Are You Smarter Than An Ad Student?

So, there’s no degree needed to get into advertising. No certification. So what should advertising’s new professionals need to know?

Four-year colleges and universities do practically nothing to prepare students for a career in advertising, particularly as a creative. Most of the professors at these schools have little in the way of relevant, recent industry experience, nor do they provide much insight into how today’s ad agencies work on a day-to-day basis.
If you come out of college with a degree in advertising, odds are you could land a gig as a junior media planner or account coordinator. But no one, in any discipline of the ad business, receives any formal on-the-job training these days.
Despite the precarious economy, there are still plenty of people who want to go into advertising. There’s no stopping them, and there’s no required degree or certification. While that’s little comfort to the experienced people looking for any way to hold on to their jobs and advance their careers, the juniors need help.

It’s the subject of my new column on, which will on their home page tomorrow, but you can read now by clicking on the link.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. You ask, “What should advertising’s junior professionals know before they start their jobs?”
    The thing to know is advertising is a big business and while creative thinking is valued, it’s not valued as highly as one might think. Once you become adjusted to that fact, you can situate your career accordingly.

  2. Great post AdPulp I’m a 23-year-old copywriter a couple years out of school and find your advice very telling.
    I completely agree that a lot of young people trying to break in on the creative side are 98% unprepared for the role they’re being expected to fill. To many of my peers think it’s all just throwing paper airplanes around and being ironic waiting for inspiration to strike. To be fair, some get it. And we’re working.
    Schools simply aren’t preparing students for the jobs they will be expected to fill. Timesheet? Budget? Strategy?
    I’ve learned more about the advertising business, how the business works (or doesn’t), it’s big players, job expectations, how a good CW or AD would approach something, etc. using GOOGLE READER AND RSS FEEDs than any single textbook or class I took.
    So, thanks. I know schools are usually behind, but students attitudes need to change as well. And fast.

  3. standard oil building says:

    still looking for the sob driving in circles on lower wacker