What are you here for?

Welcome to the Chicago Portfolio School.

I've taught several quarters here. Maybe 8 or 9. I forget.

I've seen a lot of students. Some very, very good. Others, completely forgettable. I wonder which you are.

I’ve had former students get jobs at Crispin and Cutwater. I’ve seen them appear on Adcritic.com and listed in Adweek’s Ads of the Month. I’ve bumped into them at award shows. A couple of former students do the “What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas” work. I’m proud of them. And I stay in touch with them. They left this school with really, really, really good books.

I’ve also had students who give up. They take jobs at direct mail agencies designing junk mail. Or write small copy for sales brochures. Or leave the industry altogether and get into real estate. They wanted to work at Wieden or Goodby. They wanted to win One Show gold pencils and appear in Creativity. But they left this school with books that wouldn’t get them those positions.

The difference? Here it is:

The one’s who succeeded worked harder.

They came to class with 30 great ideas instead of four. They wrote 100 fresh headlines instead of rewording the same one over and over. They tried new layouts instead of falling in love with their first idea. They listened to their professors instead of trying to drum up rationale for an idea that was killed in class.

They listened. And they worked.

Your competition isn’t just in your class. They’re in ad schools in Richmond and Atlanta and Miami and New York and LA and Minneapolis. They’re working hard. Are you? When your portfolio sits alongside theirs on a creative director’s desk, which one’s going to win?

This is the time for your to work. And work hard.

Because if you don’t put in all the effort now, when will you?

So go to work. That’s what you’re here for.