I didn’t go to uni, but I always tell people that I went to the ‘university of life’ instead. In the creative sector, I think both attending or skipping uni can have disadvantages. As the industry stands, the technical qualification of a degree might do very little for most. What uni is good for though, is providing an environment occupied by your peers.
Traditionally, advertising creatives work in pairs, which can be better for ideas. Typically, it’s easier to find someone to work with when you’re at ad school. When you ‘go it alone’, at first you won’t know where on earth all these young people are hanging out. Uni also offers a few years of building a portfolio, and I hear that some ad courses are quite immersed in the industry.
I wanted to help equip young people like me with the confidence of knowledge and inspire networking amongst juniors, so more recently, I also started my own podcast, Poducate. In each episode I speak to a different industry professional about their role, from a novice perspective.
I personally think that finding and exploring advertising on my own was always going to be the option for me. Because of the lack of exposure coming from my background, I believe that if I had applied for a degree, I might have taken a wrong turn, and showed up to the party late. I don’t believe I would have such an authentic understanding of the industry, nor would I have existed in the same way. Nothing will make you the same kind of professional as learning on the job and failing a few times… I think this is how industry rock-stars are born!