Category Archives: AdGrads

Where are they now? Check out these profiles of graduates from the advertising program at Macleay College.

AdNews features Macleay Graduate Daniel Cutrone #MadeatMacleay


Daniel Cutrone thought he wanted to get into creative, but after graduating from Macleay College he’s found the sweet spot between creativity and science in the media world as head of investment at Match Media.

I always wanted to get into creative. Growing up I was always fascinated by the advertising industry, judging what I deemed to be smart creative messaging. After finishing school I looked into getting an education in marketing and landed a place at Macleay College.

To get my foot in the door I called all the top creative agencies, applied for all the entry-levels roles available, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. One of the students I studied with had landed a media assistant role and it was through those connections that I found myself in my first role at UM. At the time I still wanted a creative role and hoped I could do a sideways step into a creative agency, but after a few months I really started to enjoy media strategy and implementation and my dreams of working in a creative agency became a distant memory.

I’ve been head of investment at Match Media for just over six months and I get to work with a passionate, motivated and ambitious leadership team that keeps its values and vision close to its heart. I love the people, the pace of change, negotiations, the strategies and the implementation of plans within media, but it’s the sweet spot of creativity and science behind media plans that I underestimated. I found myself swept up in a role which gave me ambitious targets to achieve, opportunities to negotiate and trade, creative thinking and sophisticated tools to develop communication plans.

While I was at Macleay College I got a complete picture of the industry, including creative, legal, media, planning, production, so I gained a pretty good understanding of where media sat in the eyes of our clients.

Media and advertising is becoming the lifeblood of many major companies today. It is replacing the front door or bricks and mortar locations and therefore playing a much more active role for businesses. Today media provides more tangible business outcomes than ever before, when the change of a website or an outcome of a negotiation can impact ROI. It’s an exciting time to work in media.

Find out more about Advertising & Media at Macleay



Lexi Mounsey graduated from Macleay College with a Diploma in Advertising and an Advanced Diploma in Communications. In just two years, she’s made her mark and is already recognised as one of J. Walter Thompson’s Rising Stars, winning the agency’s internal award in 2015. She’s making it.

Ultimately, advertising helps drive behaviour change. That’s pretty powerful. Before I got into the advertising world I was studying a degree in physiotherapy and working at a little homewares store in Berry. I used to flog cushions and bamboo ladders all day. I enjoyed interacting with people and observing the way they’d make an intuitive decision, then post–rationalise it, and what do you know, it turns out there’s a career for that!

Advertising is the business of people, or emotions. A great ad has a great human truth behind it. Leave the brand or product truth out of it and there will always be an emotional element that resonates with people. It’s always important to be curious, a trait I honed while studying advertising at Macleay College.

So, try new things, read everything and watch everything, watch people, and watch their processes. If you constantly observe the world around you, you are better equipped to trigger inspiration for a great, unique idea that resonates with others.

I interned and learned a lot of lessons along the way, including that you don’t have to love every role in an industry. Once you graduate from Macleay College you’ll have a sound understanding of how the industry works, the different departments and what they do. So, between my studies and interning I landed a role as an account executive in a creative agency. If you’re not sure what department you want to wind up in, this is a fantastic role to pursue as you get full sight of projects from beginning to end.

Perseverance is the key to getting a foot in the door. I have a stack of cover letters to basically every shop in town, most of which I received no response from. Don’t let it get you down – research the role, the clients that agency holds, the history of the agency so you’re at the ready if an interview comes up at short notice.

If you don’t get it, drop them a note, let them know you’re passionate and curious – these two qualities are hard to teach, so let both be known.

Access to data, tech, and artificial intelligence means big things for advertising in the future. It’s fragmenting the ideas and making brands work harder for attention. It also opens up incredible opportunities, so it’s a pretty exciting ride ahead.

I experience things all the time that change my direction and I’m sure my big break as a CEO is yet to come!

