Monday, 22 December 2008

Didn't get that one.

"The people who can drive themselves further once the effort
gets difficult are the ones who will win."

 Just got off the phone with Aveda. I didn't get the internship. They gave me the feedback that I was over qualified and I was late. Both true. 

I feel terrible about being late. I had plenty of time to get there, but ended up going down the wrong street. I guess it doesn't really matter, if I am too qualified then they wouldn't have given it to me. I am disappointed. I really liked the guy who I interviewed with and was looking forward to working with him. On one hand if the internship wasn't going to be challenging than it's good that I am not doing it. I saw it as a good way into the company. I guess I should look at the positives.

Positives:
HR and my interviewer said I had a strong CV.
They had a chance to meet me. I am still very passionate about working for Aveda, hopefully I would be considered if something were to come up.
I know that I am too qualified for internships and work experiences.
The experience has moved me one step closer to finding a job that I will love doing.


I have to admit that I feel knocked back. I really wanted this internship. I choked up when I was talking to the woman from HR on the phone, but I am only human. 

I sent the HR person and the interviewer an email letting them know that I would still love to work for the company and that I would keep in touch. I did enjoy everyone that I met.

I wish I could say that I wasn't upset, but I am. I did learn from the experience. I was unsure of myself before regarding experience. I had been hearing that I should try to get some experience here. So I tried that, but it doesn't seem to be the right path. I have to got to rock the experience that I have and remember that I do have a lot. My major at MCAD is a lot different than most and I gained a lot of experience from the course and the internships that I have done.

I will move forward and focus on that.



Aveda....where are you?


It's Monday morning. I had an interview last week with Aveda for a marketing internship that I am really interested in. I went in for two interviews and they seemed to both go well. I was 15 minutes late to one of the interviews. I wasn't very happy about that. I have never been late before for an interview. I second guessed myself with regards to reading the map and ended up going the wrong way. The guy interviewing me seemed understanding. I just hate hate hate being late for anything like that.

My main interview was on Wednesday and I was told I was going to hear something back by Friday. I didn't hear anything, which according to people isn't too unusual considering it was the Friday before Christmas break. I was of course disappointed. I am excited about this internship. So I am going to give a call and see if anyone is about, which I hope they are. It's the lunch hour now so I am going to ring around 1 p.m.

I got some good feedback from Matthew's aunt yesterday at dinner. She thinks that I shouldn't be marketing myself as a recent graduate considering the experience that I have from the US. I guess recent graduate here usually is equated with someone who has very little experience. 

Today I am going to be getting ready for Christmas, lots of stuff to do around the house and wrapping presents. I can't believe that this is my second Christmas in England.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

About Me, About my blog.


I have always believed that attitude is everything. Your outlook on life is what you make of it. I have been spending this past week in London doing a lot of thinking about my life. I have also sat down to update my blog, but haven't done it. I was a bit up in the air about what I wanted this blog to be about it. On the one hand I started it because I wanted to have a personal record of my experience looking for a job and starting a career in London. Then I thought that maybe I could write it in a way that could help other people. Students back at MCAD who wanted to come to London. I thought that the blog could help me get a job. I could write about things of interest, connect myself to blogs that people thought were important. I was spending time worrying about what I should write, how people were going to perceive it. What kind of image was I going to portray. The more I thought about these things, the less I wanted to write about anything. I am done with chasing after "important" people.

I decided that I was going to define what I wanted my blog to be about, not what I think it should be about it. I want to blog about the thoughts and feelings I have while living in London and trying to find a job and start my life here. I want to write about the good, bad and the ugly without worrying that I am sounding too negative or coming across in a certain way. I want to openly share what I am going through so that I can look back in five, ten years and see how far I've come. I am interested in helping others who may be going through a similar experience.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

MCAD I love you


I heard the mail come through the slot today and I ran from the living room to collect it. I am still waiting to hear back from one last graduate scheme that I applied for. Instead was a letter from MCAD asking me to donate money. Oh dear. What bad timing. I had just got done putting all my loans on deferment. My loans are pretty hefty, I am hovering around 65,000.00. It was well worth it. At least I know I am not the only one out there with huge MCAD loans. My husband gets a kick out of shocking people with how much I owe. University used to be free in England and even though they have to pay for it now, it isn't considered expensive. My student debt doesn't really get me down, because I believe in the education that I received at MCAD. It was money well spent. More accurately money well borrowed and spent.

I can't wait for the day when I can start contributing to MCAD, but it might be a few years. I hope they accept the check for 5.00 and know that I would give more if I had it. I have been lately getting emails from students who are interested in studying in London and I look forward to helping them. In that way I am giving back to MCAD. I feel good about helping fellow students from MCAD, especially the people studied with. I had an amazing experience as part of the BS:Visualization program. There were some amazing people and I am happy to say that we all seem to keep in touch.

photo credit
Photograph ©Erin Nicole Johnson for the Minneapolis College of Art and Design

Monday, 1 December 2008

Monday Afternoon


I went to the downtown St. Paul public library yesterday. I love being at the library. For me it’s a great place to get inspired. After being dropped off I decided that I would need a little snack before getting going. I walked over to Mickey’s Diner. I love that place. I didn’t get a chance to take Matthew there the last time he was here. Next time. I had a wonderful grilled cheese with crispy bacon and tomato and a bowl of chilli. I just like being in there sitting at the counter. I love hearing all the thick Minnesotan accents. It was just a cozy place to be. They keep your coffee cup full, what more could you ask for.

I went back to the library and spent most of the day in the business library. I like to go through the trade magazines. I flick through the magazines and make lists of things to look up. Of course my main goal is finding a job, so I was having a look through Brand Week, Creativity, Exhibitions, Ad Age. I love how there is a trade publication for everything under the sun. It was good and I got some ideas. So I have things to look up and I am feeling a bit more optimistic.

