At 18, Rachel Chin Pik Yee is already an Assistant Project Coordinator of Creactive, an advertising agency run entirely by students of Institute Advertising Communication Training (IACT) with the advice of their lecturers.
“From the first day of class, I was given the opportunity to interact with real clients, come up with proposals and market ideas to them,” says Rachel who is pursuing a Diploma in Advertising from IACT.
Rachel and three other close friends - Lam Li Hua, 18, Danny Tan Ju Ngian, 18, and Ezra Low Yung Yau, 18 – are scholarship recipients of last year's Star Education Fund.
As part of the six semesters (two and a half year) diploma course, these students are required to take on various designations at the agency including managerial positions, copywriter, art director and strategic planner.
“Although we don't get paid for our ideas, we learn a lot through our clients' feedback and criticism as well as useful tips from our own lecturers,” adds Rachel who will be graduating in 2005.
“The agency runs like any other advertising agency where projects are developed based on an oral or written brief by the client. We're the only college in Malaysia that has its own advertising agency,” says IACT executive director Lee Kok Leong.
Apart from Creactive, the college prides itself in providing hands-on experience for its students through three months of practical training with various international and local advertising agencies, public relations consultancies, media and marketing organisations. Agencies include Ogilvy & Mather, Publicis, and McCann-Erickson.
“This field rewards merit and not seniority, therefore people who work hard and gain lots of experience will obtain good salaries. That is why IACT emphasises practical work to enable students to gain experience,” he says. Student projects include the concept for Glitters (an outlet in MidValley Megamall), and ideas for Nestle's sales promotion campaigns.
Specialising in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), students are taught to use visual and multimedia elements as tools in advertising, public relations, broadcasting, and event management.
Lee explains that spending RM16,000 for the entire programme is value for money given the kind of exposure and experience students gain by the end of the programme.
“We are very focused on marketing and communications, and do not simply conduct any courses under the sun. Therefore, students get quality education on the whole,” he says.
Chin adds that classes are comfortable, being limited to about 20 to 40 students per class, with up-to-date equipment to cater for their lectures and assignments.
Students undertake various subjects, including 3D Visualisation and Animation, Web Design, Computer Graphics, Graphic Design, Professional Media Selling, Copywriting and Marketing Management.
SPM school leavers who complete the diploma programme require only a year of study overseas to earn a degree from affiliated universities in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States.
Upon completing the course, students are awarded two separate diplomas, which are the Diploma in Advertising and Diploma in Marketing Communications.
“This is because our programme has been accredited by the International Advertising Association in New York, a worldwide organisation that represents the common interests of advertisers,” Rachel says.
Excited to embark on a career as a Project Coordinator, Rachel and her friends are positive about their future.
“With experience gained at IACT, we might even consider starting our own agency one day and making it big in the industry,” says Li Hua who intends to pursue a career in public relations.
Aspiring to be a creative director, Yung Yau says he does not regret stepping into the industry, as “business, IT and accounting did not appeal to me”.
“I wanted to try something unconventional and different and this course in advertising allows me to do so,” adds the high achiever who scored 10As in the SPM examinations.
Founded and endorsed by advertising industry professionals such as the Malaysian Advertisers' Association and the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia, IACT has produced more than 1,000 graduates in its 10 year existence and currently has 500 students.
This year, IACT is offering six scholarships worth RM96,000 under Tier Two of the Star Education Fund for SPM or STPM school- leavers to pursue the Diploma in Advertising.
The scholarships cover the fees for the entire course.
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