Last month I was fortunate enough to spend a week gaining work experience at Cilla’s advertising agency: AMV BBDO. While it was incredibly exciting for a girl who’d always lived in The Midlands to be going to work in the biggest advertising agency in the UK, I was a bit daunted by my daily commute into London, something which I soon became comfortable with.
For the first few days, I was shadowing Harry Mead who had gained his job through the graduate scheme offered at Abbott Mead Vickers. He explained how the process worked and encouraged me to apply later on this year for next year’s intake. He also gave me some great tips in preparation for advertising job interviews, such as staying up-to-date with current ads released. While there, I also met a UoB graduate who worked within the HR department. She was really happy to give me advice on the transition from the university lifestyle to working life, and it was great to hear from a fellow UoB student.
Additionally, I got to spend time with each department within the agency, where each member of staff I met was keen to give me advice on how to develop my career prospects and offered me their email addresses to stay in touch. This is something I plan to follow up, as during my week, I was due to go and watch a shoot of a video ad which ended up being rescheduled. The TV production team manager gave me her contact details and told me to get in touch with her if I wanted to go back down to London in the next few months to see an ad being filmed!
I met with Cilla on the last day of my placement and we talked about what steps I should be taking next. We outlined a plan of action, bearing in mind my heavy workload over the next few months and during the exam period. She also put me in contact with her previous mentees from the ALMP scheme who now work in advertising placements in Birmingham, which is where I hope to be when I graduate. She reassured me that I was heading in the right direction with my plans and congratulated me on my 4 hour commute each day! She pointed out to me that the fact I was willing to go to such great lengths to get to the office each day proved my commitment and interest in advertising.
I completed the week with a great experience and reference for my CV, but also with an overwhelming feeling from realising that advertising is the career that I want to pursue. I’m planning to next contact Cilla after my exams are over when I start applying for jobs, but between now and then, I’ve started collecting a list of agencies that I plan to write to when I have graduated alongside applying for a few internships in The Midlands. It’s great to finally know what my plan is for when I graduate and that I’m on the right track.