Ahead of the 2020 AdSchool Graduate Program in March, we caught up with Sydney Program Chair Emma McJury, Group Head at M&C Saatchi, to chat about her upcoming role and how the Program can be such an invaluable course for graduates and others aiming for a career in our industry.

TCC: What are some qualities that you look for in graduates?
Emma: Positive energy, a questioning mind and a willingness to learn are probably the top three criteria for any grad.

TCC: What can graduates expect from the program this year? What will be your role as Chair?
Emma: The 2020 program has been developed to equip those new to advertising with some of the foundational skills that will help them find their feet and take a strong first step into their the world of agencies. In the newly appointed position of Chair, my role will be to work alongside some truly brilliant speakers to ensure that the course not only offers some of the best insights into the world of advertising, but that each Grad involved is supported throughout to ensure their own individual success. 

TCC: What were some of your career highlights in 2019?
Emma: 2019 was one of the bigger and more challenging years of my career, so was a highlight in and of itself. I left an agency that had been my home for almost a decade to take on a new client, at a new agency in order to push myself outside my comfort zone and do some amazing work on the way. The client was Tourism Australia and the agency was M&C Saatchi. Both have offered me such an amazing breadth of experiences career wise in one short year it would take me too long to itemise them all. You’ll certainly hear all about it on the course though!

TCC: What were some of your highlights while working in London?
Emma: London gave me my first experience at working on a truly global piece of business with such a diversity of audiences and stakeholders. This tested and expanded my understanding of my role and the intricacies of managing brands of that scale. As London is such a hub for our industry I got to work closely with people from so many different countries and backgrounds, which was a great learning experience and introduced me to friends who have gone on to fantastic agency roles all around the world. And let’s not forget the travel. I went everywhere I could as often as I could. This time for me was as much about life experience as it was career experience.

TCC: What did you study at university? And what prompted you to jump into the world of advertising?
Emma: I actually studied Philosophy at uni….which I loved. The constant debate. The different perspectives and ways of thinking. It may seem random but it has actually aided me so much in my career. When I was at uni I actually thought I would go on to be an academic. I had no idea ‘Advertising’ was even a career. But then one night at my part time job waitressing, I broke the cork on a really nice bottle of wine. That led to a conversation with the table in question, which led to the offer of an interview and a few months later I had a job at a small advertising agency/production company startup. I stayed there for a few years and then I interviewed at M&C and took on my first job at a larger agency.

The 2020 Graduate Program kicks off on 24 March. We’ll train your junior talent so they can hit the ground running in 2020!

Update: Due to COVID-19 we have postponed our Grad Program. Please check back in 2021.