Find out more about Advertising & Media at Macleay

Construction Work to Constructing Copy #MadeAtMacleay

I have fond memories of Ernie Ciaschetti in my Digital Design class back in 2014. He was a talented student and for a time there I thought he’d make a good Art Director but his love of writing won him over and I spoke with him recently about his new role as Copywriter for Saatchi & Saatchi.

Can you describe your new role at Saatchi & Saatchi?
I am a copywriter, so my day to day is either ideating or writing copy for a range of different clients.

What have been some of your career highlights since graduating from Macleay?
Some highlights include hearing a script I’d written on the radio for the first time, winning a pitch with my partner and getting a job at Saatchi and Saatchi.

What are your future career goals?
Win some awards and get a job in New York. We can all dream right?

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and how has it helped you get to where you are now?
To cut a long story short, I was working in construction with my mate Luke, he was studying his Diploma of Advertising at Macleay. He was about one semester in and was really enjoying it. I was over working in construction and Luke recommended I join him at Macleay. So I did. What attracted me to Macleay was the opportunity to learn about all different aspects of the industry from people who have been there and done it. It was their industry insights that not only helped me decide what position best suited me (copywriting), but also prepared me for the crazy world that is advertising.

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?
We went on an excursion to a printing factory- seeing all that machinery in action was something I’ll never forget. Also, working on a TVC for the National Indigenous Culinary Institute, being involved from the initial concept to the final TVC was really rewarding.

Jason Gemenis is a Digital Ninja and teaches Digital Design and Advanced Digital Design for Macleay College’s Diploma of Advertising and Bachelor of Advertising and Media.

How to get a job in an advertising media agency

The genesis for this post comes from a comment by David Haddad, Managing Director at UM, made recently at the Media Federation Australia (MFA) ‘Lecture the Lecturers’ forum. When asked what advertising media agencies seek in the skill set of entry level graduates he said: “at UM, we look for candidates with the potential to become business analysts”. Sounds reasonable, but what exactly is that? Moreover, which skills are required to be a business analyst?


Macleay College advertising graduates Amanda Florence (Starcom Mediavest Group) and Carlos Alcantara (Magna Global) have both successfully launched their careers in the media sector of the advertising industry.

The Federal Government, in the form of Minister for employment, Michaelia Cash, recently released a CSIRO report last entitled “Tomorrow’s Digitally Enabled Workforce”, you can read it here. The report is timely, as it outlines the megatrends for jobs over the next twenty years and the skills required by employers.

So, if you’d like a job in an advertising media agency, the first thing to do is read the report, soak in the implications for you, undertake a SWOT analysis of your position and develop a strategic plan. Having done that, you will get a job in an advertising media agency. That said, let’s take a look at two of the reports megatrends, specific to advertising media agencies and the skills you can acquire now to ensure you are a quality candidate.

Megatrend 1

Big data and technologies ability to crunch the numbers mean that artificial intelligence (AI) will more efficiently perform tasks than humans more and more. In Media, this is called Programmatic. This means that the only jobs available in the near future will be ones where AI cannot replace humans. In advertising media, that means having the analytic skills to go into a business, identify problems and provide insightful solutions. That is what David Haddad describes as the business analyst.

Megatrend 2

The increasing use of automated systems together with low skilled positions being offshored means that positions available in Australia are complex and highly skilled. Entry level graduates require a higher skill level and a wider repertoire of skills than ever before.

The CSIRO report identifies ten new skills and mindsets needed for graduates navigating the future workforce. There are three, which are of particular importance to anyone aspiring to a career in advertising media

Skill One

New capabilities are needed for new jobs of the future. Sara Varnell a digital strategist at SMV, remarked at the MFA forum “we are so often looking for candidates with skills which have only been required by the market in a very short space of time. There aren’t many people with the skill sets we need when we need them”. For the sake of brevity, those skill sets will not be outlined in this post. However, if you want a job in an advertising media agency, call the following people, ask them what skills they are looking for and add them to your personal strategic plan.