I was also having a look through some career books. After this week being home I am going to have let go of my frustration and just get on with it. For me the hardest part is starting over. Having to cold call, setting up informational interviews and endless networking. All things I generally like, well except the cold calling. I just did all those things for four years. It was something that I was really proud of. I started building my network day one while at MCAD. I conducted almost 75 informational interviews. I had seven internships, belonged to professional organizations. I knew people.

I am afraid to contact people in London and ask for informational interviews. I ask myself why I would be afraid. I certainly wasn’t afraid to do it in Minneapolis. I think I perceive things to be so cut throat that people wouldn’t want to give me the time of day. I guess it’s also because I feel like I don’t know the rules. Should I phone someone up directly, or send an email. I just have to remember that I am going to have to face rejection. I am finding myself facing a lot of it lately and getting used to it. I am just going to have to get over it and I know that I will.

I am going to allow myself to kick and fuss for the time being and then once I get back to London I am going to accept that I have to start over and quit moaning about it. It feels like I’ve run a 30 mile race and I have come in first place except that they’re not going to give me my medal. Instead I have to run it again….

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Saturday Morning


I am officially on a mini vacation and have stopped my job hunt. It feels great. I came back to Minnesota for Thanksgiving and a wedding. It is so nice to be home and to see people that I have missed so much. Yesterday I had my first egg nog coffee of the year. The Fa La Latte at Caribou. I haven't seen these egg nog drinks in London, so I was very happy to have one. It feels like Christmas here. The houses have Christmas lights up and it just has that holiday feeling. I can't wait to put up a tree when I get back with Matthew.

I got a rejection letter the other day from M&C Saatchi. That was pretty disappointing, but what can you do. No use getting all worked up about it. I felt like I gave a great interview, so I am curious about why I wasn't invited back for the second round. There could be a hundred different reasons that have nothing to do with me so I am going to let it go. Nick, who I met before the interview at Starbucks, made it through. I am happy for him, he is a nice guy. I wish him the best. There is something for me out there. I just have to keep looking. 

It's nice to take a break from it all. I am going to start back up again on Monday, but for the time being I am just going to enjoy some time off. 

Monday, 24 November 2008

Monday Morning


I am hoping to hear some good news this week. Hopefully sooner than later. I am going to Minneapolis for a visit on Wednesday and if I have made it through to the second MC Saatchi interview than I am going to have to change my return ticket. That's not too big of a problem, it's just the waiting. There are a few places that I haven't heard back from. They claim that they will tell you a yes or a no, but I can understand where they are coming from. They've got tons of applications to go through and then they've got to contact people. I am going to chase up AMV today. Some people are posting that they are hearing back so I just want to make sure. You never know.

The advertising graduated scheme application frenzy has died down for me. I was really caught up in it a few weeks ago. Like everyone I suppose. Constantly checking the discussion boards to see if anyone else had heard anything. It can start to take over your life, if you let it. Especially when you are unemployed and have nothing but time on your hands to obsess about it. I feel like I definitely past the obsession point. It would be an amazing opportunity to take part in a graduate scheme, but it's not my only chance at getting in. It also doesn't mean that I am not a talented person. We all like to win and have someone think that we are amazing, but it's more important to believe in yourself.

I thought I gave a great interview. I have to remember that I don't know what they are looking for. They might want really young graduates who they can mold into their image or they could want people with a certain look. Who knows. It doesn't mean that I am not good enough. I was chatting with one person via Facebook emails and they were really gutted that they weren't getting any interviews. They thought it must have been because they were rubbish. It's simply not true. You just have to keep going and never give up. I think I am finally getting used to how competitive it is here.

I have been having a hard time adjusting to living in London. I got completely overwhelmed with my job search and started to feel really awful. While it's very competitive here there are also so many opportunities. I started to feel like I didn't know how to go about finding a job. Which of course if silly, because I knew how to get a job in Minneapolis, but here I started to loose my confidence. That in and of itself was a terrible feeling. I usually always feel confident. I was and am worried about my CV and how it comes across here. Is it strongly written? Those kind of things. Knowing where to even find jobs. A lot of time people use recruitment agencies. There are a lot of them here. All these things start to pile up.

Also not having any friends here makes it hard. At least in Minneapolis I could meet up with some friends at the Bryant Lake Bowl after a long day of job hunting. The loss of familiar surroundings during a transitional time, from college to work, is tough. Last week I spent all day working on applications and before I knew it it was 4 p.m. and I hadn't eaten lunch. I went for a walk to the store and I was so overwhelmed by a feeling of homesickness. I wished I was going down to the French Meadow for a bowl of tomato soup. That's what I was really craving. Instead I was walking down to the corner store. It was sad. We all have those favorite places or things that we do when we are working and need to take a break. 

 I like a change of location, to go some where and get a special coffee or a treat. I don't have those kind of places or treats here yet. I don't doubt that I will, but I miss that soup and all my friends. I miss seeing places that have special meaning for me. I miss driving by a park and being able to say to the other person in the car, hey I once hit a home run there when I was 13.

I was feeling bad enough to go and see a life coach this past Saturday. I was just starting to hate the way I was feeling and needed to go and talk to someone other than Matthew or Wayland. Don't get me wrong. They are both extremely supportive, but I needed to talk to someone who wasn't so close. It was extremely helpful. My coach told me that all the feelings I was having were extremely normal for people who come to London. It was good to hear that. At some level I felt bad for not being happy that I have the chance to live in such an amazing city. The coach told me that London is a very transient city and that at the end of the day to remember that it will be a numbers game. I am going to have keep trying until something sticks. With looking for jobs and with finding friends. I am hanging in there and I've got a few things up my sleeve.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Saatchi Interview

I had my interview yesterday and I was very happy with how it turned out. I felt more excited about it than nervous, which was nice. I found out by letter last Thursday that I was invited for a first round interview. I heard that there were around 1000 people who applied and that they did a first pass of around 100. They then do a second interview with 25 and narrow that down to a lucky 5. 

