So what’s so fancy about AdClass? Why should you apply? It looks like some work. And who is it for, anyway? What will you get out of it? Well, whether you are interested in a career in advertising, or aren’t, or aren’t sure, or if you are a business major, or absolutely not a business major, or just generally interested in what this class is like and how it’ll help you get a job, I’ve got the answer to “What’s in it for you.”

Interested in a career in advertising?

You want to learn how an ad agency works. You want to see how ads are created. You aren’t completely sure where you’d fit into all of this, and you want to get to know it all better. Well, the members of this class are organized into an ad agency, and we create a campaign from start to finish. By the time you are done, it’s a bit like you’ve already had an internship, only you didn’t have to sleep on somebody’s couch in NYC.

Don’t want a career in advertising?      

Maybe you want to do something else, like work on the environment, run political campaigns, get a PhD. in psychology, go to law school, work in publishing, become an artist, or work in investment banking. In AdClass, you’ll learn skills and applications that you can take with you. The context may be advertising, but the project requires effective teamwork, leadership, creativity, strategy, analytical thinking, application of abstract ideas, and problem solving. You are working with a variety of people you might not know that well or be used to working with because people are coming from across the university.

Not sure if you want a career in advertising?

Advertising sure looks interesting. It looks like fun. You like ads. You think you might want something in marketing. You aren’t sure. This is a great place to get a sense of what it is, and what you like without a massive career commitment.

What’s in it for a non-business major?

It’s a myth that there’s “business” and then there’s “everything else.” Business is largely about the study of human behavior in a goal-oriented setting. Even if you aren’t sure about a career in advertising, you’ll get an opportunity to apply your expertise to a new area field. Past AdClass students have come from nearly every academic department at W&L – English, Psychology, Mathematics, History, Creative Writing, etc.

What’s in it for a business major?

Practice, baby! There’s research to be done, there’s strategy to develop (instead of just criticizing what somebody else has done), and it all has to be made to happen. And it has to be made to happen using 20-something other people who have different skills and personalities. It’s truly cool.

How does it help me get a job and an interview?

You get proof you can work in a team, and not just a 2- or 3-person group project, but multiple people working in multiple groups that have to produce a coherent final product. This provides for realistic problem solving and can give you topics and answers for interviews “Tell me about a time you had to give constructive criticism to a colleague.” “Tell me about a time you had to give somebody bad news.” “Tell me about a time you worked under seriously time pressure.” You will also have a 20-plus page plans book that you can show around. This demonstrates that you understand both the inputs to strategy and what needs to be done to execute a complex, multifaceted marketing campaign. And regardless of whether you are a business major or not, it demonstrated that you have an understanding of the value of a variety of skills and how they come together to create something goal-oriented and strategic.

But what’s the experience of the class like?

You get the independence of decision-making. You get to create something. Not reflecting off of what somebody else created. You are creating it from scratch. You are creating something that you believe in and have to defend, and represents W&L and yourselves. And you don’t defend it to me, but to people outside of the University. It’s a little scary and very cool.

You get to submerge yourselves in something. It’s not a class. It’s like a job. You’ll internalize it, care about it, think about it. It’s much more than just a lousy class project. I know students who graduated years ago who still feel passionately about their project.

And you will have the opportunity to get to know people in this class and work with them in ways you never have before. (And yes, students report back to me that that was a good thing.)

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