It’s the “first-of-its-kind” interface between an industry body and an educational institution, and it’s happening right here in Calcutta. The Advertising Club, in its 50th year, has tied up with St Xavier’s College for a ‘foundation course’ in advertising, with a “blend of theory and practical experience”.
The aim of the club, says president Roshan L. Joseph, is “theoretical inputs and hands-on experience to create a product that is both saleable and useful”. And for the students, according to Father P.C. Mathew, principal of St Xavier’s, it is an attempt to provide a “human and ethical face to advertising in today’s consumerist world”.
The six-month, daily course, commencing on August 20, will follow a set curriculum designed by both the college and the club. The plan is for 90 minutes of academic theory in marketing and management, followed by 90 minutes of first-hand advice from individuals in the industry. There will be projects all through the course, as well as work experience in companies, and the end result will be a certificate.
“In the beginning, our professors will conduct the academic lectures, but eventually, we want people with more experience in advertising to teach the students,” explains Father Mathew. The focus, he says, will be on making it a “value-oriented vocational course”.
It is open for all graduates or those in their final year, from any college or university in the city, but for a price. For outsiders, it’s Rs 15,000, and for Xaverians, to start with, it’s Rs 10,000. If the experiment with the first batch of 20 students is a success, then the plan is to make it an annual feature.
“We had planned a three-year degree course in advertising, which we condensed into six months, under the University Grant Commission’s 10th plan, which allows for vocational courses. Then, Ad Club came forward, so we decided to do it with industry professionals,” says Father Mathew.
“I can’t think of any commodity more advertised than education. But it is becoming harder to sell, because standards are going down. We want to give students the opportunity to learn about an industry as vast as advertising,” he adds.
Eleven students, from St Xavier’s and other institutions, including two on scholarships sponsored by the club, have already registered. “We are confident that those who do well will be incorporated by agencies across the country,” Joseph concludes.