Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No man is an island

When choosing a college, I'm sure your decision is based on quite a few things: reputation, placement percentage, location, tuition, and so on. Yet I've found, after surveying a large group of advertising and design school grads, there is one other thing you may want to consider. I've never thought about this, but it makes perfect sense.

Consider the other students who go there. Now you probably have no way of doing this on your own. You can't really ask every other applicant to show you their portfolio and have them assure you of their commitment to doing well at school. Fairly, if not totally, impossible.

But, what you can do is judge the caliber of the work done by graduates of the school. When passion, creativity and accountability are at the forefront of the curriculum, it is evident in graduate portfolios. Great work will consistently come out of great schools. Not occasionally, consistently.

Look to see which schools top the Gunn Report for best advertising schools that year. Find who is repeatedly on that list. I guarantee you, these are the schools where students are passionately committed.

This is important, because your education isn't a solo deal. You don't just go in, work hard, do some creative work and get handed a degree at the end. You work together with other students and their talent and drive just might affect your portfolio. How? These are the people you'll be partnered with on assignments, people you will need to count on for group projects, and that makes them the same people you'd want to be serious about doing good work.

Being surrounded by passionate and committed people is essential at an agency. It should be equally essential at school.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Big Things

Big Mistake: no showing a job interview.

Bigger Mistake: no showing a job interview for a position someone referred you for.

Biggest Mistake: no showing a job interview for a position someone referred you for, the same person you asked to be a reference on your resume.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Must Read

As a reward for perfect attendance, I am giving a book to two students tonight (hey, whatever works). If you haven't got a copy of either of these, go out and get them.

Paul Arden's "Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite" and "It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be." Short, inexpensive, easy-to-read books aimed at those with a creative mind.

He makes great points:
Do not seek praise. Seek criticism.
Don't be afraid of silly ideas.
Sometimes the clever thing is not to be too clever.
There is no right point of view.
Rock the boat (something my boss does brilliantly).

These, my friends, are words to live by. Embrace them wholeheartedly.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Am I missing something?

You land your first advertising job. Now think of missing work two days straight without calling your boss. Think of deciding you just don't want to complete your client's project. Think of no showing a big client meeting. Can you even imagine someone doing that? Sounds silly that I'd even suggest it.

Now switch the word job with school and imagine missing school two days straight without calling your instructor. Or deciding you really don't want to complete an assignment. Or even no showing a mid-term or final. Does that sound just as silly? It should.

Think of school as your first job. Think of your instructor as your boss. Think of your assignments as your client's projects. Got it? That same responsibility expected at work applies in the classroom.

I can't even imagine a creative in my department just not showing up for a big meeting. Or not coming to work without telling anyone. In the same sense, I can't even imagine a student not showing up for a mid-term (sickness & death do not apply). Or being absent without sending a note why. Am I expecting too much? I hope not.

I'd like to think that students who treat school as a dry run learn a sense of discipline and responsibility. The same discipline and responsibility any creative department on earth expects from their employees.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pop Culture Engineering

Miami Ad School differentiates itself with its tagline, "The School of Pop Culture Engineering". Sounds cool. Sounds current. Sounds like they get it.

This is what their website says: Miami Ad School students win more awards than students at any other school in the world because our students are exposed to the latest in global pop culture. They learn all the crazy trends, fads and forms of communication.

Crazy trends, fads and forms of communication. I read that and it made me want to go there. I write this as a word of advice to check what your ad school's tag line is. "Tag line" as in what do they stand for? What do they proclaim loud and clear that they are going to teach you? And, does it sound current and like they get it?

The times they are a changin'. Make sure you are being taught (whether at school, on the job, or elsewhere), the strategies shaping the future landscape of brands and advertising media.