Current BA (Hons) Creative Advertising student Ryan Morgan was recently awarded an Alumni Fund Bursary to support a placement with global advertising agency McCann. Here he shares his experience in industry and at the University, and tells us his plans for the future…

I chose Leeds Arts University purely down to it’s reputation and location. I’d seen countless names of successful creatives online, who had come from the University. I wanted to study Creative Advertising because I’m a creative wanting to work in a commercial environment. For me this course offered me the opportunity to put my creativity to use in a way that would prepare me for an industry rather than just improving my skills on things I’d already learned.

The course offers something that cannot be studied in school or college, so I really am learning something new every day. We work at a steady pace on numerous campaigns for all sorts of brands and products, and have countless opportunities throughout the course to enter competition briefs, working with agencies and award briefs. We have outsider professionals, from top agencies all over the world, coming to work directly with us on a regular basis.

The studios are spacious and we have three different rooms to choose from to work in. I believe Creative Advertising has some of the best studios, with bright colours, inspiration all over the walls – we even have bean bags. We also have access to iMac’s in our studios, however the facilities at Leeds Arts University are amazing so there is choice to study and create elsewhere.

Thanks to my alumni bursary I was able to complete a week of work experience at McCann Birmingham. This was a fantastic opportunity for me as it now stands out as major agency experience on my CV as well as making vital industry contacts and gaining professional skills. In the week I spent at McCann, I had a lot of work to do.

Within a day of the placement beginning, I became part of the creative team working on a live client brief that was to be pitched the following Friday. It was so exciting to get involved in something real and I was treated like I actually worked at the agency. My ideas we’re also taken forward to be pitched to the client which was an amazing achievement for me to be trusted and have my ideas used for professional work. Work that has the reputation of McCann on the line. I spent the week creating social media content, experiential pieces, on-trade and off-trade content as well as traditional print ads.

I gained experience that put what I had learned on my course in to real life practice. I love my course because we’re treated like professionals, and because the tutors have worked as professionals in the industry they can give us a very real view and understanding of industry life. It was therefore great to see that my degree really is so relevant to the reality of work in real agencies. I made a lot of friends during my time at McCann, as well as meeting directors from other McCann agencies across the country, which gives me the opportunity to now push for experience in London, Manchester and maybe even over-seas.

This experience has given me the best preparation for industry life after university. I’ve learned so much in just a week and I feel a lot calmer in gaining paid work due to the trust I’ve gained for the people from McCann as well as the relationships I have made with the people in senior roles.
After university, I hope to get a job in an advertising agency, preferably in London. Doing this course and placement has made this a solid possibility for me and I plan to work my way up through the industry to one day becoming a creative director for a top agency in New York. Others that have left this course before me have managed to do incredible things within their first year in industry, so I believe that this course can open the doors to anything I want to go into within the creative industry.