NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In a sign that portfolio schools are trying to beef up their digital chops, the Miami Ad School has teamed up with digital shop R/GA for an in-agency training program.
Dubbed the Greenhouse, the program serves as a bridge between a school and an internship. Each quarter, students are asked to give faculty their top three agency choices, and based upon their portfolios and academic experience, the school's top candidates are matched with shops.
Since its inception in 2001, the Greenhouse program has enabled students to work with a variety of shops around the globe, from Ogilvy, Paris, and Saatchi & Saatchi, London, to Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Boulder, Colo., and Lowe, New York.
Addressing educational concerns
The partnership with R/GA -- which last month was named to Ad Age's Digital A-List -- represents the first time the Miami Ad School has teamed on the program with a digital agency.
It also signals a step to address talent concerns in ad circles, as top portfolio schools have at times been criticized for lagging behind when it comes to digital education, overemphasizing traditional advertising methods in their curriculum.
"We asked R/GA to partner with us on the Greenhouse program so students could experience what it's like to work in one of the most-awarded interactive shops in the world," Pippa Seichrist, president and co-founder of the Miami Ad School, said in a statement. "R/GA has been creating groundbreaking brand experiences for its clients since before our students were even born." The agency, which is owned by Interpublic Group of Cos., does work for blue-chip clients such as Walmart, Nike and Nokia.
A glimpse of the next generation
For 10 weeks, small groups of students who qualify for the Greenhouse program will get their feet wet working within agency walls. Those who are placed at R/GA will spend time in the new San Francisco office, which opened its doors in May.
Students work closely in weekly classes with Mauro Cavalletti, executive creative director; Peter Cole, technical director; and Ryan Denning, group director, to learn the inner workings of the digital-advertising industry. Among other things, student residents will have the chance to sit in on new-business pitches and will deliver concepts for local clients, such as the Golden Gate National Park system. If approved, the concepts will be implemented. Additionally, work created in the program will be entered in D&AD and One Show student competitions.
According to the Miami Ad School, there's also an upside for participating agencies: a "continually renewed source of fresh thinking" and "a first glimpse of the next generation of creative talent."