Class of : 2008
Major : Business Management
Concentration : Marketing
Have you ever wondered how it feels to work in an advertising agency? Better yet, do you know what it is? An advertising agency is a business that dedicates its services to creating, planning, and handling advertising. It is also common that an agency prepares other forms of promotion and marketing for its clients or the overall marketing and branding strategies. To know more about working in an agency, we want to introduce you to Jean Paul de Ponti (Marketing 2008) or who goes by the name JP. He is the Senior Strategic Partner in Saatchi & Saatchi.
Jean Paul and Prasetiya Mulya
When he was in high school, JP imagined that college life would be more fun and challenging because he was given the trust to choose what he wanted. He was looking for a higher education institution that offers both theoretical and practical knowledge. In addition, JP aimed for a school bridging business element with people.
He was then become acquainted with Prasetiya Mulya in an education fair organized in his high school. JP received recommendation from his mother too since one of her friend’s child was studying in Prasetiya Mulya. He went searching for more information about our school and found out that it is the top business school in the country. JP subsequently enrolled in our school without doubt. With his vision in high school, he decided to major in Marketing that he perceived able to bridge business with people.
It surprised us when JP told us he really liked the assignments that emphasized more on practicing the knowledge given in class. He is impressed with the learning process in Prasetiya Mulya. JP’s memorable moments throughout his four years in campus were creating and running business, community development, and finding great friends. “I believe my education plays a big role in my career. I feel that I have developed my entrepreneurial traits. These traits help me in my work even though I’m still working professionally and not a business owner yet.”
It is very common that we see highly active students and those who are less active. JP admitted to us that he was amongst the less active ones. He said it was something he regretted. He wanted to take part in organizations but he had his limitations. If he could turn back time, he would.
Jean Paul’s Career Choices
JP has a career aspiration when he was still studying. He aimed to be a marketer who successfully builds an impactful brand. To pursue his dream, he was well aware of his high interest with subjects related with branding. He decided to spend more time compared to his peers studying brand. JP is very persistent in chasing his goal.
For his final assignment, JP chose Project Improvement. It was his first acquaintance with his future working place. “On my final year in campus, I was doing Project Improvement instead of business plan. For this project, I had to apply as an intern and I just googled integrated marketing communication Jakarta. Celsius, the agency where I later joined as an intern, was smartly using Google AdWords. Celsius was on top of my search result then I applied, that simple.”
JP applied to Celsius and the recruitment process was less complicated compared to big corporations. He was invited for an interview and he passed it. JP acted as Account Executive who was responsible in ensuring clients’ needs are met with top quality in time. He didn’t need much time to adapt to the working world. JP told us that Celsius is very friendly with fresh graduates. The atmosphere was supporting for him to learn by doing so he felt the adaptation was seamless.
After one and a half year holding the position of an Account Executive, the Managing Director of Celsius offered him to try a new position as a Planner. “My first assignment as a Planner was preparing a pitch. I made the proposal and our agency won. From there, both myself and my boss, we were convinced that I was suitable to pursue a career as a planner. If you ask me about the job responsibility, I must act as a problem solver and it is not limited only to advertising perspective.”
Within six months, JP showed his good performance. He was involved in many projects that developed his strategic thinking. Based on this, the Managing Director felt the need to promote JP. He was assigned as Strategic Planner to further convince the clients. JP explained that his responsibilities were similar as when he was a Planner. The difference was on the expectation. He was expected to give bigger and higher outcome with sharper analysis and better recommendations.
After four years in Celsius, JP realized that he was in his comfort zone. He knew then that he needed to get out of his comfort. JP proved the importance of LinkedIn nowadays. One day, the Planning Director of Artek n Partners Communications messaged him on LinkedIn. It was an interview invitation. The recruitment process was simple. JP was interviewed by the director and he continued with a negotiation with the HR department. He became the Strategic Planner for Artek n Partners Communication.
His responsibilities were essentially the same. He had to define clients' problems and needs, survey relevant target audience for insights, establish desired target audience's response, and to produce sets of alternatives to tackle clients' problems. He worked with several well-known FMCG brands in Indonesia to solve their marketing and communications problems. In addition, he was responsible to create the brand DNA and creative brief for campaigns.