Elissa Good-Omozusi – UM

Martin Cowie – OMD

Pauly Grant – Zenith Optimedia

Skill Two

Digital literacy is needed alongside numeracy and literacy. Put simply, being on Instagram is not enough. You have to know the back end of a plethora of platforms in the digital space. My advice, learn to code.

Hate maths? No good at it? You need to move on and live in the now. There is a massive shift in the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). This is where employment growth is occurring and there is great demand for agency for candidates with skill sets in these areas. Go to a night class, buy the book and work your way through it, at the very least wrap your head around excel, it’s fundamental.

I know, you know how to write. No, you don’t. Well, if you came first in the year in HSC English Extension Two, then yes you can write. Otherwise, not. Writing in the agency is a highly developed and sophisticated skill. Those possessing the talent have usually been mentored and groomed. Therefore, go to the Garrett, fire up that laptop and begin. Being a good writer is one of the skills that agency business directors constantly lament the dearth of talent into me.

Final Thoughts

So, there it is. The skinny on how to get a job in a media agency. Now you have a sophisticated piece of research available to you which can lead you along the right career path instead of down a blind alley. You have a couple of megatrends that you can surf and take advantage of ahead of the game and lastly, you know which skills are hot in media right now. May the road rise up to meet you.

Advertising Lecturer, Lianne Lewis

AdGrad wins JWT’s ‘Rising Star’ Award

We are thrilled to announce that the Macleay College advertising graduate Lexi Mounsey has won the JWT ‘Rising Star’ award. From her first position as an Account Executive, she has rapidly proven herself and most recently stepped up to become an Account Manager at J Walter Thompson, one of the world’s leading advertising agencies. Congratulations Lexi, we are keen to hear where your journey takes you from here. And now a few words from Lexi herself:


“I started at J. Walter Thompson in May 2014 after finishing the Bachelor course at Macleay. After a 3 month stint travelling South America, the job hunt was on and lasted all but 1 week before landing an Account Executive role on the Kellogg’s account. Working across all mediums, and getting constant exposure to creative work kept me passionate about the industry and the work. This curiosity was rewarded when I received the ‘Rising Star’ Award for 2015. I’m learning something new every day, from people whose ideas are simply incredible and incredibly simple.

A year and a half later, an opportunity came up as an Account Manager in the agency and I transitioned into the role and my amazing new team at the start of 2016. “

Neil Duncan, Business Director at Leo Burnett

Neil Duncan started his education and career in advertising by studying Marketing and Management at Macleay College. Ten years on he is now managing business at one of Australia’s leading advertising agencies.


Where are you currently working and what do they specialise in? 

I’ve worked at Leo Burnett since graduating from Macleay 10 years ago. We’re a creative solutions company which means, while most of our work is advertising, we aim to help clients with their business problems beyond the scope of traditional advertising. An example would be developing a new product to open up a segment in the category or a packaging innovation to make an existing product more profitable or differentiated to its competition.

Can you describe your role at your current job?

I’m a Business Director in the Client Services department which means I’m responsible to the client, and within the agency, in making sure that we’re delivering the most effective, and most creative, solutions to our clients problems. No day is the same; but every day has key focuses across brand & communications strategy, creative development, production of creative ideas and overall project management and financial accountability.

What have been some of the highlights at your current job?

In 2013 we launched an internship program with long-time client Diageo called The Nest which provides several interns a year the opportunity to get 12 weeks paid work experience in both a creative agency and marketing team. The program allows passionate young people to get first-hand experience in the industry and hopefully help them answer the age old question – which side is for me; agency or client? 

I’ve also worked with some brilliant, highly successful and all round good-people in the agency and as clients which has made my job a lot of fun.

What are your future career goals?

I aspire to be a respected business leader in a top creative agency. Leo Burnett has been home to me for almost a decade and I see myself using a leadership position in an agency like (not like, hopefully) Leo Burnett to ensure the future of our industry is given the same opportunity, inspiration and support I was given. It’s a great industry and I hope more young people get to experience it like I have.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and how has it helped you get to where you are now?

