Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why Are Masscom Students Such Misfits In Ad-Land?!

4Ps B&M's Monojit Lahiri probes this disturbing issue

They were the kids who were supposed to be the saviours of the attrition-hit adbiz; the god-sent answers to the galloping exodus of good people suddenly upping and leaving; the bright main-hoon-na brigade all charged to fill in the blanks rendered by the defectors… but guess what? Eight times out of ten, they’ve turned up turnips; well-meaning disasters who didn’t seem to have a clue about the ‘real’ world! Agency and clients continue to crib about these kids “coming from another planet and totally out-of-sync with the ground realities that govern our business.” Shouldn’t the faculty and powers-that-are initiate them into what awaits them once they are out in the battlefield? Isn’t it their responsibility to get them as industry-ready and friendly as possible?

“Actually, its one of the great tragedies of our education system that we pay a pittance to teachers, compared to people in other disciplines in other sectors. Hence the institutes – exceptions apart – attract a lot who have practically no industry experience or people who are not good enough to be absorbed in the mainstream and find it convenient to hide out as faculty in these joints.” That was Santosh Desai, the high-profile CEO of Future Brands. He is of the firm opinion that communication is a far richer, purer discipline than marketing [which borrows heavily from other empirical sciences] and at best is nothing more than a makeshift science. “The atmosphere and environment – for example – that prevails in an advertising agency with its unique work culture, demands and expectations is an entire universe apart from a traditional, conventional workplace. The result is, frequently, there is zero-connect and near non-existent value-addition. For example, Advertising being an idea-led business, is there any focus regarding the critical aspect of how to form, shape, add value, reject or react to an idea?”

Motorola’s dynamic and articulate Marketing Director, Lloyd Mathias is up next. He believes that most traditional Masscom Institutes in the country, unfortunately, choose to be [comfortably] inward looking, still concentrating on old Case Studies from Harvard Business School. “In today’s day and age, this is totally irrelevant! They need to understand that if the kids have to go out and work in an Indian environment they ‘must’ necessarily connect with the Indian reality.” Mathias then goes on to make a strong case for the biggies, the movers n’ shakers – Omnicom, WPP, Publicis – to get together and arrive at a common solution where an environment/climate is created to allow for a more enlightened faculty and sharper, industry-friendly student community.

The new Golden Boy of Indian Advertising [the soft-spoken, low-profile Agnello Dias, JWT’s NCD, whose amazing Lead India campaign fetched India her first-ever Grand Prix at the recently concluded Cannes Ad fest] adds his own evolved input. He believes that Masscom – as a discipline – is a fluid science and has to be understood in that vein, from day one, by everyone engaged with it. “The problem with most schools and institutes is that the curriculum and syllabi seldom bears any connect with the present or future … it seems to be entrenched firmly in the past! The result is that while the jargons, terminology and catch-phrases are picked up, nothing that is truly relevant is. Why? Because even between the time they’ve done the exams, got their results and started looking out for jobs, the dynamics of the business could’ve changed … and where would that lead them?” Ivan Arthur, veteran, creative, heavyweight of JWT in the sixties, seventies and eighties rounds off this debate on a truly positive and meaningful note, offering solutions that everybody [including these distinguished practitioners] are looking out for. He points towards Walter Saldhana’s Aicar Business School in Neral, Maharashtra. Its an institute, which is pragmatic, rooted to ground realities, living in the here and now. It promotes learning-by-doing as its defining philosophy. “We set up an integrated communication agency in the campus that actually handle live accounts. Students are taught the processes and costs of acquiring and managing accounts. They also have to learn the pain of losing some of them. Clients pay the institute for the work done by students, of course with close and active supervision of the faculty and mentors, all experienced ad professionals. Clients include names like Eureka Forbes, IMS Learning, Old Spice, IL&FS and Aicar B-School itself. The practical experience is supported by robust classroom sessions, which deal with diverse subjects … world literature and mythology, aesthetics, semiotics and cultural anthropology. We believe that beyond being effective managers, they should be well-rounded human beings with those softer edges of refinement and sensitivity.”

Are you listening Santosh, Lloyd, Aggi and everyone out there?

Way to go, guys…!


No comments:

Post a Comment