I enjoyed getting ready for the interview and doing the research online. I found out there is so much that I don't know about Advertising as a business. There is a lot to learn, which is exciting. I went down to the London College of Communication career center on Monday to have a look through all their industry magazines. I thought it would be a good idea to bring something to the interview to make something that might help me to stand out and be remembered. I decided to make a little set of interview flash cards to help me remember my stuff. It turned out to be useful to help me remember what accounts they are working on and campaigns that I liked. I am glad that I did, I found it to be useful and fun.

The interview was yesterday at 3 p.m. I decided to get down there early at about 1 p.m. I wanted to first make sure that I could find the place since I wasn't able to fit in a dry run. I did get a bit lost so I am glad I left when I did. My plan was to find the place and then head to a Starbucks for a nice gingerbread latte and prepare. Luckily there was one right on the corner and I could see people coming and going from the office. I felt a bit like a spy. It helped to a get a sense of the place. There were also other graduates coming into the Starbucks holding their acceptance letters. I struck up a conversation with a guy called Nick who was on at 2 p.m. It was nice to have a chat and get to know who else is applying for the schemes. Nick was a nice guy. 

So after waiting a few hours and do my last bits of preparation I decided it was time to go in and wait in the lobby. There were four of us in total waiting. We all introduced ourselves and a chat. Who applied for what and had anyone heard back from any of the other schemes. Then it was time to begin. I was interviewed with another girl called Michele. Anna and Alex came up to us in the lobby, they were going to be interviewing and then we were whisked away. The interview was split up into two parts. For the first part I talked with Anna and she just asked me about why I was in London and what I liked about it. She asked some questions about some of the experience that I put down on my CV. It was a nice friendly chat and I liked her a lot. Then Alex came in to talk to me more about the role of an account manager. He was a bit more serious than Anna and I am not sure how well I came across to him. He asked me about my favorite ads of all time and ads that I didn't like. He was harder to read, but was it was all right.

Then they interviewed us together. We looked at print ads and basically they just wanted to hear our opinions. It was a bit daunting because you wanted to have your view, but yet you couldn't help wonder what they were thinking. After looking at the adverts we were then given some ads and had to pitch them to the other person. We had two minutes to look over the ads and then we had one minute to pitch. It wasn't too bad. I tried to make it as lively as possible. I wasn't sure what they were expecting and I have never pitched before, so we shall see. Overall I had fun and it was a cool experience. I should be hearing back within the next few days. 


Monday, 17 November 2008

Account Management


Here is a great description of the job I am going to have!


Account Management, or Client Services, is the focal role in the development of an advertising campaign. You know your client. You know their objectives. You know how to harness your own and your agency's energy and resources in pursuit of those objectives. And you know the buck stops with you!

Account Management is complex, demanding, challenging. And very rewarding.

You are in overall charge of the relationship with your client. On their behalf, you manage the whole advertising process - ensuring, too, that your agency's objectives and values are faithfully represented and the account profitably safeguarded. In short, you are the spokesperson and mediator working for both sides - a sort of double agent.

In account management, there are normally several layers. You will start off as a graduate trainee and spend your first few months learning about the industry you have joined. After your induction period, the next stage is to become an account executive. You will be expected to acquire marketing skills (understanding the role of advertising, how to relate to marketing objectives, gathering brand information, analysing competitive activity) as well as advertising skills (the difference between marketing and advertising, how advertising is developed, what is involved in production, research techniques, the importance of the creative brief).

You will also start to learn organisational skills (day to day admin, team coordination, timing plans) and communication skills (contact reports recording the outcome of a client meeting, ensuring all of the team are kept informed, status reports). And, perhaps most importantly, you will begin to develop the vital people management skills that are the bedrock of our industry (how to gain commitment, how to generate respect, how to instil trust, how to negotiate effectively) — all these are essential to effective team work, both within the agency and with clients/suppliers.

Once you have established yourself, the next stage is to become an account manager. The marketing skills you will need to develop are, for example, strategic understanding of your client’s business needs and objectives, the ability to understand and develop marketing strategies to achieve those objectives and a broad knowledge of strategies used in other markets.

You will need to expand your advertising skills to include media/creative brief writing, ability to judge creative work in relation to your brief, job supervision and active participation in research presentations. You should also have an up to date understanding of new technologies and consequent opportunities. Your people management skills will develop to enable you to train and develop people who report to you, to manage upwards as well as downwards, to motivate members of the agency team, to absorb anxieties and resolve conflict.

Your presentation and communication skills will be developed through client presentations, selling creative and media ideas, learning to listen actively to read sensitive situations accurately, preparation of strategy papers etc. Negotiation Skills will be developed through budget presentation, liaison over creative issues between client and creative and motivating the team to keep to deadlines. And Financial Management Skills will become important as you take on responsibility of budgets, billing, profitability and financial forecasting on your account.

This career ladder will take you through Account Director, Board Account Director and possibly Client Services Director (ie the director with overall responsibility for the Account Management department). As you progress, as well as fine-tuning the core skills, Leadership Skills will become increasingly important as you take on the direction rather than just the management of accounts and as you accumulate direct reports within account management that will require your input in their career development through delegation, coaching, feedback and appraisals.

You will also be responsible for maintaining and developing the agency’s relationship with the client in such a way that effective advertising is produced which is profitable for both client and agency. You will acquire a good understanding of Business Issues to enable you to participate actively with senior client management debate, to be successful at the all important New Business pitch — the lifeblood of agencies, and to contribute to the management of the agency.

All of these skills will be developed through a mixture of training, coaching and practice throughout your career.

Key characteristics of an excellent account person are integrity, commitment, articulateness, numeracy, team motivator, charm — and a sense of fun!

Recruiters will be looking for a good degree (but not a particular subject — in fact, diversity is key to good agency teams) and demonstration of personality/team leadership.

