Polly Harris Saunders is an advertising student currently on her placement year at Bournemouth University. Polly loves the idea of travelling around the world while working within advertising, to gain a global perspective on the industry - her first stop is Wunderman in Singapore!
What attracted you to wanting to work in the creative industries - particularly account management?
I have always been a lover of business – I have been lucky enough to watch both of my parents run their own businesses, so have naturally been involved in the process. When I got to study business at school, it was the people side of business that interested me (I was happy to leave the finance to someone else!). When it came to choosing which degree course I wanted to study, I knew that communications interested me, and through a process of elimination I felt that advertising was something I wanted to learn about.
"...Account management is the area that suits my current abilities – talking to people (as clichéd as that sounds…) is great."
Since studying at Bournemouth University I have come to realise that account management is the area that suits my current abilities – talking to people (as clichéd as that sounds…) is great. Using the skills of all the different departments within an agency, bringing them together, paying close attention to every single detail in order to present that end package to the client is both exciting and rewarding. I cannot wait to use what I have learnt when I finally work in the industry. Although I am currently working towards this role within advertising, its not to say that I won't have ago at other areas – I haven’t even finished my degree yet…
How have you found studying advertising at Bournemouth University?
Bournemouth University has been great so far. While I am only in my second year of the course, I feel like the different areas that I have been studying are slowly coming together to prepare me for entry to the real world. The great thing about studying advertising at Bournemouth, is that we focus on ideas that solve a problem.
"It’s the “method to the madness” within the advertising industry. It’s all very well having something that is visually stimulating, but if it’s not solving a problem, or it doesn’t mean anything, then it’s wasted…"
It’s the 'method to the madness' within the advertising industry. It’s all very well having something that is visually stimulating, but if it’s not solving a problem, or it doesn’t mean anything, then it’s wasted. I am thankful for being taught the importance of this, because its easy to get carried away with how you want to execute ideas. I’ve learnt you have to follow the strategic pathway before you can make things look pretty!
Tell us more about your placement in Singapore. How did you land it?
Next week I shall be flying out to do a placement at Wunderman, to assist with account management, particularly working on the Microsoft account. I had been told about the Zed Academy that WPP run across a few of their agencies, so used all the resources I had to get myself a place.
"The main lessons I have learnt are that showing passion and (polite!) persistence is key in order to get noticed by people."
I really like what the Zed Academy stood for, so I used all the contacts that I had to get my name and CV out there. We had academy ambassadors come and talk to us about the academy at university, so I used that as an opportunity to get their contact details. I also contacted someone who was with the Z Academy from the year above me, which may have helped… its hard to tell!
Which company would you love to work for and why?
This is a hard question for me – I feel like I am still learning the different sub cultures within the industry, but I would definitely want to work somewhere that is passionate and honest about what they do. I attended a workshop during the D&AD NewBlood Festival at Sapient Nitro, they seemed like a fantastic place to work with an interesting way of thinking. I’m pretty open minded though so I would sit and consider most places if the job role was suitable. I’d like to try working at big agencies and small agencies to see what the industry is like from several angles.
Where do you find inspiration for your blog?
From university mainly, but I also try and add a sprinkle of “me” into it.
"It’s easy to get carried away with corporate ad talk 24/7, so I have tried to write about things that I get up to that interest me…"
It’s easy to get carried away with corporate ad talk 24/7, so I have tried to write about things that I get up to that interest me along with my thoughts on work that I have finished and how it made me feel.
Is there anything you know now that you wish you'd known earlier?
That working on a portfolio (even if it’s not with the intentions of going into a creative role) can never be started early enough. When I say portfolio, I mean just work that you have done both at uni/college or in your own time that you are proud of. People seem to be impressed when you have something to show for what you say you love. At any kind of networking event it’s instantly a topic of conversation and I wish I had started working on mine earlier. When I started searching for placements it was a huge task to try and get all the things I thought were worthwhile into one place that I could send to people in support of applications/emails.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far?
The biggest challenge I have faced so far would probably be persevering at finding a placement that excited me, rather than accepting something early on in the process that wasn’t exactly what I wanted. While many of my friends had sorted theirs out early on this year, I kept searching. It was stressful but I think it paid off because I am so thrilled with the opportunity of working for Wunderman in Singapore.
Which advert/campaign has caught your eye in the last 6 months and why?
Booking.com – it made me laugh out loud. It’s “booking brilliant”.
"It’s put a positive view of the brand into my mind.”
It’s put a positive view of the brand into my mind. I even thought of it when I needed to book a hotel recently.
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