Recently, Ogilvy UK partnered with Uptree to invite teenagers from a range of schools across London into the agency to give them an insight into the world of communications.

The afternoon included a panel of talent from across the business speaking about their routes into the industry. We caught up with some of the panelists, including Planner Chris Toumazis, Junior Planners Yolanda Davis and Arif Miah, and Junior Strategist Mark Callender, to find out more about their roles, how they got into ad land and their advice for aspiring young talent.

Why the creative industry?

Chris: It's both intellectually stimulating and excellent fun. Most industries have one of those things; very few have two.

Yolanda: Like nearly all of my friends, I wasn’t sure of the career I wanted to pursue. Though daunting at first, within five minutes of being on a creative agency website, I realised that within advertising there were roles which encapsulated everything I wanted to do.

Arif: It’s an industry that allows me to be original. As culture changes and the problems of clients are rapidly evolving, there is no rule book on how you approach it – and I love that.

Mark: I have always wanted to work in a creative environment, with creative people. However, I felt that my skills were situated somewhere between logical and creative thinking. When I found out about the role of the Planner, I was immediately convinced of what I wanted to do for the rest of my career. The opportunity and the challenge to think in these two different ways is what I have always wanted to do.

How did you arrive at Ogilvy?

Chris: I saw Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy's Vice Chairman) give a talk at my university, and was fascinated by his perspective. I wanted to work a place filled with people that looked at the world in unusual ways.

Yolanda & Mark: We are part of one of Ogilvy UK’s internship programmes, The Match. It’s a twelve month programme for those looking to break into the communications industry, during which time we are able to experience three different disciplines across the business.

Arif: I studied and worked in the world of finance and absolutely hated it, which led to my hunt for something more stimulating – so I found myself here.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

Chris: The fact that we're all here to come up with great ideas.

Yolanda: As a Planner, my role is all about living in the real world, which is the best job I could ask for, as it makes it not like a job at all.

Arif: I’m able to push boundaries and the opportunity exists to create something new - work that’s never been done before.

Mark: The most exciting thing about working in advertising is being able to constantly engage with the world around me. Being required to absorb and take part in the world, and then being able to apply that back to my job is incredibly exciting.

What’s been your biggest learning since joining the industry?

Chris: Ideas come from other ideas. The best way to stimulate creativity is to surround yourself with creativity.

Yolanda: Every piece of work that comes out of an agency is something to be applauded. It sounds stupid but the length of time and hard work that goes into even the smallest format or shortest TVC is phenomenal. It’s also the best feeling to see an ad and know that your hours either at a screen, on a shoot, or in the client office have made something so spectacular.  

Arif: To embrace myself and my skillset and use what I have to positively impact the work.

Mark: The biggest challenge as a planner is combining the data and insights that you gather during the research phase with your natural intuition and understanding of people. It’s easy to get lost in the statistics, but bringing them into the reality involves continuously keeping your mind open. It can be challenging, but is also massively rewarding when you get it right

Any advice for those wanting to break into the creative industries?

Chris: Watch films. See plays. Read books. Listen to music. And have an opinion on all of it.

Yolanda: Perseverance is key. Your character will ultimately be the way you break in.

Arif: Be authentic and be real, do not try and be something you are not!

Mark: Try to meet people who work or have worked in the industry so that you can gain the widest possible understanding of the industry as a whole.


Find out more about routes into Ogilvy UK via our internships The Pipe and The Match.

There’s also more on our Careers page here.