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10 Aug 2015
BY Alison Hendry

Leaving the University Nest

It’s been just over a year since I left university and began working life. My degree was in Business Studies; my final year included an Advertising Theories & Practice unit with a session on Advertising Agencies and how they operate. So when I landed at The Lane, I thought I would have it sussed! How wrong could I be?! The theory and reality are quite different, here’s what I’ve found:

Clients - University work is, by and large, very individual in nature. Ignoring group projects, most projects I undertook were solo tasks. Producing an essay or project at university was relatively low-risk as it would only be yourself you’d compromise if you didn’t produce your best work. However, for paying clients everything you produce has to be both excellent and effective, there are a lot stakeholder interests to consider and incorporate. This means understanding and interpreting clients needs, writing great briefs and delivering great work. Sometimes, it goes through smoothly, the next time, there are more amends cycles, adaptations and improvements to be made to ensure the outputs deliver to the brief 100% of the time. 

The Big Idea - at University, examples of successful campaigns often come with a eureka moment that translates to a witty nation wide TV campaign. Often these are multi million pound campaigns and the truth of it is that in Scotland, there aren’t many of these kind of budgets around. So, I’ve learned that the real art is in creativity that delivers results, what we call effectiveness. Our clients look for ROI and that’s what we have to deliver on every campaign.

Time – In University, we read about campaigns built over weeks and months, we write essays with a 6 week deadline. I work on ideas that have to be turned around within 24 hours on some of our retail accounts! Big ideas are really important, but so is ability to move projects quickly and effectively.

Learning - The introduction of a new topic at University usually came with around six or seven journal articles to read, a textbook chapter and a couple of websites. Perhaps I read more than I’ll ever read in my final years at university, but in terms of pace of learning, I’ve probably learnt more in the past year at The Lane.

At Uni you apply those learnings in exams and assignments, and yes sometimes you forget quickly afterwards. Learning on the job is different. The skills I’ve learned at The Lane I have to implement, be held accountable for and apply in problem solving. The people who teach me will tell me once and expect me to remember and apply the teaching, because they’re even busier than I am. And boy does that make you a quick learner. However, while the expectations are high, so are the support levels, I always have someone to ask and someone willing me on to grasp the nettle and grow in confidence.

Funnily enough, one of the most critical things I’ve learned is how to share a kitchen with 20 other people – put your teabags in the bin, unload the dishwasher when it’s finished and don’t leave milk in a milk frother overnight! These are the only things you’ll get shouted at for. If I’ve scared you off don’t worry because you have a laugh with sharp, creative, driven people, and you also get to work on something different every single day. There’s also the bacon roll rounds after a big night out – they’re always good.