible form. I’m still working on my book, without ad school experience. I know what great advertising is, and I love it. But a lot of the time I wonder if I have only the ability to see a great ad, and not write one. I know I’m a solid writer, and I know my career will have something to do with writing -but not necessarily copy. Plus, in both of my internships I had issues working with the intern I was paired with, to the point that it was hard to outweigh the pros and cons of the internship. I don’t usually have problems working in group settings – is it me, is this the industry for me?

intro Drive and talent, but no ad school or portfolio It’s pretty rare to break into this business without any kind of ad program to inform your thinking and portfolio preparation. You’ve done well to get some internships but our guess is you’ll only get so far without any training. Think about any other profession approached the same way—it just wouldn’t happen. What you do have is interest and drive, and probably some real talent given the positive comments you’ve received. It’s impossible to know if the business is right for you when you really don’t know much about it except for what’s evident to you as an interested observer. We’d suggest from here that you explore some good ad school programs, make appointments to meet with any that you can and get some feedback on where you stand. (Start your search online and if you want to start at the top check out VCU Adcenter and Miami Ad School. The better schools show student work and you’ll have an immediate point of comparison to your own work.) This may help you appreciate the gap between your book as it stands now and how much further along it could be, and what it may take to get there. If your goal is to land in a rewarding job at a better agency, it will be worth the investment of time and money to continue your education beyond the liberal arts starting point. You might alternatively find in the process of talking to schools that you want to take your writing skills elsewhere. There are indeed other things you can do.

We would guess you had trouble working with other interns based on virtually no advertising training. If they were better equipped than you to tackle the work (based on ad school training), it would have been difficult to work as partners. You wouldn’t have been speaking the same language. If you get that school experience you’ll look back on your disappointing internships and call them a great springboard to getting into the game. Good luck.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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