My First Year in Media

Michael Neville

2017 was a big year for myself and Manning Gottlieb OMD as it was the first time the agency had taken on apprentices and I am grateful to be one of first.

Prior to the Apprenticeship

Having completed my A Levels at Harris Academy Falconwood I realised that University wasn’t for me. I was itching to get into the working world rather than studying for another three years so my quest to find an apprenticeship began and let me tell you I had competition! I had set my sights on an apprenticeship in banking/insurance however after numerous interviews in that sector I realised it wasn’t for me.

It was then I discovered Arch Apprentices who offered a wide range of apprenticeships in IT, Data Analytics and Digital Marketing. After reading some job descriptions and having a few interviews at OMD International and at MG OMD I knew this was the career path I was meant to be on. I had two interviews at MG OMD before I joined the Digital Activation team.

In the beginning…

The media industry is full of acronyms, CPM, CPV, KPI, CTR, SEO, DSP, SSP and I can ensure you when I first heard these terms I was confused to say the least… I think most media apprentices would agree with me. After the first week of my first ever job, I realised how fast-paced the working environment was and that I needed to step out of my comfort zone, dust off my GCSE Excel skills and begin to learn the ropes as a digital buyer.

There are four stages in a campaign. Briefing, planning, buying, reconciling/reporting. Between my small team we have 10 clients to look after and the first stage I was taught was reconciling. Reconciling is the last stage of the process where we check if the publishers have delivered the total amount of impressions we had booked with them. Reconciliation is a very important process that needs to be carried out correctly, we pride ourselves on transparency so it is imperative this information is correct. Following this, I was taught how to read and book plans onto the system for clients such as Renault, Mitsubishi and Sony Pictures. Following my apprenticeship, I am looking forward to taking on full client responsibility so that I can learn the briefing and planning steps in more detail.

My development

Since working at MG OMD I can say that everyone I have come into contact with are friendly and are always willing to take time out their busy schedule to help me learn new skills.

Throughout my 15-month apprenticeship I have completed a variety of courses that have helped me understand certain areas of the industry I struggled to grasp (such as programmatic advertising). On top of all of this, Manning Gottlieb OMD offer supplementary training throughout the year for almost everything ranging from Excel training to presentation skills. My favourite training course to date was the Google Planning & Programmatic training days at their London Victoria office.

In addition to this training, every Friday morning we have a meeting where media owners come in, supply breakfast and present to us what services their company offers. I value these meetings as it gives me scope as to how many different advertising services are out there and how we can use them differently for each client to achieve KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

If I had to choose one skill in which I have improved the most is my time management and organisational skills. I have learnt how to manage my working day by taking a moment out of my day to write down all of the tasks that I have to do and rank them in order of priority – this is usually based on deadlines. Afterwards I work through my list one job at a job at a time. In the past I have tried to tackle multiple jobs at once and quickly found when I get to the end of the day I am more confused than when I started! On top of this I have learnt to be flexible, reprioritising when additional jobs come in throughout the day.


Working in media is fun. My first Friday at MG OMD I was asked to man the beer bike. Being the shy character I was at the beginning of my apprenticeship, I was reluctant to ride the bike around the office however, in the end, I did. Looking back, I am glad I did this because it helped me introduce myself to many people in the agency that I currently work with and help be more confident approaching new people. Also, regular lunches with media owners have helped me develop my social skills, allowing me to network and build relationships. A few of my favourite social events since I have been at MG OMD include playing football at the Southampton training ground, watching England play at Wembley and the Whatcar Car Awards 2018!

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Overall looking back over my first year at Manning Gottlieb OMD I can confidently say it has been the quickest and most enlightening year of my life. I believe I chose the best path to kick start my career in media and would highly recommend to anyone who is given the opportunity to work as an apprentice in Omnicom to take it!