"One week you may need to know the in-depth process behind whisky distillation, and the next week you’ll be learning about Biodiversity."

Volunteer in the Spotlight - Pete Jackson

Volunteer in the Spotlight is a regular feature that highlights the alumni that help current students achieve more. Pete Jackson (MSc International Management 2007) works in Advertising Strategy in London. Read about his career and why he volunteered at the University.

Tell us about yourself and your line of work

My line of work is Advertising Strategy, and I’m currently at an agency called Mr President, based in London. My job involves helping companies to solve their business problems using creative thinking.

Can you briefly describe your career journey to us?

Advertising is really tough to get in to. After interviewing at a gazillion agencies I got my break at Gyro International, based in Chelsea. I was their first ever Junior Planner, and bizarrely got to travel to and from Azerbaijan, helping to re-brand one of their biggest mobile telecommunication companies.

I left Gyro in 2009 for the standard mid-twenties travelling experience and returned a year later to work for Holler Digital. For 4 years I led the digital strategy for their blue chip client, Red Bull, creating campaigns with FMX bikes, Cliff Divers and Formula One. After an amazing time at Holler I left to join my current company Mr President and develop my brand strategy skills, to add to the digital strategy and market research skills I acquired at Gyro and Holler.

What is it like working in your role? What do you enjoy the most?

Strategy is great because you get to acquire knowledge for a living. One week you may need to know the in-depth process behind whisky distillation, and the next week you’ll be learning about Biodiversity. Also, being surrounded by insanely talented people who make you belly laugh.

What are your top tips for anyone who wants to work in your field?

Know your stuff. Get the list of winning campaigns from the Cannes Lions website and watch every case study video. Apply to all the graduate schemes and get your applications in early. Target every agency you think makes great work and call them up for work experience opportunities. When you get your chance, bully your way in to the Planning/Strategy department. Be relentless, be hungry, you’ll definitely be rewarded in the end.

And finally, what inspired you to volunteer your time to help Exeter students?

When I was at Exeter I always appreciated the former students that came back to deliver lectures. It was reassuring and inspiring to hear that Exeter alumni go on to have interesting careers. Also, I like talking about what I do – especially my time with Red Bull.

Date: 28 July 2015

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