Average starting salaries are c.£16,000 and can rise to £300,000, if you reach executive management level.

Account Management is the most usual route to the top.

*post curtesy of Musa Tariq (Facebook)
Veer image

Monday Night


Just a quick one, since I am preparing for an interview on Wednesday. I had a no back from Oglivy and JWT, but a yes from M&CSaatchi. I am looking forward to the interview, it should be interesting considering I have no idea what to expect. Will an interview in London be different than one in Minneapolis. I tell you one thing, I definitely wasn't prepared for how competitive it is out here. I have been really doing some soul searching about what it is I want to do for a career.

To think, if I had never come to study abroad I would never be here now and I would have never had any idea about these graduate schemes. I feel like there is lot that I am going to learn from being here, I've already learned a lot about advertising from just living in London. This is certainly a challenge, but that's a good thing.

photo credit

Friday, 14 November 2008

Friday Afternoon


It feels like it's been a long week. Things have been ok. Still working on my graduate applications. Checking the post and the old inbox hoping to hear that I've been selected for an interview. I am thinking that I am going to have to come up with some sort of interim strategy for what the heck I am going to do with my time. These schemes don't start until next year, so if I do get accepted I've got some time on my hands before I start. I think if that were to happen I would get a job, take a class or two, do some volunteering. I could definitely make good use of that time. That's if I get accepted onto a scheme. If I don't then it's back to looking for a job.

I applied at a shop this past Monday and I haven't heard back from them either, which is a tiny bit depressing. Well I am going to get back to my applications. I wish I was working at the Spyhouse today in Minneapolis.

TBWA

I sat down this morning ready to put the finishing touches on my application for TBWA and then  realized that the deadline was yesterday and not today. That hurts...I was really looking forward to that one. I went to their open day last Friday and I had a good feeling about it. I met some very nice people and learned a bit, so that was good. 

I am generally a very organized person, I am just kicking myself that I let it slip. Well there is no point in beating my self about it, the deadline has come and gone. Take a look at their graduate scheme pdf it has a lot of good information in it.

BBH


I don't think I ever finished this application. I was having trouble and I think I didn't get around to finishing. That's a bummer. 

D&AD "How the hell did that that get in?"


Last night I went to hear a talk about pieces that made it into the 2008 D&AD annual. It was over at the Slaughtered Lamb. The format was a former judge would go up and talk about some work that made it into the annual and give a little behind the scenes info. Then they spoke about a piece of work that they would like to see make into the 2009 annual. Three judges would get up and speak and then there would be a break and then the next set.

I like to go to these kind of things because I am interested in design and I like to just sit back and observe. It's good to go and listen to how people talk about design. You get new ideas. There were free drinks. One can learn a lot by just being a fly on the wall. It got pretty heated at moments. After the judges were done speaking they opened it up to questions. There were some passionate designers who had something to say. They usually do.

I was up in Manchester last year and had the chance to see the D&AD: The Best Advertising & Design in the World at the Urbis center. It was a great show and the Urbis is a cool place, check it out if you find yourself in Manchester.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

My favorite ad of all time

I love this commercial. It was created by Arnold Worldwide.

BMB

I never did end up applying for this graduate scheme for the simple reason I had no idea what it was. I also have never heard of them before. I just think that it's only fair to know what you signing on for. According to their website they are an independent advertising and PR agency in London offering campaigns across a broad range of media. Good to know.

I downloaded the application form off the website thinking that all the information might be there, but it wasn't. I went to the Facebook group Advertising Applicants 2009 and posted under the BMB topic to find out if I was missing something. I thought that I just couldn't find the information, which would have been annoying.

No one else knew what was going on so I decided that I phone them up and ask them what was up. I just told them that I wanted to apply for the scheme and I was wondering where I might find some more information about. The man directed me to the website and told me there was a little link in the bottom left hand side. He said to click on it and it would download a form with information. I told him that I had done that but all it was the application. He then asked me what I wanted to know. I told him I wanted to know when it started, what I would be doing, those kind of important details.


The only information I could get was that they were looking for people who they could bring on for long term and that I should go ahead and apply and then if I was accepted I would find out all I needed to know. He wasn't rude, just not very forthcoming.

I decided to say screw it. I am very determined to become an account planner, but I am not going to waste my time on an agency that can't be bothered to provide some simple information.

Check out what Adgrad Blogger, Sam has to say about, it is pretty interesting.... enjoy.


Big Fat Creative Rut


The one interesting thing that has come from filling out all these applications is that it really gives you a chance to do some personal reflection. I have been feeling like the most boring person in the world lately. My creative juices have run dry and I have just felt so uninteresting. I tend to be pretty hard on myself, but being in a rut is just no fun. It's awful. I get down on myself because I feel like I am not doing enough. I have to remind myself that I've had a crazy year and a lot of things to adjust to.

I came to London last October for a study abroad semester at the London College of Communication. As part of my major we are given the choice between studying abroad or doing an externship. An externship is a basically a semester long internship at a place of your choosing. Most people end up working at the place they do their externship so it's a really good transition from college to work. I wasn't interested in doing an externship. I had done 7 internships and since I was a mature student I knew all about what it was like to work for a living. So I decided that study abroad was the way to go. I found the program at LCC and decided to go for it.

