Marketing and commerce students gain advertising agency experience

experiential education SAS students
Prof. Pallavi Sodhi, Ping Lun To, Selina C., Tiana N., Marco F., Sanjov Jagota (President/CEO, Nature’s Source), Karina B., Anton Y., Tanya S., Jacky Li (YorkU SAS Alumni and Student Mentor for class), Suraj P.

Eleven students from York University’s School of Administrative Studies (SAS) in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (LA&PS) learned first-hand about the inner workings of an advertising agency through Advertising Unlimited, an industry event created by the Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA).

The event took place in January, and the participants were either current students of the new Live-Client Learning Marketing course or enrolled in other courses in the marketing certificate, marketing minor or Bachelor of Commerce program at SAS.

experiential education SAS students
Prof. Pallavi Sodhi, Ping Lun To, Selina C., Tiana N., Marco F., Sanjov Jagota (president and CEO, Nature’s Source), Karina B., Anton Y., Tanya S., Jacky Li (SAS alumni and student mentor for class) and Suraj P.

Professor Pallavi Sodhi, who teaches the fourth-year Live-Client Learning Marketing course, recommended that her students apply to Advertising Unlimited for a unique opportunity to experience a day at a leading ad agency. Those selected for this exciting event come from various disciplines and range from students to professionals.

“The Live-Client Learning Marketing course is an innovative case-led program, which is focused on bridging the classroom with the boardroom. It aims to prepare students to enter the fast-paced, real world of marketing,” said Sodhi. “Being able to tackle real-life marketing challenges, interacting with senior marketing leaders and demonstrating their skills is a one-of-a-kind opportunity that students rarely get to have before graduating.”

She also said students get a taste of what working for a company is like – two teams compete and present their marketing solutions to companies to win awards and accolades and, potentially, internships.

Sodhi’s marketing course is different than what students will find at other institutions.

“There are other case-led programs in universities, but they evaluate only marketing or business skills and competencies,” she said. “What is unique about this Live-Client Learning Marketing course is that it tests students on their marketing and presentation skills as well as cultural fit. It is important that experiential programs drive both the tangible and intangible elements of being in a workforce.”

Advertising Unlimited is one forum outside the classroom that Sodhi believes, from her years of experience in the agency network, is an amazing and enriching opportunity for students to receive a better understanding of the career path that may interest them.

“From my own experience as a coach, and having worked in the corporate marketing world, I can advise students about the agency operations and what they can do to make their candidature attractive for an agency employer,” she said. “But I feel it is even more valuable for students to experience first-hand the environment within a company – in this case, an advertising agency. As part of the selection into Advertising Unlimited, students had to answer a series of questions about advertising, which they had either learned about or needed to give their opinions. Based on their interest, the selected students were placed in an ad agency for a day.”

Student Tiana Noce, who is enrolled in a marketing certificate while majoring in Communication Studies, said the experience gave her the opportunity to visit the Sid Lee creative agency, where she was given a deeper understanding of how the agency world functions.

“I had my questions answered and learned about the departments that I could potentially see myself working in,” she said.

Student Selina Cozzupoli has struggled her entire four years at university with whether to follow a career path focusing on her film major or her marketing minor.

“I visited Open Advertising Agency, where the employees gave us a deeper understanding of how an agency functions and the job positions within the company,” said Cozzupoli. “I am extremely grateful for this experience because now I know which path I am going to take after I graduate and how to achieve my goal.”

The Institute of Canadian Agencies is the not-for-profit association for Canadian advertising, marketing, media and public relations agencies. Their mission is to amplify, protect and transform the agency sector through advocacy, awards, community, consultancy, insight, networking, research and training.