Before one year in the aforementioned company, JP received a job vacancy offer in Saatchi & Saatchi from his former colleague. This shows the importance of networking and maintaining good relationship with your colleagues. JP couldn’t pass the opportunity to work in multinational agency. He applied for the position of Senior Strategic Planner. He was called for an interview with the user. The following step was HR interview. His previous experience and performance rewarded him a job in Saatchi and Saatchi.
As a Senior Strategic Planner, JP explained that his responsibilities were the same as a Strategic Planner in the previous agency. His jobs emphasized the importance of problem solving. He admitted that his previous experiences helped him in doing his tasks. Yet, he added that there are some things that need to be discussed with senior colleagues to understand it. Then again, it was about learning by doing too.
JP loves what he does because it fits his aspirations. “Working as a Strategic Planner is just the career I imagined back in campus. One day, I took a personality test and the result proved that I have chosen the right career. You know, no matter how fun it may seem, any kind of job has its down sides. For me, it’s always challenging when the clients insist on with their assumptions though I have presented valid data from our research. This situation slows down the effectiveness of my work.”
Working in Saatchi & Saatchi offers clear and interesting career path. JP explained that he already has the chance to work in several projects along with sister companies under Publicis One, like Leo Burnett, Publicis, and Arcade. JP explained that not too many of his knowledge gained in campus is applicable in work. He emphasized on the attitude and entrepreneurial mindset that he considers very useful. Looking at the opportunity to grow his career in Saatchi & Saatchi, JP still plans to serve the agency for the upcoming years. He hopes to be promoted.
Advertising Industry in Jean Paul’s Perspective
JP still chooses to pursue his career in advertising industry because it is very interesting. What makes this industry interesting? It is the opportunity to solve brand and marketing problems creatively. The work is not limited to one brand but more than one that will continuously enrich our knowledge. What you need to know is the competition in advertising industry is very high. This situation is due to the growth of local agencies start-up, especially digital agencies. Besides that, currently many clients are cutting their budget.
In general, the business process in most advertising agencies is the same. Speaking Saatchi & Saatchi, the process begins when Account and Planner team meets the client. They will have discussion until they have agreed upon a communication objective. Subsequently, the team will brainstorm creative ideas internally. Those ideas will be presented for client’s approval. Then, the agency will produce and launch it.
JP shared with us that there are opportunities in advertising agency for fresh graduates. He said that the industry is very open because fresh graduates mean fresh minds that often offer good things. It is just that the industry is suitable for those who love problem solving and communications. The industry offers opportunities for people with design and non-design graduates. “I think for graduates without hard skill in design and communication, there are opportunities in Account Management and Strategic Planning. If you are passionate in wordplay, love to write and read, and of course knowledgeable, you are welcome to join the Creative team as a copywriter.”
As stated before, the industry is challenging especially with the growing competition between agencies. For you wanting to pursue a career in this industry, you have to know how to position yourself. Working in an advertising agency, you will work with client and the creative team. So, they need people who are curious, creative, open-minded, and analytical.
Jean Paul’s Two Cents
With five years working experience, it is no doubt that he has been through ups and downs. He also realized that working means responsibility is above everything else. You don’t always get the privilege to make mistakes when you begin your professional life.
To succeed, JP views the need to maximize the time in campus to gain more experience. “If you have time, try to take internships during every semester break. Perhaps you might want to read books about psychology in practice. My favorite author would be Malcom Gladwell. What you read from books sometime will be beneficial for you.”
Besides continuing to pursue his career, JP plans to have a business that uses his knowledge or other business related with advertising. We see how persistent JP is in building his career and being successful. He shared some of his favorite quotes that keep him motivated. The first one is, “The wolf is always scratchin’ at the door” by Dwayne Johnson. The second one is anonymous but we believe is a good message for all of us. “Learn from everyone, follow no one.”
Two standout Prasetiya Mulya’s graduates tell their exciting career journeys that have unlimited their potential and ability in Sampoerna.
© 2014 Prasetiya Mulya
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