Seven stages, Six Degrees of Separation, Five Gold Rings …

Whilst reading the entries for the Burnett management in Campaign’s ‘A-List’ last week, it struck me just how keen most contributors were to dodge serious answers to the request for advice for ‘wannabe A-listers’.

Sarcasm, modesty and humour were the preferred reactions, but perceptible behind these was some sage reasoning: concentrate on the job in in front of you, and the reward will eventually come. Naked ambition, on the other hand, is perhaps an unattractive quality in an industry that demands positive personal relationships.

As our first IPA Stage 1 talk, I asked Jeremy Bullmore how a newcomer to the industry might make a good impression in his or her first weeks at an agency – certainly one likes to feel involved, but without getting in the way of those with greater experience. Listen, was the immediate response, and question everything. Absorb what you can from anywhere and anyone, because in adland, variety rules.

This is why I was surprised, too, to see the IPA’s Adnews question the value of the seven stages (albeit rhetorically). The course is broad in its potential areas of interest to cater for that variety. Says Matt Sadler, winner of the President’s Prize for the IPA Excellence Diploma, “For me, the Diploma has required discipline, motivation and a lot hard work, but the outcome is that you can walk into work feeling like you can pretty much take on anything. I can now undertake any project knowing that I have massive insight and knowledge to draw from.” Ever wondered what a bizarre collection of objects is accumulated in the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’ song? Our interests should be equally diverse.


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