The story of going from #adkid to #adprofessional

Since starting my placement five weeks ago, the most frequently asked question from my friends and family has been: What is the difference between being a student and being in an actual agency?

In the awesome Advertising and Marketing Communications program at Algonquin College you learn things like IMC plans, InDesign, promotions, and everything in between. The program gives you the best fundamentals and knowledge, but the three years are only the beginning of a life of advertising knowledge.

Three of the biggest differences I have noticed since working in an agency are:

You get a desk

This may seem trivial, but it’s not. No-sir-e-bob. Having a desk is like having a little part of something big. Having a desk in an agency gives you a place to work every day. You get to say things like “leave it on my desk” and “I’m going to drink this coffee at my desk”. This makes the whole agency real life employee thing seem real. Your desk is where the best ideas will hit, where you will respond to hundreds of emails and where you will put in countless hours on projects, helping thousands of businesses succeed.

Co-workers compared to co-students

In an agency you are working with the greats, people who know what they are doing and how to succeed. You watch the greats to learn their techniques. You are surrounded by the best of the best and get to learn how to achieve success. That is one of the best parts of entering the agency world – in school you’re working with your peers, in the real world you’re working with experts.


In school you aspire to the biggest best possible ideas. Yet, you still deal with limitations. Million dollar budget here, unlimited budget there, and so on. This is GREAT for creativity, but less so for practicality. It was always so easy to say: “I’m going to throw an event and 3,000 people will show up”. But, we never actually threw the event, so no one ever asked how many people showed up. In an agency results matter, you have to prove your claims.

School life and agency life may have their differences but they share one very common factor, hypothetical or not, you always try to come up with the best idea for the client.



Maggie Rose Muldoon is a media intern at Acart Communications. Have a question for her? Tweet her @Magatha_Rose

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