Time to face the music

Warning! This post is a reflection and may (will) contain a lot of mumbo jumbo.

This will probably sound like a stereotype on MACE blogs by now, but my posting activity has not flourished recently. Or not to the depth that it should’ve probably. And today the lesson was all about depth.

We had a great speaker in class today, named Tim Harries, who conducts qualitative research for Kingston University. While I won’t bore you with technical details, there is one thing I definitely took away from his lesson today: be curious. (Or like Steve Jobs liked to say “Stay hungry. Stay Foolish” – quoting Rashmi Bansal). Now that might seem a bit obvious to some, but it is actually harder and deeper than at first glance. The ability to be curious is something I have had to develop in my adolescence (it started there as a kid, but lost it on the way somewhere) to the point that I now ask as many questions as a 4 year old. That is why I’ll need to work on in my interviews for the dissertation. Because my dissertation really relies on those interviews, it relies on getting behind the statement “no, advertising is not dead” or “yes, advertising is dead” down to the reason why.

And maybe half way in the post would be a good (no, a late) time to explain my title. I’ve been avoiding writing for a long time. I’ve been avoiding putting my (rambled, scrambled) thoughts out there. And I’ve been purposely avoiding the ink that lets me write for advertising. Why? This is the time when I feel small. It’s the time I feel like I’m not perhaps making the best steps, both in my research as I will go to interview Big people and in my career as I push out all thoughts of what I should be doing in order to get one by hiding behind coursework. I just feel small. I guess finishing something you’re good at (being a nerd in my case) and something you love (studying – here comes the nerd again) makes you feel small. But it’s time to face the music.

How are coping (did you cope as a student) facing reality willingly or not?

An experience to remember

As I was informing you in my previous post, this past Friday I was given the opportunity to go to an assessment day for the Institute of Direct Marketing Summer School. Little did I know that it was going to be such a fun experience and one to learn a lot from irrespective of the outcome.

The day started on a really shy note as I turned up 40 minutes early in my attempt not to be late and beat the traffic, and early I was! Luckily, I was soon joined by a student from Oxford and another one from Cambridge. Talk about competition now! Although they were equally intimidated by me as I am a Master student in the field of Marketing, whereas they had more of an overall business background. Anyway, the day moved on and the room soon filled with students eager to show their best skills and be one of the elected few to benefit from a free week of studying in June in a recognised marketing summer school and potentially get a job from it.

The first task was a short introduction and a unique question to each participant ranging from who you would like to have dinner with to what household object would you mostly likely keep in case of an emergency (note to self: a knife seems like a strange answer, but it is actually very well thought through). Then we were soon divided into 3 groups of 5 and given the task of critically evaluating direct marketing materials from Virgin Media. I must confess, this  was the funnest part of the day, not because of the evaluation, but due to the people in my group I got to know and talk to.

The following activities included a one-to-one interview, a numerical and proof reading test, an initiative test and a 5 minute presentation on a topic of my choice.

For this, I chose a few interesting facts about tea and the audience seemed interested and enthusiastic to know about my passion which I deem a sign of success of my presentation skills.The initiative test put me on the spot of a unique situation within the work environment to assess how I would react and I must admit I missed out on a few points but it was also a fun exercise to imagine flying to Brazil for work.

All in all, I feel more prepared to face to tough world of interviewing now as so many students there were sharing. If I will be admitted to the summer school, I’m sure it will be an amazing experience from the little teaser which was the assessment day. If not, it has still been something I learned greatly from.

Being afraid of non-worthy ideas

Keeping in contact with friends is hard. Keeping in contact with unfamiliar people who take the time to read whatever your mind decides it’s worthy of launching in the universe is even harder. So for fear of exposing non-worthy ideas, you push back the time to write and you find yourself updating the blog after more than a month. Yes, I’m talking about myself. What can I say, I’m guilty as charged. But let’s mend that with some excuses/updates/events/non-worthy (?) ideas.

1. I’ve been working on the 42 business, creating more products and preparing for a new fair. And it seems that time does bring good ideas and experience as we appeared to have found our best painting technique yet. (Insert cheeky advertising: products are running out, so if you’ve thought of getting one, do it now! I’m not joking) The last fair we attended was special for us. We decided to go the extra mile in attracting children so we became a bit friendlier by painting our faces which brought us the Best Sales Team Award!

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2. I’ve been reading about the topic of my dissertation (which is an investigation of the current role of traditional above-the-line advertising in a much social-media hyped world) and it appears, to my great delight, that there are people out there who think just like me and there is empirical evidence supporting that advertising is not dead at all, but still supporting the branding and sales of a company to a significant greater extent than social media (more on this to follow, so stay tuned).

3. I’ve been accepted to a next stage in the interview process for the Institute of Direct Marketing Summer School (insert fireworks here yaaaay!) and I couldn’t be more nervous or excited at the thought of having a shot of getting in. Lessons are taught by practitioners and you get to work on a live marketing brief. For more information, visit their page.

4. Enjoyed Easter in no-Internet country Wales with beautiful scenery, mountain walks, cuddles and plenty of chocolate. Sorry, had to get that in.

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Hope to write again soon. Meanwhile, I’ll be pretty much like this.