PHD Academy Graduate Scheme: Week 1

gradsDebbie Batchelor, Media Assistant fills us in on week 1 of the PHD Graduate Scheme.

On Monday the 21st of September, PHD began its first ever Graduate Training Scheme. I have been at PHD for approximately four months myself and joined straight after university, so I was thrilled to learn that I would be on the scheme. Monday morning began with breakfast in the Boardroom; we were given our schedules for the three week programme, which is made up of days out with media owners, talks and training sessions and will conclude with a group pitch at the end. This will clearly be a fantastic chance for grads from the varying departments within PHD to get to know each other better and gain a greater understanding of the media industry.

Our first day included motivational talks from Hugh Cameron, Chief Brand Development Officer, and Daren Rubins, our CEO, on ‘Understanding PHD’s business and brand’ and ‘Thriving Together’. We learnt about the history of PHD and how each department plays its role within the ‘body’ of our agency. The second part of the day was a treasure hunt around London with Exterion Media, who are a UK Out of Home media owner. Jade Walton, an Account Manager at Exterion commented, ‘the graduate session was a great opportunity for me to introduce Out of Home to over 30 of PHDs newest talent. It was fantastic chance to not only tell them how great Out of Home is, but actually show them. We were able to travel across London learning about the different opportunities Exterion Media can offer clients. The enthusiasm and eagerness to learn was what made the afternoon even more successful. I wish the graduates all the luck in their careers at PHD.’ Once the treasure hunt was over, we were set challenges to see which team could find the best item at Westfield Shopping Centre for £1; my team won by exchanging 99p for twenty thousand Indonesian Rupiah!

On Tuesday, we were given the morning to begin brainstorming and planning our pitch ideas that we would eventually present at the end of the three week programme (an exciting and also nerve-racking prospect). Wednesday began with a session on the art of storytelling with Richard Desforges, Head of Performance Planning. We learnt how best to engage clients with a pitch and how to deliver a presentation with skill. Our next session was a deep dive into how to utilize Source, PHD’s innovative operating system. This talk was given by Simon Harwood, who has possibly the most incredible job title I have ever heard of: Head of Futures.

Thursday was themed around press and began with a trip to the Telegraph’s offices. Victoria Farley, Press Assistant at PHD said, ‘At the Telegraph, everyone enjoyed the chance to be introduced to some innovative and fascinating ad formats by such a prestigious national newspaper. The create-your-own-ad-format competition was a clever little game that got everyone thinking and I’m surprised we’d never done something like that before! It was a fun morning and I know everyone would love the chance to come back for more.’ Back at our own offices, we had a talk given by Tim Caira, Head of Press & Integration. He spoke passionately about how the press team trade and negotiate with different media owners.

When Friday came around, it was time to hear from the Insight team, Data Science and Brand Science. We learnt how the power of a good insight into consumer behaviour, for example, could influence an entire advertising campaign and completely change the face of a brand. Data Science and Brand Science showed us that data can be beautiful (honestly!) and that even tracking ROI can look great when it’s displayed in a colourful graph.

The first week of the grad scheme has been packed full of inspiring talks and trips out around London. Every session has offered us something new to consider and has influenced not only our pending pitches, but also how we think about our own jobs. Bring on week 2!


The Grads at Westfield with Exterion


The winning team with the best thing we could buy for £1


Only cost 99p!


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