On Monday, March 18, advertising executives from BBDO’s Atlanta office Skyped in to share information with Davidson students about career paths in advertising. The talk was made possible through the Advertising Educational Foundation, an organization that provides educational content to enrich the understanding of advertising and its role in culture, society and the economy. This is the second year that Davidson has taken advantage of the AEF speaker series.
Debbie Lindner, Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, and Wendy Vogelman, Senior HR Manager, described BBDO to give students an overview of how a major ad agency is structured. A global advertising agency founded in 1891 and based in New York, BBDO has 289 offices in 80 countries and a client list including AT&T, Carter’s, REI, Embassy Suites, Bayer, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Departments and positions at BBDO that could potentially be good fits for liberal arts majors include account management, account planning, experiential marketing (think flash mobs), creative, and proofreading.
Debbie and Wendy discussed a variety of skills necessary for a career in advertising: time management, organization, passion, communication skills, persistence, critical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to take ownership of problems and handle a high volume of fast-paced work. Students must also be open to learning, able to adapt well to change, and up for fun!
The speakers also advised that liberal arts students interested in the creative roles at advertising firms take creative classes and work towards building an online portfolio including print, television, radio and digital components. They briefly discussed advertising portfolio programs like the Atlanta-based Creative Circus as a good way for liberal arts majors to develop this body of work.
Not surprisingly, internships are now viewed as the primary entry point to junior-level full-time position at BBDO and similar agencies. BBDO hires 15 paid interns every 15 weeks, year round, and provides interns with the opportunity to shadow all departments and work on substantive projects. The speakers encouraged the Davidson students in attendance to consider their program or similar programs at other agencies if they are serious about a career in advertising.
Thanks to the AEF and BBDO for making this presentation possible! We’re looking forward to continued collaborations that allow Davidson students to explore the field of advertising.
Thanks to CSA Morgan Orangi ’13 for contributing to this post.