Anyway I was having a think about why I was feeling so boring and decided that I would write down things that I've done in the past year, Oprah gratitude style to give myself some perspective. So here I go

A week in Dublin with Katy and Zoe
Classes at LCC
Met my future husband at the Ain't Nothing but the Blues Bar
Went to Brighton twice
Weekend trip to Amsterdam and Munich
Strange job interview
Decided to stay in London and finish MCAD degree online
Last MCAD semester
Moved in with Matthew
Train trip up to Cambridge
Country walks
Roast chicken party
East End craziness ( I like to crash parties)
Worked part time as a nanny
Taylor, Angie, Diane come to visit
My first Boxing Day
Fancy dress New Years
MCAD graduation, Matthew comes to Minnesota for the first time and we get engaged
I start worrying about getting a marriage Visa and doing way too much research
Birthday trip to Barcelona
Moving from Chiswick to Shepherds Bush
Trip to Venice
Engagement party at 400 year old pub
Planning our Vegas wedding
Going to Las Vegas to get married
Having to wait in Mpls for a month for Visa, hanging out with my friends
Coming back to London and start looking for a job
Watching Eastenders
+gigs I've gone to
the Editors
the Magnetic Fields
Iron and Wine
the Clientele
the Shins
Maximo Park
the Gulimots
Elbow
Kid Koala
gigs at the Comedy Store
Wicked
Brian Blessed

there are countless other things, including visiting tons of museums and walking around. Drinking pints, eating pie and mash. I am starting to feel better already. I think the hardest part is just not having any friends here. I've got a great husband and I like his family. I've got a decent flatmate, but I miss my friends. I am hoping that once I go to work I will make some.
In the meantime I am just going to keep at it and putting myself out there. I am not giving up!

photo credit- me
taken at the Camel, my favorite pub in the East End.

AMVBBDO

On all the applications they ask you to put down your A Levels and GSCE scores. I went to school in the States so I don't have any of those things to fill in. Since the AMVBBDO application was a friendly word document and not a rigid online form I decided to include the courses that I studied at college in leu of A Levels and GCSE scores that I didn't have. Why did I do this? Well I took some amazing classes and I think the BS Visualization curriculum is pretty unique. Here are the classes that I took during four wonderful years at MCAD.

  • Account Planning
  • Advertising Account Management
  • Advertising Design 1
  • Biological Systems
  • Colour Forecasting and Trends
  • Creative & Critical Thinking
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Cultural Institutions
  • Design Context
  • Experience Gestalt
  • Flash Workshop
  • Foundation 2-D
  • Foundation 3-D
  • Futures
  • Graphic Design 1
  • HTML
  • Internships-7
  • Introduction to Film
  • Inventions and Progress
  • Marketing Concepts & Analysis
  • Mashing Up the Internet
  • Persuasion & Negotiation
  • Presentation & Debate
  • Project Tracking
  • Product Design
  • Organizing Data Providing Information
  • Reading for Ideas
  • Screen Printing
  • Senior Project
  • Study Abroad Semester London
  • Typography
  • Understanding Contexts for Internet Communication
  • Visual Thinking
  • Visualizing Physics
  • Visualization Studio
In the application form I did put this into a nice neat table instead of long list. I could throw some code in here..maybe later. I enjoyed this application, the questions were straightforward and fun to answer. I talked about the Museum of Childhood Advert. Media channels that I couldn't live with out Print, Radio, Internet. A photo of something that makes me feel happy would have to be from my Las Vegas Elvis impersonator wedding. The business question was a bit of a stumper. To be honest I am not in the market to open my own business. Should I have gone with my gut and said I would love to just work for myself braiding hair on the beach in Mexico? Anything else we should know about you was answered by telling them I was briefly in a tap dance troupe in Minneapolis. The usual.

An interesting fact is that my Advertising Account Management class was taught by Glen Sherling former Senior Vice President - Director of Client Services of BBDO Minneapolis. The class was split up into two parts the first was with Glenn and we would have class at BBDO. That was really cool. For the second half we worked with Shawn Judge on presentation skills. Shawn Judge is an amazing speaker and storyteller. We worked with her for six weeks learning how to speak and give presentations.

I remember giving a speech in that class that went over like a lead balloon. The point of the presentation was to teach the audience something. I had just got done reading Dale Carnegie's
"How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" and was going to share his three step method for eliminating worry. We were also supposed to define what kind of audience we would ideally be presenting to. My audience was ideally an incoming freshman class.

I gave the speech in a very dramatic style, imagine an evangelical preacher on speed and that was what I was going for. I must point out that although we got to say who the ideal audience was, in reality we were giving the speech in front of five other students. Ultimately they were the audience, something I neglected to address. There was one guy in the class who was from Germany, who told me afterwards how much he hated my speech and that I should never do that again. I will admit that perhaps the theatrics didn't go over so well, it was like I said a group of five other students so I didn't really need the clip on microphone. Lessons learned, eh? I also decided to chalk up the fact the German foreign exchange student didn't like the speech because he had no cultural context for that style of speaking. To be fair he didn't really even know what salsa was.. I digress..

image credit-Pony/flickr

Ogilvy


I am thinking that because it's Thursday and I have heard nothing back from Ogilvy that it would be safe to say that I didn't get invited for an interview. I would be a liar if I were to pretend that I wasn't disappointed, but it might be a blessing in disguise. It was an amazing fellowship opportunity. I strongly recommend you take a look at the site, there is a lot of good information there for getting into advertising.

I wish everyone who did make it to the interview good luck. I was doing some research and came across a wiki that had some good information about what the interviews might be like. Take a peek there, it never hurts to be prepared. I am going to start getting my thoughts together for when I do go in for an interview.

I went down to visit the Ogilvy offices in Chicago two years ago while I was at MCAD. I rounded up a small group of amazing MCAD students, and we took a road trip down to Chicago to attend a advertising careers day put on by the Chicago chapter of American Advertising Federation. It was excellent day long conference, there were speakers and small break out sessions. Our professor Nancy Rice had gone to the trouble of setting up a few agency visits for us. We had the opportunity to go over to Ogilvy and have a tour and be able to ask some questions. It was really good.

I was also fortunate to hear Brian Collins speak about his work with the Dove campaign at MCAD. Brian was an inspiring speaker, he was very cool. After he was done with his lecture he asked if we had any questions. Finally a fellow student Laura Novak asked a question. Brian awarded her 1,000.00 dollars for being the first person to ask a question. I knew I should have asked, she beat me to it. In all fairness it was a good question. It was a good way to teach a lesson. I am sure all the students at the lecture will always remember that, I certainly do.


