Being a mentor is a universal task for all of us

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Aleksandra Bradić (Account Director), Branko Tmušić (Senior Designer) and Aleksandar Milojević (Strategic Planner) from McCann Beograd talk about the importance of cooperation with faculties, the experience of mentoring work with students, and the way young people perceive the world of work.

The twelfth FONklame marketing festival, which was organized by the FON Career Development Center, was held recently. Among the participants was the agency McCann Belgrade, which presented a case study to students at the festival. After the presentation, students were given the task of applying the acquired knowledge in practice through solving a specific task, and the best were treated with valuable awards. In addition, all the three participating teams were given the book Creative Portfolio 02, so they could get better acquainted with the best of marketing in practice.

The I&F Grupa’s agencies regularly support any form of cooperation with colleges and higher education institutions, and readily participate in lectures and workshops with younger generations, always responding to invitations for guest lecturers.

This form of cooperation is important for all young prospective people looking for their place under the marketing sun, but also for all the agencies that participate in these activities because they can easily find, recognize, shape and employ those who see their future in this business. At all times, in all I&F Grupa agencies, there are people who do internships in different positions, and that is the opportunity for them to learn the job, to get acquainted with the agency life and through this process to discover what they really want to do in life.

I&F Grupa talked with McCann Belgrade’s Aleksandra Bradić (Account Director), Branko Tmušiće (Senior Designer) and Aleksandar Milojević (Strategic Planner), about the importance of collaboration with universities, experiences of mentoring students and the ways young generations today perceive work.

What kind of impression have those young generations just entering the world of marketing left on you? What interests them? How much are they dedicated?

Branko: They are surprisingly inquisitive and eager to prove themselves and compete. They are full of questions, spirit and play.

Aleksandra: Opportunity to participate in the case study was given to students from various faculties, so certainly not all of them will find their career path in marketing. What was phenomenal was that there was no difference in approach and thinking between them – all of them were equally eager in the desire to move the boundaries and do something unusual through their tasks.

Aleksandar: Dedication is the word that best describes the students we had the opportunity to work with during these seven days – from the approach to the problem and consulting with us, they have shown an incredible interest and desire for their work to be the best as possible, which was ultimately obvious from their presentations.

What is the benefit for you from this kind of cooperation with students? What does it feel like to be back at the university?

Aleksandra: To me, personally, their energy and motivation returned that beginner enthusiasm. In addition, by bringing our industry and what we do for clients closer to them, I was reminded of how much opportunities a marketing agency gives you to change the rules of the game on the market, in society …

Aleksandar: Our agency has been present at colleges for many years, through various programs – from lectures to conferences. Any return to college reminds me that during my studies at the Faculty of Political Science I thought I would work in journalism – and now I’m in McCann Belgrade. This is always motivating me to further personal development, because college education is the foundation of your future career, that you further develop and build by yourself.

Branko: Benefit are experience and the process. Return to college reminded me how important it is to approach everything we do through play and fun, just as our young colleagues do.

Is it easy being a mentor? What surprised you?

Aleksandar: It’s a pleasure to be a mentor to students on this project. However, as these are young people who are finishing their studies, any advice can go in the wrong direction. It’s surprising how quickly they understood the “rules of the game,” and in their very first assignments they used some tricks that you learn only after a few years in our business.

Branko: Giving good examples, or being a mentor, is a universal task for all of us. Being a mentor to younger colleagues in this process was a very responsible task. In addition to the concrete experiences and knowledge we wanted to bring to them, it was important to introduce to some extent the real client-agency relationship and vice versa. Somehow, we need to call things their real name. Especially on the subject of “Sustainable Development” which was the underlying idea we worked on.

Aleksandra: It is easy to bend a green branch. It is a team of ambitious, talented and dedicated people full of positive energy, with whom it was a pleasure to work. It was amazing how they managed to fit in and become a compact team in their approach, though some never met each other before.

What do you consider the biggest benefits of mentoring students?

Branko: Process, process and process.

Aleksandra: Our concrete goal in mentoring was to shake them up a bit, and give them an opportunity to see another angle in problem solving. We maximally freed them from all the technical details, so they would relax and give their own mark to the project task.

Aleksandar: As I have said, college is the foundation of the future career that we project further and build as we see fit, and projects such as this one are useful because the participants are not from the same colleges. Some of them in their curricula do not have marketing subjects, and this is a chance for them to perhaps directly reroute their career path and get to meet the future industry they will work in – maybe even with their future employer.

What did set the work of the winning team apart? Was the decision easy?

Aleksandra: Although there were small differences between the teams, nuances decided. Let’s say that the winning team was most on point, and they had an excellent team performance which was most evident when they had to answer questions and defend their work.

Aleksandar: Each team showed a different approach and already they have their own personal style, both in problem solving and presenting. The deciding factor was understanding the task and concrete solution, which was best presented in the work of the winning team (Romedia). Their style is clear and concise, the solution was simple, and the performance is effective. And – just between us – I’m sorry we couldn’t pick two winners.

Branko: My personal favourite didn’t win, but in a democratic vote, colleagues Aleksandra and Milojević outvoted me. Nuances decided. The winning team was, it seems, more suggestive.

What kind of award will go to the winning team?

Branko: Future colleagues have already received their prize, even before the announcement of the winning team – the process. The process through which they have passed is extremely valuable, since knowing the steps in creating an idea is the winning formula for any future decision making, i.e. realization. The winning team, which will do practice with us, will certainly be a step or two closer to that formula, which they will later implement much more bravely in planning and making their creative ideas reality.

Aleksandar: I made my first steps in advertising as an intern in the agency in which I still work, and perhaps, in couple of years, a similar story will be told by one of the members of the winning team. They will get the opportunity to go through our internship program, and thus learn a lot of things through direct experience.

Aleksandra: Their greatest motivation was the one month internship within the I&Fsystem for all members of the winning team. They will be able to choose based on their interests whether they want to do practice in a creative, media or digital agency.

Could you share a short advice or recommendation for students just entering the world of advertising?

Aleksandra: Be brave, take risks and listen to your instinct. Don’t play it safe and make compromises, because then you won’t leave a mark in what you do.

Branko: Be noble and responsible is the universal recommendation and a reminder for any decision, including the one to enter the world of advertising.

Aleksandar: Try. If you don’t succeed, it’s not the end of the world. And then try again!

FONklame gathers leading experts in the field of marketing, who share their knowledge and experience with students, introducing them to the world of advertising. They help students create a practical career development plan, and discover their own potential for growth and work in marketing.

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