Marlo Wilson graduated from the Master of Management (Marketing) in 2015. Now, she’s an experienced Account Manager, having spent time at creative agencies Leo Burnett and McCann. We spoke with Marlo to find out what it’s like working in advertising.
Marlo completed her undergraduate studies in Applied Science focusing on Psychology, but it was after completing her undergrad, while working at a bakery, that she decided to pursue the Master of Management (Marketing).
‘I wanted to be a psychologist. I was doing a bridging program, but I ended up taking some time off to really think about what I wanted to do. I was working at a bakery, selling cakes, and I ended up doing the posters and promotion for that. I started looking at different masters courses and ended up finding the Master of Management (Marketing), which looked really interesting,’ says Marlo. ‘I got to take a range of classes, and ultimately, it was a unit on advertising that won me over, because it has a lot to do with creativity and human behaviour, so there was still an element of my undergraduate studies in there.’
At the behest of her advertising lecturer, Marlo applied for the sought after graduate program at The Communications Council, the peak body for the advertising industry. It was this program that gave her a pathway into the industry.
‘The hardest part of getting a job in advertising is landing that first role. For me, it was at Leo Burnett. I spent four years working there, and now I’ve just recently moved to McCann.’
So, what does a day in the life of an account manager look like?
‘I do a lot of calls and taking briefs, a lot of reviewing creative strategy. A lot of the job is about communicating with people, figuring out what they need, and then making sure it can happen. There’s also a lot of bringing it back to human behaviour and consumer thinking, so I do get to draw on my psychological background for that.’
The Master of Management (Marketing) provides foundation training in a variety of business and management disciplines, with specialist training in marketing. This course is about the means by which organisations attract and retain customers, including aspects of marketing, strategy, customer behaviour, branding, and international marketing.
Marlo has some advice for graduates who want to break into the advertising industry.
‘One of the things I realised early on – in my time at the Communications Council – is that in advertising they’re looking for people who are willing to open up, who think differently and are willing to share that about themselves. I think this ends up being especially important when it comes to things like interviews, don’t just say what you think they want you to say, be willing to share something about yourself. When I interviewed for the grad program, I’d just done Tough Mudder. I’m five foot, tiny, but I’d just finished this crazy run, so I spoke about that, and it was a great icebreaker,’ she says. ‘I think the other thing that’s important to do while you’re at uni is to make the most of the networking opportunities that are offered. Connect with the other students, make friends, because those people will go on to be in the industry with you when you graduate.’