The virtues of the IPA ad school (from an insider)

IPA Ad schoolers 2012

IPA Ad schoolers 2012

Hi! My name’s Matthew! I’m an Account Executive in Atelier, a division of Leo Burnett handling luxury and fashion accounts. But 12 months ago, I was in your position, deciding whether or not to apply to the IPA Ad School.

My advice is GO FOR IT! It’s really an incredible scheme. It’s rare that you get to experience a role within the agency in so much depth, and the lectures and Ad School events provide an insight into the most exciting areas of the industry.

To prove it, I’ve dug out an embarrassingly enthusiastic blog I wrote last summer, that will give you an insight into the day-to-day experience of the internship

On my first day at Leo Burnett, no sooner had I grabbed an apple from the front desk, than I was sat in a winged armchair with the MD and UK CEO, discussing Cecil Beaton, website design and the future of advertising. I left the office with a great understanding of the firm’s future direction, but no idea of how to get home!

Over the rest of the week I filled in the gaps, meeting leaders from the account management, planning and creative departments, and being introduced to the various brands within Leo Burnett: Atelier for luxury, Holler for digital and Lime for experiential. Propelled by loosed butterflies and inspiration, I shot down the Piccadilly Line to the IPA to meet the fellow grads. The learning curve continued to soar as I heard from the IPA’s membership director John Oldfield, as well as the Ad School founders and past attendees.

The rest of the week was a maelstrom of meetings, research, Q&As and training. On Wednesday, the fellow AdSchoolers came to Leo’s for a presentation by Chris Jackson on how to find a job in advertising. Reminded that being nice is central to success in a people-focussed industry, we stayed at the Leo Burnett bar until closing, enjoying the friendly culture and cheap pints.

I was learning fast. On Wednesday I had laughed fleetingly at what I thought to be a vandalised Go Compare billboard outside Earl’s Court station. Leaving the work bar on Friday night, I glanced back up at it and discussed VCCP’s decision to kill off Gio Compario, the limitations of his character, and the comparative complexity of Aleksandr Orlov, whose autobiography was my reading for the tube home.

Matthew Brown


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