The suit: the liaison between the client and the agency.
That’s all I knew of what it meant to be an account manager at McKim Communications Group. Although I was accurate – apart from them actually wearing suits – I have learned there is a lot more to the position than I could have ever prepared myself for.
While ‘account manager’ may sound very serious, the job demands an outgoing personality and sense of humour to keep up with the assortment of characters who make up this advertising agency. It’s anything but boring. Projects that require video shoots, photo shoots, and radio recordings demonstrate that agency life is not your typical office job. Instead of sitting at a desk all day, you’re on location watching a project come to life.
In my head, I had worked up a scenario where the account team only ever bumped into creative at the occasional staff party. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that each project is a collective effort between account managers, creative, strategy and media from start to finish.
As McKim has shown me, it takes a team of people with all different talents to deliver a project of high calibre. As an advertising student at Red River College, it was satisfying to see the hypothetical situations of the classroom actually happening in the industry. Brainstorms, briefs, check-ins, and pitches are alive and well in an advertising agency such as McKim. And although that may not come as a surprise to some, there was a small part of me that wondered if what we have learned in school would translate into work in the “real world.” It did.
There are things, however, that I wasn’t prepared for. I’m not talking about the morning I set off the alarm, or the afternoon I locked myself in the emergency staircase. What school doesn’t prepare you for is the dive-in-head-first mentality. But in my opinion, there is no better way to prove yourself than demonstrating how you act under pressure.
To summarize my experience, I have put together a short list of my findings on what it takes to be a successful account manager at McKim.
- Power walk. In the first week, I realized my normal to moderate pace of walking just wasn’t going to cut it. Somewhere a docket bag was waiting to be distributed.
- Check your emails every fifteen minutes, as you will have 30 new emails to read and respond to by that time.
- Keep organized. In one day, you will have worked on a number of different accounts, each with different project scopes. Colour coordinating is your friend.
- Maintain genuine client rapport – people want to work with real people.
- Learn Excel.
A big thank you to everyone at McKim for your patience, kindness and welcoming during my time as intern!