I was talking to a friend of mine and she asked me where I thought I went wrong, well I told her that I would post my answers here.

UK Families throw away 4 million tonnes of food a year, adding an average of £420 per year to a household's shopping bill. The government has approached your agency to put together a creative communications strategy to stop this. What would you do?

My first question is what is the government trying to achieve with this communications strategy. What is the problem they are trying to solve? I have to first ask why is it a problem for UK families to be wasting this amount of money on food. Is it a problem of landfill space and waste collection? Or is it the costs and effects that the food waste is having on the environment? Is the problem that because UK families are overspending and wasting food other areas of the economy are being negatively impacted? I would also have to consider the repercussions for creating a strategy that would eliminate £420 per household spending on food. Impacts on the food and farming industry would have to be taken into consideration. I would need to be able to define who is going to benefit from this strategy.

There could be many different directions once the problem has been defined. One example could be if it were an issue of over crowded landfill space and negative impacts on the environment my team could go the direction of creating a strategy that would encourage the concept of composting food waste. Messages could be crafted to encourage people to use their food waste to fertilize vegetable gardens. Different messages would need to be created if the direction was that people needed to save money.

In reflection I think I didn't answer this question in the way they would of liked. Perhaps they just wanted a straight up strategy and I certainly didn't give it to them. I guess I think too much and want to ask too many questions.

Tell me about yourself question.

I once found myself with a group of friends in a bar in Soho that was absolutely heaving. Being that it was Friday night it was at least five people deep at the bar. I was quickly getting the feeling that we might end up having to spend the evening together, sober. I shuddered.

After waiting for what seemed like ages our small group gave up hope and headed downstairs to see if we would have better luck there. We found the bar, but alas there was no one tending it. We also found a very desperate thirsty group of people surrounding it. Despite the lovely tiki d├ęcor the natives were getting restless.

I immediately felt a sense of duty. Something had to be done. Within in seconds I found myself behind the bar and naturally began serving the people. I was pulling pints and mixing cocktails. A twist of lime, make mine a double, shaken and stirred. It only lasted a few blissful moments before my boyfriend pulled me away. I guess that kind of thing isn’t too legal here in London.

As we made our way out of the bar and onto the street my friends immediately demanded to know why I hadn’t bothered to serve them a round. I simply replied that it wouldn’t have been fair to let them jump the queue.

Hi. My name is Rhea O’Connor and I like to get things done. I look for opportunities and then make things happen. Last fall I came to London to study Marketing and Advertising. I loved it here so much that I decided to stay and make it my new home. It also helped that I found the love of my life and we got married at an Elvis chapel this past August.

When I am not posing as a barmaid in Soho I enjoy learning new things, going to the library, collecting stamps, attending Pez conventions, running the London chapter of TechKaraoke, going to LikeMind gatherings and reading books.






Monday, 10 November 2008

Monday Night


I want to give everyone a big thank you for all the support. Thank you to everyone who has endured my endless questions. Thanks to Will who answered my email so quickly and shared some good advice, I look forward to meeting you. Please check out his blog

I know that everyone is busy and I do respect your time. It means a lot to me when you return my emails and give advice. I will pass on the good will to others who need it. I don't take it for granted. Thanks to my friends and family who believe in me. Special thanks to my husband, he's been incredibly supportive and understanding. 

It's hard to start over in a new place and people's kindness is precious.
Cheers to you all.

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Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sunday Night


It was a long week and it had its ups and downs. I was working on some more applications and I feel pretty good about it. You hear people giving the advice that you just need to be yourself and it's really true. I write all these essays and I could drive myself crazy worrying about whether or not I am giving these people what they want. At the end of the day if you just be yourself than you can't go wrong. 

I had two more rejections from jobs that I applied for. It always stings a bit, but I don't take it personally. The first reaction is usually disappointment, but you have to get over it. I am just so eager to go to work. I graduated back in May and it wasn't until I came back to London in October that I could legally work. To be fair I haven't even been back a month yet, but I just want to start my career so badly. It shouldn't be long now. 

I went to an open day at TBWA on Friday. I didn't book my space in time and decided just to show the day of. It was fine. Generally I would have no problem doing that in Minneapolis, but sometimes these things are pretty strict. If you aren't on the list then you aren't going in. It was a really good open day. I got there and people were just milling about in the reception area looking at the work and getting to know people. The first bit was set up so we could have a chat with people who worked there and ask questions. I had the opportunity to talk to a few people before I went up to the presentation. It was good presentation, the guy leading it did a really good job. I really felt for him it was a tough crowd. One guy in the audience was falling asleep and some people looked down right hostile.

 He talked about the agency and showed us some of the campaigns and explained their disruption philosophy. He then talked about what made a good account person and then opened it up to questions. One guy's hand immediately shot up in the air. He wanted to know what TBWA stood for. Can you believe that someone would ask that question? You show up to an open day at an advertising agency and you don't even bother to know what their name stands for? Or even if you didn't know why on earth would you ask that question? I felt so sorry for him, he looked so stupid. 

It was a good day and it was good for me to get out there and meet some people, size up the competition. I had a chat with one of the account guys who had applied for the graduate scheme and didn't make it. He ended up doing a work experience and got hired on that way. I have heard that doing work experience can be a very good way to get into an agency. I don't know how I feel about it. It makes perfect sense. I did a lot of work experience in the US, over four years I had 7 internships, plus all the class projects. I did over 50 information interviews. On one hand I just want to go to work, I don't want to do anymore internships. Of course I will do whatever it takes. I don't want to come across that I am above doing work experience, it's not that at all. I would think that all that experience would account for something.  

