Roberto Lastra, 27

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Roberto Lastra's career track has taken him from the soccer fields of Mexico to the creative department of Goodby, Silverstein & Co., with a pit stop at the Miami Ad School.

Mr. Lastra, 27, landed a copywriter slot at the San Francisco agency after getting his master's degree from the ad school in 2003. Before that, he abandoned college to spend two years playing pro soccer in Mexico.

He sees the importance of an ad education at a time when bottom-line-oriented agencies are cutting back their training programs. "People don't have time to teach you" on the job, Mr. Lastra says.

To stay on the cutting edge, the Miami Ad School has partnered with hot shop Crispin Porter & Bogusky, including a name change to CP&B Miami Ad School.

The main challenge facing these fledgling adfolk "is to stay hungry and keep inventing," says Pippa Seichrist, president and co-founder of the school. "The answers keep changing. It's not like calculus. Embrace change."