Dentsu gives students the chance to break into advertising

By Ruby Derrick | 20 April 2023
Interns Tasmia Hoque, Nathan Wilson and Sophie Park with Alan Bayliss and Elise Elms.

University degrees sometimes concentrate more on theory than doing, staying in the classroom and away from the factory -- or art department -- floor.

Dentsu’s placement program for marketing students is aiming to fill the gap.

The internship has established a series of work experiences in media and communications, educating students on the theory and practice that drives media, creative services and platform and technology pillars.  

Jim Groves, managing director of Carat Western Australia, said an increasing challenge with career starters is their lack of an ‘open-book’ approach.  

“That made us think what if we were able to basically tap a pipeline of really smart people that were entering that career stage and bring them into our environment?" said Groves.

"Then using all the knowledge and tools to really give them that kind of foundational training in marketing, communications and advertising."

The intern program grew from this idea – to train those starting out in their career at Dentsu, with the real possibility of employment down the line. 

The eight-week program allows candidates to spend time with media partners, creative agency partners and clients; giving them insight into what it’s like to work in a global media agency.  

Dentsu partnered with the University of Western Australia to also fulfil the need for the tertiary education institution of steering away from solely traditional based learning and ensuring students were ‘career ready’ upon graduation.

Groves notes that this workplace-style learning experience is beneficial to the student in regards to making connections and identifying where their strengths and weaknesses lie.  

“It gives them a really good idea of the connection point between the skills that they're learning in that course and then real work,” said Groves. 

“Students get a clear understanding of what different avenues look like in that adjacent marketing space. It'really helpful because it also helps them identify what they might like to do as much as what they might not like to do. 

One reason the program has seen such success is the inquiring minds entering the internship from university, says Groves. 

There’s also been a really nice kind of community feel about how we've run the programme. I think that we've been able to get the support of our brilliant media partners, production partners and clients which has been phenomenal because that's meant that it's a really broad program,” said Groves. 

"Interns are going and spending time with the Nine group or with Seven West Media or they are going into a live radio production environment with 6PR.

They’re really understanding what it's like to be in that space. It's giving them the credibility which is then leading to really high recruitment levels as well. 

The talent war has been a real issue within the industry, with young people particularly vulnerable to inexperience in their first career move, recruitment scams and generally unsure of where to invest their education in order to learn the required skills in the workforce 

On broadening the talent pool, Groves said that people have assumptions of what they need in their workplace, but it’s about understanding what kind of environment they need to create to attract talent into the industry.  

The internship, in turn, bears the fruit for both parties.  

“You almost get the reverse feedback side of it where these interns are actually helping you understand how we create a future work environment that is right for the next generation of talent,” said Groves.  

It’s a two-way thing. That’s been really invaluable.” 

The placement program involves a rigorous application process, in which Dentsu run an apprentice-style program where individuals apply to participate, get shortlisted, interviewed and selected if successful.  

“On the day we shortlist, we run them through a program – a mock brief in groups, where they have to develop a mock pitch and present that back to the panel,” said Groves.  

“Typically, we go from 20 to a shortlist of four and then there's usually two spots to open up; we actually gamify that process, and that's been really powerful."

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus