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Monday, 21 May 2012

How it feels to be a Young Blood at TBWA\Vietnam

In my last undergraduate year, I wanted to look for an internship opportunity that is different. I didn’t want to spend my time doing what an intern usually does since there is little for me to learned during a few months in a company without getting involved in the real work But there weren’t a lot of choice, as it is rare for companies to invest much of their time and resources in the development of their interns. But then, I found TBWA, and what they were offering couldn’t be overlooked. Because TBWA was not offering a simple internship, they offered a creative jumpstart called “Young Blood”, a program that was very unique even from the first glance. How can you ignore something sounded so interesting?

When TBWA’s general manager, George Nguyen explained to me and my fellow students about the program, I was impressed with the effort TBWA had put in for it. The part that was most intriguing for me was the fact that the Young Blood program is also a competition in which only the winner will be guarantee a position afterward. The Young Bloods will also be given real works and be treated as real employee. With only the exception of a monthly paycheck, this program couldn’t be any cooler.

Me, my friends and all the question about Young Blood

I was bombarded with a lot of questions about being a Young Blood. Most of which involve the program’s length, the salary level and why did I decided to apply. I like to scare them off by shooting straight away the idea of “6 months, no money”. It was fun to see how most of my peer reacts. They all widen their eyes for a big “really?” and end with “But you will learn a lot”. The program has generated a lot of interest in my university and it seems like the only thing that still hold most people back is because this was the first runs, so a lot of them are still waiting to see how well we will be doing. But in the end, everyone would agree that this program is a great idea, and for that, I am proud to become one of the first Young Blood.

TBWA Office and Working environment

TBWA\Vietnam’s office is impressive and is a great working environment for me so far. That was also the case for many other people. More than once I’ve seen clients walk in and put on an amazed look, seeing our office’s garage style sliding door, the over the top decoration, or the catchy slogan on the walls. It won’t do the office any justice just talking about it, as one should see the whole thing experience it. This is one of the most comfortable offices I have ever been in. I could actually sleep over here if the need arise (I am not sure if security allow that however). I am provided with almost everything I need to work as a creative. But most importantly, the atmosphere at TBWA is friendly, open and full of energy. You can actually turn your head and talk to the far end of the office. Everyone is open for question. And because of that, I know that I have a lot of opportunity to learn even more than I need.

But for any office, the essence of the company is certainly created by the personality of the individuals who work there. And this office is nothing short of an amazing surprise for me. Although the people who work here are mature, harden professionals who have had their share of experience and time in the industry. But they all somehow feel so much younger than they really are. Was the advertising industry and the creativity surrounding their work that make them young, or was it the open and friendly nature of the place that had help me feel closer to everyone? I’d like to think that it is both.

Coming every day to TBWA office has been like an adventure to me. It is unpredictable, filled with up and down. The work tempo in TBWA is certainly pretty much what you expected in an advertising agency. Days that are filled up with work suddenly ended with a period of boredom from having to wait for more work to coming. And when the work flooded in, everyone become so busy that we all seems to forget we even had those boring days that come before. For me, the best thing about being a creative here is I get to be involved in the whole creative process. Starting with a brief and all the way till production, I can see my ideas evolve and develop into something real. I might not be able to have hit a great idea every time, but it is very nice to know that I am able to. Seeing everyone else working at their best is very inspirational. Looking at a senior who stay till late to finish their work had teach me a lot about being committed to the work that I do, and being passionate about what I love to do.

The Bosses

The supervisors at TBWA are great, reliable mentors. My executive creative director, Patrick, is a calm and soft-spoken man who will soon demonstrate that he is very reliable in judging how practical your ideas are, using his years of experience. You just simply learn to trust his advice and decision in most cases. On the other hand, our general manager, George Nguyen, seem to be the exact opposite of Patrick. He is an emotional man who is truly passionate about advertising. His skill in dealing with people is certainly one of the best I’ve seen, a perk that can be gained through years of trying, failing and learning, I assume. With George motivates and backing us up while Patrick guides and refines our creativity, I am sure great ideas has been and will continue to be born in this office.

In a nutshell

Being a young blood has been an amazing experience so far. There has been more up than down in my time here. Even though I am just half way through the program, I believe this has been a great experience for me and I would recommend this program to anyone who’s considering entering advertising. Working at TBWA has been very rewarding for a fresh graduate. I have been presented with the opportunities to learn so much about how the advertising industry runs in Vietnam. If I win the position, it would be great of course. But even if I don’t, I know that one day I’ll be back for more TBWA coolness.

Tai Chung
TBWA\Young Blood