Alison McGann is a Middleweight Art Director at Rascal Agency, Leeds. She graduated from BA (Hons) Creative Advertising in 2019.

Here Alison tells us about her experience studying Creative Advertising and her move into a career in the industry.

What did you enjoy about your time at Leeds Arts University and how did the course help you in starting out professionally?

The course takes a unique, practical approach to education, running as if it were a real advertising agency and providing exposure to live briefs. This nurtured me to become a well-rounded creative with a comprehensive understanding of the creative process - from research and strategy, to ideation and pitching. Combined with mentorship from highly dedicated tutors, this course has been integral to my career.

What did you do straight after leaving University?

In short, I finished university on a Friday with no job leads and by Monday I was in an agency on placement. With graduation looming, I’d tried and failed to get my foot in the industry door and was planning the cliché grad-at-a-loss road trip. But as luck would have it, the day after I finished university, I awoke to a placement offer from a brilliant Creative Director at Rascal agency. Fast forward over a year and a promotion later and I’m still there today - which definitely beats hectic hostels.

Could you give us a description of a typical day?

With this job, a ‘typical day’ can take many forms. Whether that’s envisioning a ‘cowousel’ ride for Ben and Jerrys, having HP’s influencers working from hot air balloons or crafting Next’s spring/summer campaign design. When you’re ideating, pitching, casting and directing, there’s really never a dull moment. For me, the most rewarding workdays are those bustling days on set, where a concept finally comes to life.

Do you have any tips or advice for current students or recent graduates wanting to work in your field?

Connect with all people in the industry. Sure, Creative Directors can give you the job, but mid-weight and junior creatives can recommend you for one just as easily. Never underestimate where a connection may lead you and always stay true to your genuine self to make the best impression.

Finally, are there any future ambitions or projects in the pipeline you can tell us about?

I’m currently a contestant in Leeds first ‘School of Thought’, an intensive, 12-week training programme that’s enabled me to tackle briefs at some of the city’s best agencies. This work is then put before a panel of judges to determine the winner of a trip to Cannes Lions. (I’ve got my fingers crossed!).

A more personal ambition of mine is to be a guest speaker at a ‘Chicks in Advertising’ event. As someone who struggled with public speaking anxiety, I’m aware of what a barrier it can be. Helping others to overcome this would be an empowering, full circle moment.