I just wish I had more people here to get advice from. I think I might just try emailing a few people that I know through Facebook and asking for some feedback. I also sent an email to a woman at MediaCom last week and hadn't heard anything back yet, I will contact her tomorrow. This week coming up there are a few more applications to have a crack at and I am going to have to come up with a new strategy. The good thing is I know what it is I want to do, I just have to find the right agency. 

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Sunday Morning


There is one common question on most of the advertising graduate scheme application forms. They ask you about the best communications idea you've ever seen. It's hard to answer you know, the best. An example certainly comes to mind. I don't know if it's the best, but it comes to mind which is a good thing for an ad. A while back I think it was in July or early August the soda Lilt ran a bunch of ads on the telly. There were just short spots featuring a parrot and some reggae music. The parrot is apparently mixing it up in a dj style-ee.  They would show a bunch of them in a short span of time. I have to admit that parrot really grew on me. He was a likeable character and he had some moves. I was hooked. Enough so that I did go out and buy a can of Lilt. I had never heard of it before and I generally like citrus flavored pop. I have been drinking it ever since. For what ever reason that advert stays with me, I just mentioned it the other day. It usually happens when I am walking down the street with my husband and I want to stop for a drink. I usually say, Let's stop and have a bit of Lilt, all done in the West Indian parrot accent. It never fails to amuse me, my husband not so much. Advertising credit goes to Mother for coming up with that one. 

I find myself thinking do we have those sort of adverts in the US? The ones that are super short and that play frequently. The first thing that pops into my mind are the car adverts that to me are so stupid. They play at every commercial break and they are usually really short. They generally feature a car just driving off road for a few seconds followed by a man announcing the name of the car. I always thought they were really stupid, unoriginal and boring. On the other hand they might really resonate with its target audience, mainly manly men I would guess. I would never be interested in buying a Chevy truck, even if they had that Lilt parrot in the commercial. It's just interesting to think about. I must say that I do like the advertising in UK better than most American advertising. 

Here are some links if anyone is interested in Lilt.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Tuesday Night

Don’t be jealous of others’ success. Jealousy and envy are the enemy of genuine creativity. Wish others well and hope to join them someday.

Failure is part of it. You will be rejected dozens and dozens of times. The best way to prepare for it is to have something else in the works by the time the rejection letter arrives. Invest your hope in the next project. Learning to cope with rejection is a good trait to develop.

http://www.pobronson.com/index_advice_to_writers.htm

I just read that bit a few moments ago. It's from
Po Bronson's website

I have been struggling about whether or not to write about how I've been feeling the past few days. I asked myself should I keep this blog a positive documentation and leave out the unpleasant bits? Or should I open up and be honest? I think the thing I struggle with is feeling negative at all. Should I just strive to appear positive for the sake of having a good attitude?

I am a positive person and most people would say that I have a positive attitude. It's just one of those things I struggle with. Since I've decided to be honest I'll give the update.
I have been feeling pretty down in the dumps lately and pretty down on myself. The process of looking for jobs in London is stressful. It is exciting, but it's hard work. I spent my four years at MCAD making contacts and getting to know people. I spent time getting to know different agency's. I felt confident that after graduation I would have a job. I knew where to look and who to ask. Here in London I feel lost. There is so much out there and so much research to do be done. Let alone filling out endless applications and writing and rewriting and then rewriting your CV. 
I think I will take a break and start fresh in the morning.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Sunday Night


I have been thinking about one of the questions on of of the advertising applications. The question asks you something like what do you consider to be the best piece of advertising you've ever seen, or something like that. I have been thinking about what my answer is going to be, what do I consider to be great advertising. 

As boring as it may seem, I really like advertising that accomplishes what it sets out to do. If the goal of the campaign is to drive sales then I hope it achieves that. If it's just to raise brand awareness and be cool and different, then well done. 

For the first few months in London, I needed advertising. I would look at ads and decifer that Waitrose was nicer than Tesco. I would see ads in magazines or flyers for clubs and have to rely on visual clues. This also led me to start thinking about design and how quickly I want to make decisions based on how something looks. 

One example. I got engaged to a lovely bloke back in May. We decide to have an engagement party to celebrate with the family who wouldn't be able to make it over to America for the wedding. I wanted to have a wedding cake at the party. After looking at a few different wedding websites to get some ideas I decided that I would really like to have cupcakes. I am sure you've seen it, you have tiers of cupcakes and it looks so cute. Anyway, I started to go through all these websites looking for bakeries in London. I didn't really know anyone to ask so I was depending on what I could find on blogs and so forth. Long story short I came across a bakery over in Primrose Hill. The minute I clicked on the website I knew I had found what I was looking for. 

The site wasn't amazing, but it had enough visuals to sell me on their bakery. I loved the design of the site, it spoke to me. I set up an appointment and went to the shop. I loved the shop, it was lovely and exactly what I had hoped it would be like. I sat down with the woman and made a £200 order. I made this order without even tasting the cakes! I was in love with the design of the store and assumed that the cakes would have to be good. Before I left I told the woman that I thought it might be a good idea to sample the cakes, just in case. It turned out that they taste as good as they look.

I realize that I didn't ever come back to my initial thought about what I considered to be good advertising. I will pop that into a new post.
cheers



Friday, 31 October 2008

Friday Morning

I am up bright and early. Today is the deadline cut off for the Ogilvy application . The actual deadline was last Friday, but due to a technical error a huge of amount of applications were lost. Like I said before it's fair. I imagined how I would feel if it were me and my application didn't make it through, but still.... I mean I had mine in on Wednesday. I asked someone via Twitter how long it might be before I heard a response. They told me sometimes 24 hours. Now that would be amazing. A few of the others tell you that you'll be waiting for six weeks. That's a lot of sleepless nights. 