I wanted to study a foundation to business and marketing but I was also keen to get into the work force as soon as possible to learn the skills on the job. Having proved I had a base of knowledge and relevant experience after graduating it made getting a job a whole lot easier at a young age.

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?

There are two aspects which I believe, even more so now after 10 years, set Macleay out from other colleges. The quality of the faculty and just how passionate they are in seeing the success of their students and the focus on practical experience as part of your education. I was fortunate enough to work for one of Australia’s top maritime associations culminating in a week long trade show which was a lot of fun. This was a great experience to have when looking for full-time employment after graduating.

Macleay College is now offering a 2-year Bachelor of Advertising & Media

Daniel Koublachvili has a cool head for stats

Daniel Koublachvili came to Macleay College as a talented creative guy with only a vague idea of the direction he wanted his career to go in. The foundation education in marketing and creative advertising was the ideal launching pad for him to become a creative analyst. In addition, Daniel was the designer of our now infamous naked AdBare!


Where are you currently working and what do they specialise in?

I’m currently working at 1000heads, a global advertising agency that specialises in word of mouth conversations.

Can you describe your role at your current job?

I work with both numbers and creativity. I’m in charge of analytics and create reports of how our brands are doing on social media. I also work with graphic design and develop campaign ideas. So I would say I’m an Analyst/Designer.

What have been some of the highlights at your current job?

Creating content for big brands and having that work shared online – such an amazing feeling! Going up against other agencies and winning pitches from your own ideas. I would also say learning the number’s side of the job has let me understand how important market and brand insights truly are.

What are your future career goals?

I have studied graphic design, analytics, front web development and advertising. Now I would like to grow all these skills and add more! I’ve worked in startups before and love the entire mentality of it. So eventually I would like to start my own business.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and how has it helped you get to where you are now?

I was guided to Macleay by the simple thought ‘that if you want to be successful, why follow the herd?’ If everyone goes to university, why aren’t they all successful? The environment you’re in an important thing, especially when you’re learning. It was great having industry professionals teaching me, and to be out there gaining work experience while you study. It was also great having smaller classes, and not be in a lecture theatre with hundreds of other students. Macleay offered me all of this, and because of that type of learning environment I was able to treat college not as a place to study, but as my workplace.

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?

Having to do an actual pitch in front of a client within the first couple of weeks of starting college, was such an intense and immersive experience. On top of that, what made it amazing was knowing that this is something I want to get better at – and hopefully be able to command rooms when pitching ideas.

Another favourite memory was giving a speech for an assessment task on a very nerdy topic, and having my lecturer commend me for selling an idea and getting people hyped on a topic they know nothing about. 

Also I can’t forget the discussions we would have – in every class!

Will Edwards, Associate Creative Director at JWT

0f94445Will took some time out of his commerce degree to try his hand at something more creative. Completing the Diploma of Advertising at Macleay College was the beginning of a very interesting and very creative career. Look where he is now.

Where are you currently working and what do they specialise in? 

I work for JWT Sydney. They do pretty much everything in the realm of advertising. But they also aspire to do ads that don’t look or feel like ads, so we do a lot of that too.

Can you describe your role at your current job?

I’m an ACD, which could mean many things. A crafty dude. A critical demander. But it actually stands for Associate Creative Director. I run Kellogg’s which is one of our biggest brands. My role is to bring brands sales success through disruptive means across all media channels – in layman’s terms, I get people to eat more cereal. 

What have been some of the highlights at your current job?

The recent work for Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain. We took an iconic brand and revolutionised it. The ‘Unstoppable’ campaign lifted sales and got teens talking about the brand. Plus I got to meet some truly inspirational people along the way – who wouldn’t want to meet a blind surfer?

What are your future career goals?

