Are students prepared for agency life?

Got Skills? Written by Michael Potash.

Are today’s ad students fully prepared for life in the industry?  While the schools may say yes, many agencies might disagree. One of the biggest complaints coming from agencies today is that the current generation of young ad students has limitless brilliance, but no work ethic.

More and more students coming out of ad schools focus their energy on developing great concepts, but have lost the work ethic to follow through with equally great executions. The problem this creates, is a lack of mastery to one’s craft. What good is a chef that can think up a great meal, but doesn’t know how to make it? It’s no different when looking into the skills of young ad students. You wouldn’t want to hire a writer that only writes headlines, or an art director that doesn’t know Adobe Creative Suite. So the questions arise, how prepared are today’s ad students and why is this shift occurring?

While agencies may feel that students aren’t as prepared as they used to be, it’s those same agencies that are part of the problem. These shops have become ravenous for individuals with great passion and great ideas, overlooking the student’s ability to actually execute their craft. This is a problem because it takes the pressure off of schools and faculties to ingrain a strong work ethic and well-balanced skill set into their students. This trend is growing larger every year as it continuously feeds into itself. As more agencies look only for the big idea brain, schools will continue to educate students according to these demands. It has become a process of Darwinian natural selection among young ad students. Thus, the responsibility is on the agencies to nurture young talent and help them to hone their craft in house.

There may be no true solution to this problem, however the few students who do take advantage of the resources available to them will have a significant edge over the rest. Hopefully, that edge will help lead their peers down the same road and rejuvenate the appreciation of great craft.

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