Ashley Johns (center) with the MTP group
Ashley Johns is an assistant account executive at SaatchiNY who recently completed the Saatchi & Saatchi Management Training Program (MTP). MTP is renowned across the Saatchi & Saatchi network as being one of the most difficult and intensive training programs in the advertising world. Knowing this, we asked Ashley to provide us with an insider’s look at the ins-and-outs of MTP. The below is her third and final post, looking back at lessons learned from the program as a whole.
On what we learned
As my final debrief from the Management Training Program, I’ve asked my fellow (now) ex-MTPers to share their lessons learned from the experience. Below are some of the answers I got from the group, followed by a breakdown of the six most important lessons we took away from the program. Enjoy our answers!
This is a Circus Folks!
The first response I got from nearly everyone who went through the program was that at the beginning, we had no idea what we were in for. Since this is the Management Training Program, we all came from an account management desk. We understand our role in conceiving, presenting, and managing an idea from paper to screen. But learning and experiencing research, strategic planning, creative development, traffic, and media planning was, for most, a new venture.
Lesson # 1 – Advertising is larger than account management. Be understanding of other people’s schedules and needs and use this knowledge to plan ahead to ensure your project stays on schedule.
Write with Pictures
We all loved our day-long presentation skills seminar with Saatchi & Saatchi’s Worldwide Director of Creative Learning Neal Foard. We learned that it’s important to make every presentation conversational – people don’t want to be bored with paragraphs and graphs. They want to be told a story.
Even better than words are images. Our minds naturally respond to imagery. Images are translated into emotions. Emotions lead to action and results.
Lesson # 2 – 15 words or less to a slide. Period. If you break this rule, you better have a VERY good explanation for Neal (who we affectionately dubbed “the ninja”). Action and results lead to Lovemarks.
Strategic Planning is hard work.
Researching and picking out that nugget of truth called an insight is not easy work. Neither is re-wording and editing language to fit in a creative brief. Kudos to the awesome planners who do this everyday at Saatchi & Saatchi! Amy Martin’s (SVP Strategic Planning Director) strategic planning session was one of the most enjoyable seminars in the program and was definitely a guiding light as we stepped up to the planning plate.
Lesson # 3 – Allow time to step away from the creative brief and revisit with a fresh mind. Challenge each other (in a constructive way) to think outside the box.
Friends are Helpful
During our case study, everyone called in favors from creative teams, strategic planners, new business leaders, maintenance personnel and account directors, just to name a few. Having a positive/friendly work relationship is helpful when you need to call in those last minute requests. Plus, it feels great when you can return the favor yourself!
Without leveraging great work relationships, I’m sure we all would have had a harder time completing our presentation.
Lesson # 4 – Be a likeable and helpful person in the office. You never know when you’ll need help or be called upon to lend a hand to someone else in your career.
Be Great, +1
Manage up. In everything that we do, we have to assume no one knows the next steps. Going one step further to remind/update your team on the status of the project or team schedule helps keep the ball rolling, keeps everyone on the same page and makes life easier for everyone.
Lesson # 5 – Be brilliant in your current role. Be willing and ready to cover off on the role above you.
Hind Sight is 20/20
They say you don’t know what you don’t know. But if knew it then, I’d have put our presentation into a storybook format (shout out to the winners -Team #1)!
Ok, just kidding! But there is something to learn here….
Lesson # 6 – Put your presentation in a storybook. Deliver your presentation in a remarkable, unexpected way that relates back to your key message without distracting your audience.
This is it from MTP Class of 2010. And here’s a big “Good Luck” to next year’s kids! MTP will give countless amazing memories . . . and it will teach you even more.
One Team. One Dream.
Nothing is Impossible
Cover Image from Soul Amp