The semester has begun and I have 21…TWENTY-ONE!…bright, creative college seniors to intimidate, terrify, work with on their capstone project. Strategic Campaigns works with real, live clients. Student teams create a strategic plan…complete with primary research, messaging, creative ideas, budgets, media plans…the works! Plus they have the privilege of doing a dog and pony show for the client at the end of the semester.
And none of them have a clue as to what they’re getting into. This might as well be a real, full-time job. It will consume their time, talents and sanity before it’s all said and done. At least one of them will dissolve into tears in front of me before it’s finished. A few will decide they don’t want to pursue advertising because of the pressure. At least one will decide to go to law school.
I guarantee a significant number of them will treat this like any other “class,” procrastinating and not listening to information or directions. None of them will take me seriously when I tell them they’ll “work like rats on crack.” This is their last safety net before they graduate, and they’re all poised to plunge head-first into what will soon appear to be organized chaos.
And I’m truly afraid for them.
Afraid because I know the industry and see where it’s going at break-neck speed. Afraid because, although they are social network creatures, most don’t have a clue how to integrate social networks into the grown-up world of advertising and marketing. From what I can tell, that nuance is not yet taught in J-school advertising path curriculum. Very few know the technical ins and outs of print design to where they could proficiently step into a fast-paced design position. Even fewer know Web design and how to adapt traditional media to Web 2.0 and 3.0 trends.
Fifteen weeks simply isn’t enough time.