Professor of Advertising: Paul Springer

Paul Springer, Director, Communication Design at Falmouth University draws up the portrait of a successful student in advertising

Paul Springer
Director, Communication Design Falmouth University

Point of View: Professor of Advertising

What are the skills, interests, and personality traits necessary for a student to be successful in a marketing and advertising program? Why are these important for students to have?
Skills: ability to be nimble and have an active interests in other disciplines and how they connect to communications. In this day and age it is important to be able to meet and talk with people in other sectors on their terms.
interests: at least two passions - that don't have to literally connect. The depth of knowledge and networks that a deep interest brings will open doors that would not be apparent to an outsider.
traits: open-minded and an ability to be able to spot opportunities in other disciplines.

Why these are important: the communications sector is amorphous, and the current era of change afforded by digital makes opportunities to shape something new and different. You are only in a position to exploit this opportunity if you are aware of other sectors and have the active skills to bring different areas of interest together. Communications skills ability to network are crucial in this respect.
What is the most rewarding part of a career in the marketing and advertising field? Why should students pursue a career in this field?
Rewarding: becoming a pioneer of something new, as the professions are undergoing their biggest changes in over sixty years.
for a student career: students are inhabiting technology in a natural way, and are best positioned to reconcile how technology, communications and branding opportunities can come together in a natural homogeneous way. they do not need the step change that late adopters to digital require.
What advice would you give to students who are considering earning a degree in marketing and advertising?
Learn the principles, rules of problem-solving and the contexts for communications as they are useful reference points. But do not feel you have to follow the past.

it's a truth that the current pioneers of communications in this era - the generation of students now - will become the communications history case-studies for generations to come
What can students applying to advertising programs do to increase their chances of being accepted?
Show that they have core skills - concepting, drawing, developing an idea - but more importantly, that they have a passion for the subject and really want to be challenged, to learn and think differently.
How can prospective advertising students assess their skill and aptitude?
By speaking to and having book reviews with junior and middle-weight advertising practitioners.

These are relatively recent graduates who can remember what its like to start out, but are best positioned to spell out where students are in their learning journey.
Are there different considerations for those who know that they want to specialize in a certain area?
Yes - it is easier to shape briefs to develop specific skill sets if you know what format and medium you're going to target.
What factors should prospective students consider when choosing an advertising program?
The networks it brings

how it guarantees a first foot on the ladder. Can the program guarantee a job at the end? Good programmes tend to. Poorer programmes rely of students finding their own.

you get a feel for the type of environment and teaching that inspires you - go with your gut instinct. Don't just go on reputation - the program is more likely to fail you if you do.
What further advice can you offer to prospective students thinking about an education and career in advertising and marketing?
It's a chance to grow in a sector that is going through a massive change. Your career won't be dull, and if you rise to the challenge your reputation will be cemented.
How do you use AdForum within your program and how useful is it ?
As a point of reference - a snapshot of best practices right now, and where the industry is at.


Paul Springer
Director, Communication Design Falmouth University