How are we educating the Next Generation of communications experts? We thought we better ask them.

By - CTL
February 1, 2017
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Oscar Wilde said, “The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything”.

So we thought we’d better ask them (the young that is) about how they are being educated for a career in whatever the advertising industry is called these days.

Here are the first four interviews. They’re full of pathos, wry wit, reserved optimism and a healthy skepticism for their courses all of which makes for insightful reading and 10 minutes out of your life you won’t want back.

These interviews will be a regular feature on ctl. We’ll eventually cover all the educational institutions from universities, to private colleges and industry driven curriculums.

Maybe there is hope for the future, and all we really need to do is listen more to the young and take what they say seriously.

Alexandria Innes-Brown

What was the driving force that made you choose Communications as a subject?
I have always been interested in the communications industry – media, public relations and advertising. I am however still unsure as to which one I prefer or which one best suits me!

What were your expectations before you started your degree?

I started at university with no real idea of what it would be like or what I would learn. I knew however that it would be a huge shock to the system coming from such a nurturing school environment.

At university you get out of it as much as you put in. The lecturers and tutors just teach the course content and go home. You as the student must organise to see the tutor if you need assistance. The lectures can have up to 200 people in them.

In terms of the course content, I hoped it was practical and informative. As my course progressed this expectation was met. One thing is for sure we got lots of practice working in groups and part of a team, an essential skill for the real world in any job.

During your degree were you able to gain hands on work experience?

I undertook work experience during university holidays; I worked in administration in a postproduction house and a public relations agency. I was able to shadow numerous people, learning their roles in the company, from editor to sound mixer, to colour corrector to publicist to managing director, I was able to get a feel for what these jobs entailed. This helped me narrow down my focus on my prospective career path.

Is your course based on theory or real life examples?

It was a combination of the two. The first few years of my degree focused on learning the basics and the latter part of it was applying those theories to real life examples.

When you graduate are you and your mates planning a big celebration?
I think a relaxing holiday is on the cards; Hawaii is always a winner, the sun, surf, sand and shopping!

What does having a degree mean to you?

Completing my masters was a big achievement for me. Not everyone chooses to do masters, and I think it was well worth it. It will set me apart from the rest, and give me an edge in such a competitive industry.

Everyday, everybody is subjected to thousands of advertising messages. What do you think of the current standard and are there any you particularly like?
Advertising will always be subjective, and that’s why I think it will remain constant. A television ad I’m liking at the moment is: ‘Fox Sports: Two Sports,’ its simple but effective!

Do you currently earn your own money?

Yes, whilst I’ve being at university, I have worked afternoons at my old school four days a week coaching netball for Years 2 – 6, and when I’m not doing that I work reception on Saturdays.

Have you decided on a career you want to pursue?

At the moment I want to pursue broadcast media. I am currently mid-way through an 11 week Voice Training for Radio and Television course at the University of Technology. This course is teaching me to use my voice effectively and successfully in a professional context. It is helping with my breathing, clarity of speech and pitch of voice, all of which are important in broadcast.

Emily Sharp

What was the driving force that made you choose Communications as a subject?

I did work experience at an ad agency in year 10 and really enjoyed it.

What were your expectations before you started your degree?

It was a while ago so I don’t really remember, but I think I expected it to be a lot more practical and useful than it is.

Along the way, have these expectations been met?

Not really.

During your degree were you able to gain hands on work experience?

Yes, but I sought internships out myself rather than doing them as part of a subject

Is your course based on theory or real life examples?

Real life examples were used in some subjects

When you graduate are you and your mates planning a big celebration?

I’m going travelling for four months the day after

What does having a degree mean to you?

Being able to get a job in the industry I want however I’ve found having hands-on experience is much more useful

Everyday, everybody is subjected to thousands of advertising messages. What do you think of the current standard and are there any you particularly like?

I think the current standard of advertising is very high, especially given there are lots of awards for good ads these days. I particularly like the Bonds campaign that is running at the moment, as well as the MLC Super ads.