As I have mentioned I have been filling out a lot of online applications and something  that is a bother is the fact that I didn't do any A Levels or GCSE's. I went to high school in Minnesota and somehow they deemed me worthy of graduation. It's a very different process in England. You take classes - wait I am going to actually find out what GCSE stands for, I throw the term around but have no clue what it means, hang on- 
GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education, and you take classes when you are 14-16 and then at the end you are tested and receive a grade. From there you take your A levels and those are your sort of precollege classes. Students are also tested and those scores determine your life in England from what I understand. Low GCSE and A levels scores are a one way ticket to nowhere, do well and you just might make it. 

Anyway, they ask for these scores on most of the online applications. I usually am able to enter in that I was educated in the US. A few recently won't allow for it and want you to enter scores. Sometimes I will enter the names of the classes that I took at MCAD. The Visualization program classes are really cool. For one application I listed them  out and they looked pretty impressive all typed out. Those were good times. 

So today is the deadline and as I mentioned before that the Ogilvy fellowship is what I have my sights on. Of course if your application is selected then you get to come in for an interview. I generally like interviews. I like meeting new people. I have only had one interview here in London. That one wasn't so good. It was when I was studying at the London College of Communication. My flatmate had a friend here and she was working at an online marketing company. They were looking for someone to manage their online campaigns and I was desperately wanting to stay in London. I thought it was a perfect solution. There were two small problems, the first being that the small company thought I was legal to work in London and second it wasn't exactly the kind of job that I was interested in. 

I had convinced myself that although it wasn't the kind of job that I would ever pursue maybe I it was the opportunity I had been waiting for. What can I say, I am a positive person. Sometimes to the point of foolishness. So the interview was all lined up and then it dawned on me that I had nothing to  at all to wear . I had only brought a very small backpack with me for two months and I didn't pack anything professional looking. One would think, no big deal just go out and buy something. Yeah, sure if London wasn't so expensive. Did I really want that cheap skirt? Oh come on it's only like $50.00. I ended up at H&M and I bought a simple black skirt. ($40.00)

I'd pair it with a nice worn through tank top and throw a trench coat over and pray that I didn't need to take it off. The day of the interview I am getting ready and I realize that I somehow grabbed the skirt in the wrong size. Now I pause to myself, because I wonder should I tell you that I only had myself to blame? Ok. When I buy something I usually put back the item that I tried on and buy a fresh garment that looks like it hasn't been tried on. Maybe a bit weird. 
I didn't bother to look and see that the skirt I was taking was the right size. Of course it wasn't the right size or even the same style of skirt. I was a bit surprised when I was having trouble getting it on over my hips and that it had a little flounce at the back that didn't seem familiar. I was even more surprised when I could finally manage to get it on, although not zipped. Not a big deal, I had the trench coat. The problem was that I couldn't walk very fast nor could I sit down. Maybe the coffee shop where the interview was going to be would be crowded and all the tables would be taken. I would then suggest that we just casually lean against the wall and have the interview there. 

I was coming up with this ingenious plan while I was shuffling down to the tube. It was a struggle to get from the platform onto the tube, the skirt wasn't cooperating at all. I hopped on and was on my way.

I met the guy outside the coffee shop and I know immediately that I won't get the job. He was young and had a velvet sport coat. I just had a bad feeling. I will give myself credit for sliding onto my chair without looking too stupid. I wish I could say that I didn't get the job because I wasn't qualified or that it was obvious that I could care less about the job. I think real reason was that he thought that I was boring. I hadn't been to one of the clubs that he mentioned. The majority of the interview was spent by him telling me about his amazing social life. It was a young and crazy crowd at the office and they worked hard, but partied harder. He also was a philosophy major who ended up in online marketing, I guess I didn't act impressed enough. There was also concerns that I was 29. I loved the blatant questioning about why I was so old and still going to university. He also asked me about where I lived and if I had people to support me in my life. I wasn't sure what kind of answer he was looking for. After a few minutes of silence he said " Do you have a boyfriend?" Oh, the look on his face when I told him I did. 

I didn't get the job, but that's ok. As a mature person, I am now 30. I realize that you have to be strategic with where you want to work. Don't just take any job offer that comes your way. That's my bit of advice for the day.

I still haven't heard back from Starbucks regrading the Account Executive job. I called again and left a message with someone. My biggest fear is that I am not leaving the right phone number. I have finally learned my mobile number and I've had it since February. What can I say? It's a long number. 


Thursday, 30 October 2008

Thursday

The other night I went out with Matthew and his work mates. We went a comedy gig at place called the Ginglik, it's a premiere nightspot located in an old Victorian toilet beneath Shepherd's Bush green. I was talking to a few people about my job search and they had plenty of stories to share. 

My favorites were the ones where they were looking for six months to find a job. Six months....big old sigh from me. I was thinking about it today, there is no reason that I shouldn't be able to get an awesome job. Coming from that cutting edge program at MCAD. 

Yesterday I went to work on my application to AMV BBDO at Whole Foods. I have found that if I don't get out I tend to go a bit stir crazy. It was a nice change of scenery and I managed to get a bit of work done. It's good to get out there and remind yourself that life is still going on even though you are out of work and don't have any money. You know it's not really the money. It's working on cool stuff, that's what I miss. I was having a moment the other day and I just said out loud to myself, I want to work so bad. I am hoping that I can use that as a unique selling point. Look out future employers, I am dying to work. I'll be there 12 hours a day. Happy to work and be creative. 

I asked a few of my friends if they would take a look at my CV and I haven't heard from anyone yet.... I wonder if that's because it is so awesome that nothing needs to be changed. Let's hope so. I also sent off a reply to the lady at MediaCom with my revised CV. Hopefully she will be able to look at it. Funny enough my flatmate worked there, his last day is this Friday. I thought about using him as a reference, but it might be dodgy. He's a great guy, but well... you get my drift.


Today, I am going to finish my application for AMV BBDO and start the next one. My dream is to get the Ogilvy fellowship. Now that would be more like it.

cheers.
 
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