I aspire to come up with big ideas that change the world for the better. I’m for doing good because I think society needs bold disruptive thinking to fix the issues we face.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and how has it helped you get to where you are now?

I took time off from my double degree in commerce/computers to study something less mentally numbing. After week one, I got hooked on the thought of coming up with ideas for a job. The rest, as they say, is history.

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?

The highlight for me was presenting ideas in the TV commercials, radio and copywriting components. When I think back, my ideas were absolutely woeful but I had fun coming up with them and that’s all that really mattered.

Macleay College has just launched it’s new 2-year Bachelor of Advertising and Media. 

Advertising’s brave new frontiers

Check out advertising’s exciting (and somewhat unexpected) career opportunities.


Social Media Coordinator Callam Hanks, and the dog he made famous on social media “Poncho the Pug”

Ever since the Internet came along, the way we advertise things has been changing at an astonishing rate. The rise and rise of content driven social media advertising and now, app oriented mobile advertising can take your breath away if you are not holding on. But with these exciting new broadcast mediums comes a whole swagger of new employment opportunities for young people wanting to get a break and carve a career out for themselves on the forefront of advertising’s brave new frontiers. Now longer solely the realm of art director’s, copywriters and account managers, advertising now offers exciting new job opportunities at the coal face of new media and their associated technologies. Young graduates are finding employment as social media coordinators, digital designers, user experience strategists and content producers – job titles that were unheard of 10 years ago. And they are exciting about it. Andy Wright, co-founder of “For the People”, and regular on the Macleay College industry advisory panel, when asked to put together a new creative team of an art director and a copywriter, came back with “It would be more forward thinking to combine a strategist with a technologist. You will get a much more innovative result”.

Social Media Coordinator

The recent advertising graduate and northern beaches local Callam Hanks, wanted to upgrade his graphic design qualification to become an art director in advertising, but on the way he took on the pub courtyard challenge of making his dog, Poncho the pug, famous. He launched his own social media campaign primarily over Facebook while he was studying adverting at Macleay College, and before he new it, he has scored a social media coordinator position at Australia’s leading digital agency SOAP CREATIVE. Click here for more of Callam’s story

Digital Content ProducerAdvertisingVideoStills_Graduates_JamesMcInerney

DJ and all-round talent James McInerney knew life could offer him more than just his nocturnal, throbbing, head-phone wearing night job, so after reskilling through the advertising course at Macleay, he landed himself a position as a content producer with KONTENTET, combining his abilities as a strategist in steering concepts and developing creative ideas, with his know-how in getting things done as a producer. James has been making videos and great (and fun) content ever since.

Click here for more about James James McInerney went from DJ to Content and Strategy Producer.

Digital Designer

JamieAstleyDance teacher Jamie Astley wanted to channel her creativity into an second career pathway, and after getting her teeth into Adobe’s creative suite digital software, found herself graduated and working as a digital designer for Lowe-Profero. First job, for famous communications brand – and an overseas trip for the briefing.

 User Experience (UX) Designer

KeanEdwardsKean Edwards was a bit of maverick while studying advertising at Macleay College, he excelled in both the creative and account management subjects, and now finds himself working in User Experience at the Sydney agency Razorfish. What really drew him to UX was the blend of strategic and creative thinking. UX is all about really understanding the needs, goals and pains of the customer – so you can create an experience (whether that be a microsite, website or app) for users that actually solve their problems.

Why this is important (and exciting) for young people looking to start (or kick-start) a career, is that advertising offers so many new and somewhat unexpected career opportunities. Advertising is no longer just about flogging a product. Now that we’re seeing technology and content coming together under the guardianship of marketing, career opportunities in advertising are popping up for storytellers, entrepreneurs, technologists, social media addicts, gamers, bloggers and courageous people who love to think outside of what we know. So all you ambitions, creative, quer-thinkers out there, please introduce yourselves.

Ian Thomson is Head of Advertising at independent education provider Macleay College and has previously worked across Europe and Australia as an award-winning freelance creative and director.