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Advertising and marketing professionals sometimes carp that university advertising programs aren't turning out graduates with the skills needed by today's agencies and businesses. Now they might ask: Is the shoe on the other foot?

Surveys of recent graduates from pioneering integrated marketing programs at the University of Colorado and Northwestern University show they've been attracting employer interest precisely because they've been schooled in the new mantras of marketing synergy and relationship marketing.

Now it's the graduates who are sniffing that some employers-notably ad agencies-are behind the curve. Said one recent Northwestern grad: "I felt most agencies just aren't enlightened enough. They don't realize the importance of the information highway." He went to work for an advertiser, Sony Corp. of America, after considering-and deciding against-pursuing an agency job.

Of course, college grads will still swamp agencies with applications. But agencies, and marketers, are seeing a new breed of men and women coming into the business: young "media-neutral" professionals who bring a skeptical attitude to the old "givens" of marketing.

That's a positive sign for marketing organizations eager to embrace new ideas. But it's another indication agencies and other marketing service providers have to work harder to earn and maintain the confidence of future generations of client managers.

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