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As a recent graduate of the Adcenter, I would say that my two years there were invaluable. I learned more than just advertising. The school is setup like an agency so you can take all the risks that you want without getting fired for messing up.

The Adcenter actually changed the curriculum around by getting rid of both the account planning and media strategy tracks to merge them into one - communications strategy. If you have two years to spare, I would recommend it. Opens up a lot of doors but if not, you can always learn on your own by studying and getting good mentors. Education is what you put into it. Some people go to school and don't get anything out of it.

"There are two certainties in life: one, don't do that, and two, you dropped 150 grand on an education you could have got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library."
- Good Will Hunting

I got my M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, with a concentration in Account Planning. Two things that Russell blogs about regularly with planners are that we are given the advantage of time to think (a rare thing in the world of communications) and being generalists (knowing something about everything).

Graduate school was incredible for these two attributes. You are forced from the working world and given a handful of classes with broad assignments .. time is your friend and opportunity. Furthermore, I was able to use the giant Anthropology, Psychology, Media, Film, Music, Art, Physics, etc. departments for my electives. I was surrounded by people from all over the world of different races, ethnic groups, ages, religions, interests, etc. The diversity of knowledge found in major university centers is outstanding and incomparable in my opinion.

However, later I took an advertising hiatus and served food at the luxury suites of Wrigley Field and wandered the streets and scenes of Chicago for a sabbatical ... and at those times I wish I had spent less time getting educated and more time "simply living in it."

As a miami ad school grad and a planner i would give different advice. The hardest thing about advertising is actually getting your foot in the door. Since you already have experience, its much easier to transfer laterally once you have a j o b. Adschools are good for those just starting to figure out what advertising means. They will teach you how to write a brief and work in an agency environment, things you probably already have learned in your current position. The schools are more or less portfolio factories that give you some contacts. In my view leaving your current position to attend one of these could be a step backwards. Try reading truth , lies and advertising (oldie but goodie) to get a birds eye about planning. AGain you get what you put in, as stated above, so if you are really driven, don't mind not having a paycheck and want to learn planning as by the definitions try it out. I would suggest using a real world environment to tutor your skills. I think talent speaks more than a 'degree' from one of those institutions. Just bc you are a AM doesnt mean you can't think or act like a planner. I had some great account people who get planning and made my job a lot easier.

I agree with Mike, because, well, I went to the Adcenter too. In addition to what he said - we got SO many opportunities to meet great people from the board meetings and speaker series, and now we all have contacts from all over the world because of it. The two years at Adcenter really are invaluable. As a planner, my way of thinking of things was refined and cleaned up - something that would have taken me a lot longer if I was trying to figure it out while having another job. Adcenter was - for us - our own "foot in the door."

Then again, while you're already AT an agency, it might be easier to get that first job. There is also something to be said from using those 2 years and be IN the business, the "real world". Not sure. It's definitely a personal choice, but I wouldn't have traded my experience for anything in the world.

I read Jeremy B's column in Campaign today. He was saying something about how much the industry is changing at the moment, how he thinks the industry has changed more from 2000 to 2005 than the industry changed from 1950 to 2000.

I think I agree - I've only worked in the industry for about three years. That time has seen the rise and rise of digital media. Terms which were only for the digital guys in sandals are now being talked about in all meeting rooms.

User generated content has reared its head. Two years ago the majority of people hadn't heard of blogs.

I could probably think of more but I really should go to bed...

Anyway, two years in grad school would be a waste. You need to be in the thick of it, helping to create the new - not just reading about it.


Sorry to be pedantic but that quote from Jeremy Bullmore was actually ...

"More has happened in the last 18 months than happened between 1955 and 2000."

@ those who have attended p-school, I would be interested to hear more about what the curriculum covers. That would help to judge the value for those starting out (beyond networking opportunities and a demonstration of commitment on your CV).

Hi was in the same position 18 months ago - 2 yrs an account management, strategic academic history, doing some bits of planning with senior planners, dying to make the leap to fully fledge planner. I chose to move agencies to do so.

My feeling it that there's no better training than getting your hands grubby and making mistakes - ie: make the move, learn as you go. You might need to be ready to step down the ranks a little while you get up to speed, but you'll rise back up pretty quickly.

Best move I've ever made.

Leaving your current position could be liberating.

I just finished the Boot Camp program and one thing that has popped up is that directors are looking for juniors with at least one year of planning experience. Maybe its seasonal, Fall is not a good time to get hired. Take it for what its worth, the school, as valuable and mind openining as it is, is not a guarantee. You may have to take an internship afterwards.

I had 15 months of planning under my belt before school and I feel like my skills have catapulted as a result of school.

Russell, are you in KC today?

thanks for the contributions everyone. great stuff.

and jarito, yes, I'm in KC. What a nice place.

to go to school or not go to school that is always a tough question.

Well its truly a personal choice...

if you go back to school and quit your job, then you will miss out on a lot of actual experience, which is better than simulated experience anyday of the week and twice on tuesday

however, getting a ground in the language and having teachers there to take you through planning is something worth doing also... having to make things up as you go to present to clients is always a tough aspect.

So here is my advice, is take the road less traveled, talk to your employer and try to find a program to where you can work and go to school at the same time. Im assuming since you already work in advertising you live in an area that will allow you to do this. Miami Ad School has programs in most major ad hubs now, and thier program is geared toward people that need their days free.

I spent 3 years as a Media Planner before I decided to go back to school at Miami Ad School. I didn't quit my job, but I still got a lot out of the program.

If you are already at an agency and under an "apprenticeship" you are in a good place. Don't waste your time on a fulltime formal education (like I did). I have learnt more through reading and working. Of course school was invaluable but also time consuming and their agenda is to help you create a pretty portfolio. My two cents: don't go back to school full time dive into a boot camp to get a feel/read/write and learn everyday and keep your job. As others have mentioned the hardest thing is to get your foot in the door .... I live it everyday and thats the negative of going to school ... I wish I had asked this question three years ago.

This sounds to me like...well...a possibility.

Let me start with an apology. Sorry!

If he's asking that question then this is probably the reality.

The pit of the ad world has swallowed this poor soul entirely. Two years of experience most likely translates into 6 months of intern/answering phones 6 months of we'll keep you on and throw a bone because we like (using) you , and then? Another year of bones; being strung along much?

Let me interject.

I don't mean to put anyone down. The post or the ad world...Life is buisness...Here's your answer


Not to school.

Every one here has the right idea. Real world experiance is the cats meow.


If this is actually what is happening in your life...Get a job that makes you happy!

If the "bone" is what makes you happy.

LIE (It's actually true, you did do work) & SELL YOURSELF!

The experience you can put on paper (resume) means more then anything, except your next interview! Start looking at other agencies in your area. Put the word out.

The word is; I'm here, I'm the best, get used to it!

Start selling yourself. And then...Who knows.

As usual I've got to this at the point when there's little useful to ad! For what it's worth though, I think you learn far more by doing something instead of talking aboutit. Getting in an agency is half the battle - if you've got some good mentors already, then who needs school?

All those VCU graduates, it's time to hear from a Miami Ad School grad. Miami Ad School's Account Planning Boot Camp is perfect for someone who wants to learn the craft from the best people in the business. Plus it doesn't drone on for two years like some other places. You come out confident and agency ready. Plus winter in Miami is never a bad thing.

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