Vault Q&A: Account Manager, Saatchi & Saatchi
Title: Account Manager
Department/Division: Account management
Number of years at firm: One year
Number of years in current role: One year
Degree (s): BA (Hons) Modern History (Worcester College, Oxford University) 2.1
How did you first decide to enter your industry? What first attracted you?
I wanted to work with people who come up with ideas and then challenge and realise those ideas creatively. I knew I wanted to work in an industry that is progressive and ever-changing. I was quite disillusioned as to what I wanted to do, so to pick an industry which combines so many different skill sets, and with so many options, made sense at the time.
What are the typical education requirements?
It is fair to say that this industry doesn't discriminate based purely on education and results. It does place a higher value on "emotional intelligence" which is supported of course by education. The industry is only becoming more competitive in terms of work placements and jobs therefore, a degree, whether it be in the arts or in the sciences, from a recognised university or college will give you the extra push and tends to be the norm. However, the industry doesn't discourage those without higher education under their belts.
What skills and/or experience are important for success?
Experience is obviously useful, but this can be gained from outside the industry itself, in media or business related placements such as events, public relations, magazines, marketing and finance. It is important to have gathered some understanding of what advertising is so you can separate myth from fact and have a basic understanding of business and marketing.
In terms of skills, a thirst for knowledge and progress, a level head, the ability to adapt to ever-changing situations and enthusiasm take you a long way in what can be an emotionally charged environment. Being able to work with others as well as depend on yourself is absolutely vital.
What is the typical career path in your industry?
Typically, it is account coordinator to account manager to account director and upwards. However, the flexibility to move fluidly from one specialist area to another is becoming more commonplace.
What is important to most people in the industry is variety of accounts and thus variety of experience. Hierarchy doesn't rule as rigidly as it used to. In fact, I would think most agencies desire more flexible infrastructures to encourage more flexible use of talents, skills and experience.
What is the best part of your job?
The people I work with day-to-day and seeing great work go out the door.
What is your least favourite part of your job?
The late nights -- although the odd decent lunch makes up for those!
How relevant is your education to what you are doing today?
I think everything I've ever done is relevant in a job which is all about understanding people and their motivations.
Can you offer any advice to graduates seeking a career in your industry?
Advertising is changing a lot, don't accept what your parents or peers might tell you as fact. When you get to interview stage remember that the person sitting opposite you is thinking, "Do I want to work with this person?" before anything else.
What is something unusual that they might not know?
It is not really that badly paid.
What is your best perk?
Feeling good about my work.