Getting ahead in the media world

Michael Donohoo Michael Donohoo talks about his experiences on the GroupM ‘M Grad Program’ and how it has helped him as he starts his career.

In the latter half of 2014 I was in my last semester of university. The finish line was in sight and a decision had to be made about post-university life – my career.

I had studied marketing, but a few burning questions remained: how do I get a start in such a competitive field? How do I build my future career?

As I pondered these questions, I was lucky enough to be offered a recommendation for GroupM’s M Grad Graduate Programme. And fortunately, my application was accepted. Looking back I was excited about working at the largest media investment group in the world and enthusiastic about the learning opportunities that lay ahead.

Together with other eager graduates I started the 10-week MGrad Programme where we were greeted by an engaging and passionate management team and energetic staff. Throughout the 10 weeks, The M Grad Programme gave me a well-balanced perspective of the complex media industry, coupled with unique and practical experience.

The programme was divided into two parts:

(1) Training took place on Mondays and consisted of media planning, data intelligence, media partnerships, search, social media, strategy and pitch workshops. All of the workshops were interactive and team orientated with a hands-on approach. In addition to the workshops, we were given the opportunity to visit the offices of Facebook, Google, News Corp and Southern Cross Austereo. Inside the fortress at these organisations, we gained detailed and insightful understanding into their platforms, the benefits of their mediums and how they work with GroupM.

(2) The practical experience and internship component took place on Wednesdays and Thursdays to fit within my university timetable. Sure, it was a challenge balancing the graduate programme, my thesis and other responsibilities at UNSW, but the learning and extensive knowledge I gained would prove invaluable. Personally, I relished the internship days because I put the knowledge gained from Monday’s training into practice on existing clients and current campaigns.

Once the 10-week programme was up, I was definitely prepared for full-time work. I was eager to start and the graduate programme had given me the tools I needed to thrive and excel within the media agency environment.

I commenced full-time work a few weeks after the programme as a strategy & insights analyst at MEC. No two days are ever the same as my role and tasks are always shifting. Whether it’s industry and brand investigation, defining the selected consumers, better understanding consumers’ media habits, social and buzz monitoring, finding trends within data, determining specific media touchpoint effectiveness, brainstorming media strategies, unravelling the purchase journey or responding to briefs, it is always significant and decisive work that helps guide critical investment decisions.

So far I have worked with clients such as Allianz, Colgate Palmolive, Nestlé, Netflix, Paramount Pictures and Tigerair.

Having worked at MEC for eight months now and contemplating my journey, I have certainly been on an enjoyable ride and steep learning curve. This seamless transition from university to my chosen career was greatly assisted by The M Grad Program.

My advice to other students or graduates contemplating a career in marketing and media is very simple. If you are finishing your degree and looking for that next step into this dynamic – and competitive – industry, come and visit The M Grad Project at Mumbrella360 and hear about The M Grad Programme’s unique training and practical experience.

  • Michael Donohoo is strategy & insights analyst at MEC

The M Grad program at Mumbrella 360 is part of a commercial arrangement with Group M. For more details and to register click here.


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