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Winners Story

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School of Thought
Why couldn’t you win it?

When I first thought about entering School of Thought, lots of questions ran through my mind. Could I really find the time? Would it fit in around work? Would I be able to answer every brief? Would it be worth it? And finally, could I really win it? I didn’t see why not, and neither should you.

So, if you’re in a similar position at the moment, contemplating whether or not to tackle the entry brief and you’re hovering over the apply button, I’d like to share a few words of advice from last year’s Manchester winner...Chris Banner.

Can you find the time?
It is hard work, but if you can schedule your time (and stick to it) you can do some great work in a short space of time. If you’re already in quite a demanding role (like I was), your School of Thought time will largely be confined to weeknights. And if you’re anything like me, that means you’re going to fall behind on your box sets… but you’ve always got the weekend free to catch up.

Personally, this was how I managed my time. I followed Monday’s briefing with a few hours of initial thinking. I then spent Tuesday building on these ideas and hopefully finding a few I liked. Then I’d spend Wednesday evening pulling together my ideas and drawing up scamps for Thursday’s presentation. Some weeks it’d take longer to get an idea I was happy with, but breaking it up into little chunks like this really helped me manage the briefs around my day job.

But if you’ve recently graduated or you’re looking for a new opportunity, time will be on your side. Even if some of the other competitors are more experienced, you can spend much longer working on each brief. Thinking. Crafting. Creating. This can be a real advantage, and really help aspiring young creatives stand out.

Will you be able to answer every brief?
Of course. I always say that you can only give your response to the brief. Your insight, your perspective and your ideas. This course isn’t about immaculate designs or Shakespearean use of the English language, it’s all about having ideas and sharing them. Whether they’re good, bad, funny, terrible or amazing… everyone can have ideas. And this is a chance to share some of yours and learn how to make them better.

There’s lots of support too, from classmates in your course WhatsApp group to industry-leading creatives offering bags of advice, feedback and inspiration. So, not only will you answer every brief (and enjoy doing so) your responses will improve week by week. Trust me.

Will it be worth it?
Absolutely. It’s an extraordinary opportunity for creatives in Leeds and Manchester. You’ll get to visit (physically or virtually) some of the biggest and best agencies in the UK. And you’ll get to show work to the people running creative departments in those agencies. Impress them, ask questions, add them on LinkedIn, send them an email. It’s great exposure for people at all stages of their career.

12 weeks working on briefs for the best in the business can’t help but raise your game, your presentation skills and ultimately your career prospects. Whether this means securing a promotion or landing a new job. Lots of people from my year have already been snapped up into new roles, myself included.


Could you really win it?
There’s only one way to find out. So why don’t you give the latest entry brief a go now:

Honestly, you won’t regret it. And in a few months’ time, you’ll have made some new friends, got a great new portfolio and developed some impressive industry connections. You could even have an exciting new job or you could be looking forward to sitting on the beach at the Cannes Lions Festival… with me and a few other winners!

I’ll get the first round at the beach bar.

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