Leo Burnett successfully completes third Masterclass programme for industry interns

Leo Burnett Solutions Inc., (LBSI) the local office of the global advertising network Leo Burnett Worldwide, recently completed its third Masterclass programme for 13 industry interns. The intensive five-week internship which is heralded as the only programme of its kind in the industry, culminated with a graduation ceremony which was attended by the agency’s senior management and several partners of the programme.

Present at the graduation ceremony were Ranil de Silva, Managing Director, Leo Burnett Solutions Inc., Kumudini Gomes, Director People and Culture, Leo Burnett Solutions Inc., the Executive Committee of the company, and the interns’ buddies and mentors from the agency team.

The marketing communications industry in Sri Lanka struggles to attract fresh talent into the diverse roles that are available in the industry. Although the next generation of young professionals are aware of advertising as a career, they don’t have an understanding of the various opportunities that exist within the industry, and therefore they don’t consider pursuing a career in advertising. The Leo Burnett Masterclass programme, was created to provide the upcoming generation of professionals with valuable exposure into the marketing communications industry. It is hoped that this exposure will pave the way for the next generation of communications professionals to enter the industry.

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This year, 13 young people from varied backgrounds and different concentrations of study, were selected for the programme. This group of interns are mostly undergraduates who are pursuing degree programmes at prestigious institutions such as Lingham University – Hong Kong, ACBT, Royal Institute (affiliated with the University of London), the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the National School of Business Management and the Sri Lanka Institute of Technology. This internship programme was also strengthened this year by the participation of a variety of industry partners, which includes TV stations, digital design companies, research agencies as well as production and event companies. The interns also had the opportunity to work in a cross-section of departments at the agency ranging from creative and media, to brand management, brand planning and public relations to digital, activations and events. To support them through the learning process, each intern was provided with a mentor and buddy who guided them throughout their internship.

The carefully mapped out programme enabled each intern to obtain a better understanding of the industry and its diversity. During the final week of the programme, the 14 interns were divided into four teams and were assigned a project brief, to which they had to respond within 48 hours. The final presentations were judged by senior agency members. During the course of the programme, the interns also had the opportunity to have several discussions with Ranil de Silva, Managing Director of Leo Burnett Solutions Inc. (LBSI) and Kumudini Gomes, Director of People and Culture, LBSI. During these discussions, each intern was able to express their interests and gain counsel with regards to their professional interests.

Commenting on the success of the third Masterclass programme, Ranil de Silva, Managing Director, Leo Burnett Solutions Inc. stated, “Today we are challenged with recruitment. It is difficult to attract bright young talent to pursue a career in marketing communications. As an industry leader and a trailblazer, we at Leo Burnett took it upon ourselves to champion this cause. The Leo Burnett Masterclass was designed to attract the brightest young talent interested in our industry and to spark a passion within them to consider a career in marketing communications.”

Also commenting on the programme, Kumudini Gomes, Director People and Culture, LBSI stated, “Since its inception three years ago, the Masterclass programme has been very active and has been an important part of the People and Culture programme at Leo Burnett. This programme is completely tailor-made to suit each individual intern’s interests in our industry and we believe that it will bring fresh and new talent into the agency in particularly, and to the industry at large. I would like to thank the several partners who readily joined us in our efforts to provide these interns with a holistic learning experience.”

Tavisha Pathiraja, one of the Masterclass interns stated, “The five weeks that I spent at Leo Burnett have been full of excitement and enjoyment. It has definitely been one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. I’ve been able to use my knowledge and the training I received from my mentor and respective department heads, to come up with creative solutions for the numerous challenges which I faced on a day to day basis. I’ve come to understand what it’s like to work as a team, to be able to listen to one another and agree to disagree. Leo Burnett has allowed me to make some great new friends, learn from the very best in the industry and it has allowed me to understand what it’s like to work in the corporate world and in this very dynamic industry.”

Navvid Mushin, one of the Leo Burnett Masterclass interns stated, “The Leo Burnett Masterclass programme has been an unforgettable experience. Having the opportunity to work with a diverse group of individuals has given me a valuable insight into the advertising and marketing communications industry. I have been fortunate enough to experience the unique culture that is prevalent at Leo Burnett and it was most enlightening to learn the importance that the agency places on simple human insights. The Masterclass programme does not limit itself to those who only have marketing degrees, as an International Relations student, I found the programme extremely useful. I have developed a new found passion and enthusiasm for Leo Burnett and the marketing communications industry.”

Over the years, Leo Burnett has built many powerful brands and meaningful partnerships with its clients, whilst delivering gratifying results and gaining peer recognition in the industry. This year the agency celebrated its 16th in Sri Lanka whilst the global company commemorated its 80th anniversary. As Leo Burnett looks ahead to the future, the agency remains dedicated to developing new ideas inspired by HumanKind – Leo Burnett’s philosophy which is rooted in the belief that creativity has the power to change human behaviour.