Have you decided on a career you want to pursue?

I know I want to go into media – most likely PR but would definitely consider editorial as well.

Lindsay Allan

What was the driving force that made you choose Communications as a subject?

The perverse inefficiencies in science and maths

What were your expectations before you started your degree?

To enjoy a practical course that focused on arming grads with sellable skills.

Along the way, have these expectations been met?

In part. The relevancy of compulsory subjects was ambiguous, and I believe those components of the degree have now been scrapped.

During your degree were you able to gain hands on work experience?

Yes, I completed two internships at Public Relations and Advertising agencies. These were done autonomously, and were not attributed to course credit.

Is your course based on theory or real life examples?

It seemed to be designed as a snatch-and-grab of both, combining to make something not quite as good as either.

When you graduate are you and your mates planning a big celebration?

I travelled through Central America for seven months. I just had a good time and drank a lot of beer.

What does having a degree mean to you?

A piece of paper to wave in the front of out-of-touch directors to say “Hey, look at me!”

Everyday, everybody is subjected to thousands of advertising messages. What do you think of the current standard and are there any you particularly like?

People aren’t subjected to advertising messages; they participate in them. Looking beyond the pat-on-the-back campaign-based philosophy that agencies like Leo Burnett, M&C Saatchi and The Monkeys subscribe to, there are a lot of brands seeing tangible results through inbound marketing. American Express gives its audience genuine, practical information on its Chief Future Officer content hub. Although in its infancy, the initiative is already seeing great ROI through Global Corporate Payments signups.
What do your peers think?

They like what Todd Sampson tells them to like. Which, more often than not, is a 30-second TVC that cost >$200k in production, leveraging topical messaging forgotten before it fades to black. But hey, AdNews gave them an award, so it must be good, right?

Do you currently earn your own money?

When Westpac isn’t gifting me millions in inexplicable payments, yes. I work full-time at Sydney/London based Digital Marketing Agency, Switched on Media, part of WPP AUNZ. I live out of home, and buy my own canned tuna thankyou very much.

Have you decided on a career you want to pursue?

I just want to dance!

Meg Twine

What was the driving force that made you choose Communications as a subject?

I chose Communications as I thought it would lead to a diverse range of career opportunities. Media and communications is fundamental to every part of life and I can now work within any industry as a media specialist!

What were your expectations before you started your degree?

I decided to Major in Public Relations, without even knowing what that meant! My expectations were that Media and Communications would be a glamourous and exciting industry for a young person entering the workforce, but really had no idea what was truly involved.

Along the way, have these expectations been met?

I believe my expectations for glamour were dissolved pretty quickly. I would have liked for the degree to be more hands-on and industry relevant. I came out of the degree still not really having any real clear direction.

During your degree were you able to gain hands on work experience?

I managed to find a paid job through a recommendation. I chose not to apply for internships, as I didn’t have the time or the financial ability to work unpaid. In hind-sight, I believe this hands-on experience is vital, however, I struggle with the idea of working unpaid.

Is your course based on theory or real life examples?

The course was largely based around theory, which I didn’t necessarily find relevant or beneficial to improving my skills. I believe this type of course needed to be far more practical to the typical day-to-day activities in the work place, i.e. writing more media kits, designing creative campaigns for real life clients etc.

When you graduate are you and your mates planning a big celebration?

A trip away together!

What does having a degree mean to you?

A piece of paper that means I will be able to get a job more easily.
Everyday, everybody is subjected to thousands of advertising messages. What do you think of the current standard and are there any you particularly like?

I feel as though a lot of advertising is lost amongst the masses. Unless something is new and exciting, it won’t be memorable and incite action. Advertising is changing and I believe Social Media as a platform for advertising is the way of the future. For example, using Instagram personas to promote a product has become a very effective advertising tactic.

Do you currently earn your own money?

Yes, I am working full-time for a Digital Marketing business.

Have you decided on a career you want to pursue?

I am still undecided.

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