Earlier this year we kicked off an programme geared to find the absolute best talent available in South Africa. And that’s exactly what we found! We asked four of the tertiary institutions we have a longstanding relationships with to participate in the first ever Ogilvy Graduates Programme.

Students from the University of Cape Town (Business Science Marketing), the University of Johannesburg (Marketing), the University of Pretoria (Visual Communication) and Red and Yellow School of Logic and Magic (all faculties) were really put through their paces.

Their challenge was to create and manage, in four months, a blog on any subject and in any language, that demonstrates not only a sound knowledge of target audience and engagement tactics, but the kind of groundbreaking ideas that would impress a selection panel comprising some of the most creative and business-minded people in the industry.

In addition to the blog entries, judged by O&M South Africa leadership and a member from the faculty of the respective institution, candidates were evaluated holistically for aptitude and experience, among other criteria. Finally, shortlisted entrants were invited for interviews to assess their interpersonal skills and culture fit.

Our panel got to meet 12 of the brightest young minds stepping into the creative industry this year. We were inspired by the passion and creativity of Liesle le Roux, Kyle Sparks, Gina Lodewijks, Jessica Foce and Michael Stopforth. Angelique Bandolini, Simone Carter, Tshepo Chaka, Caprice Montepara, Keren Schwartz, Glen Bvuma and Stephanie Baker blew us away with their knowledge and strategic thinking. Go follow them, read their blogs and keep an eye on their undoubted rise to superstardom.

It took a lot of deliberation, but finally our two winners were chosen:

Tshepo Chaka, a UJ Strategic Communications student whose blog aims to inspire a culture of entrepreneurship amongst South African youth, says he most enjoyed the interactive use of various social media platforms.

Michael Stopforth, a Visual Coms student from UP, blogs about his continued efforts to become superhuman. He draws comics and believes that everyone should get off the couch and go do something new.

Our winners will continue to blog as they embark on a customised six-month training and rotation programme designed to evaluate their skills and aide their transition into the industry. On identifying their particular niche and areas of strength and passion, with guidance from peer and senior mentors, the candidates will be permanently placed in one of the Ogilvy divisions.

The winners will be introduced to all the advantages of a vibrant, creative culture, stimulating encounters with people drawn from all walks of life, training sessions, exposure to the major sub-disciplines, and the opportunity to network and fine-tune their skills within the company.

We’re super happy to welcome Michael and Tshepo to Team Red and we’re sure they’re going to fit right in.

For more on the programme, visit the site and be sure to keep an eye out for the 2013 edition!

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