I got it wrong

We have our faculty meeting twice a term at the SCA, to discuss how students are doing and debate how we can do better. Moving through the items on my agenda, I mentioned that our Interview Days would no longer be online-only, as they had become during COVID. From March, we would give candidates the choice of coming to London and being with us live or joining us online.

Deanna raised her hand and told me that our current selection process is less inclusive than we would want it to be, and explained why.

Every graduate of the SCA will remember their 4-minute presentation at their Interview Day. There are famous stories, occasional red flags, water cooler moments and much more. This links to a video we used to send candidates when they won a place at Interview Day and explains what we were looking for.

Mike recognised what Deanna was saying and immediately brought it home to me in one simple statement, “I wouldn’t have had the bottle to do the SCA Interview Day.”

Mike is one of the most brilliant creative leaders I have ever met, with the authenticity to lead that comes from having consistently achieved goals throughout his career, from awards won, to agencies run. He’s also an introvert.

We needed a new process to identify the oddballs that Campaign Magazine once brilliantly described us as, without losing any introverts.

That’s why, in March 2022, thirteen years after the first Interview Day, broadly following a similar process hundreds of times, endured by thousands of candidates, things will be very different.

Candidates will spend the whole day with us, either in London or Online. They’ll have a couple of workshops with some of our faculty, hang out with our students, and relax into our environment. 

This excites me hugely, because it means that we can offer ‘taster days’ to people who would have no idea about what a Portfolio School teaches, let alone what it feels like to take part in a class. For example, we can invite people in local schools and colleges to hang out with us for a day to get a taste of what it feels like to do a day’s creative work.

When candidates spend the entire day with us, either in London or online, they can’t help but be themselves. Our selection process was always about trying to understand the essence of each human in front of us. The new format is going to be much better for that.

I’m going to miss the four minute presentations, because honestly there have been some crazy moments. One guy brought a suitcase of used dildos and an assortment of soft-centered chocolates. I can’t remember why. People have shaved their hair, got tattoos, danced naked, made cocktails, made omelettes, made roulette brownies in which some contained hash, made us cry, made us laugh, made us scared.

But to be honest, all that behaviour can wait until you become a student at the School.

Thank you Deanna for always knowing what to say, and when to say it.

I’m so pleased that the School will feel more welcoming to a wider constituency of creative talent.  

There are seven Interview Days left before the next cohort is full. So, book your 15 minute call with me now to earn your place at Selection Day – especially if the old selection process held you back in the past.


*More about Copywriter Mentor and Poet, Deanna (Rodger) here and find out all about Strategy Mentor and award-winning ECD, Mike (Nicholson) here

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