Nothing compares to you, IDM Summer School!

It’s been a while since I last posted something, but I’m finding that the process of writing a dissertation drains the desire to write anything else. So this post might be a bit rusty, for which I apologise. Anyway, I’ve had a little ‘break’ this past week from the dissertation as I attended the Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) Summer School. So there I was, exactly a week ago, entering the same building after almost 2 months from the assessment day (read here if you wish) not knowing what to expect apart from what’s written on their website.

It was nice to recognise people from the assessment, classmates from uni, but little did I know…The first day was really exciting – we met Simon Hall who talked to us about Big Ideas and Little London – a live and alive football-pitch-size model of London aspiring to be one of the top 5 attractions of the British capital. I’ll definitely be there to see it! Then we had a live brief from Havas EHS on a marketing campaign for First Great Western which was loads of fun to work on during the week and then pitch on Friday. The day ended with a lovely dinner with new students and past graduates mingling, sharing impressions on the summer school and the career ahead.

Mingling at the Monday dinner

Mingling at the Monday dinner

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Starting the week by getting to know each other

The week continued with learning about customer experience from Reynolds Busby Lee and an agency visit to Rapp which was very insightful and cool to see that they make work fun. We also learned about Big Data with Matthew Bayfield from Ogilvy and SEO with Susan Hallam, an enthusiastic, straightforward and very approachable presenter. I personally think universities should take higher interest in these aspects as they are the hottest topics right now, and crucial things to understand if you’re pursuing a career in marketing.

Where a lot the magic happened

Where a lot of the magic happened

And perhaps the highlight of the week was the networking event at The Goring Hotel with the sponsors, practitioners and none other than THE Rory Sutherland. Now, we’ve all heard how important networking is, but no one does it like the IDM Summer School! Us students have recently been told to improve our networking skills, but what they don’t tell you is that it isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s difficult to walk to a recognised professional and say: Hi, I’m Anca, a recent graduate and I want to know more about what you do. I don’t have that much to offer you at the moment but I’d love for you to give me chance. That’s tough! But what I found fantastic at the Summer School is that no one really cared about your professional status, everyone was relaxed to chat, willing to help and genuinely interested in you as a person. Because if you make it to the Summer School, you’ve already reached a peak that says something about your knowledge.

Rory Sutherland

Rory Sutherland

Networking away

Networking away

I’d love to tell you more, but readers can only dedicate so much attention to one thing online. Drop me a line if you want to hear more of my adventures.

p.s. the food was amazing: delicious lasagna, mild chicken curry, rich chili con carne, creamy melt-in-your mouth meringues and crumbly but moist brownies are just a few. Just saying…

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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.