Leo Burnett Beirut Summer Highlight: “Leo Academy”, A Fruitful & Successful Internship Program running for 8 consecutive years

In its 8th edition this year, Leo Academy trains and builds the next generation of communication experts in different fields of the agency

The Beirut office of Leo Burnett completed this August its three-month Leo Academy program designed to provide undergraduates and graduates with a rigorous learning experience about the insights of the communication industry in a globally-acclaimed agency

Coming from different fields and backgrounds, interns are placed in a function of the agency that best suits their interests and profiles. They complete a four-week program where they work with an assigned mentor on different high-profile projects, gaining valuable knowledge and skills. The mentors are highly involved in developing and maximizing the interns’ learning experiences and providing them with practical information about their field of expertise

This on-the-job dynamic approach allows participants to grow and cultivate their talents in different sectors, including communication strategies, brand management, production, market research, event planning, and creative development.  Interns thus have the chance to understand how different capabilities within Leo Burnett operate, from brand strategy and creative, to project management, event organization, media relations, and client interactions

Commenting on the mentor-mentee relationship, Mohamed Karim Atoui, who recently completed an MSc in Strategic Marketing at Imperial College London, mentioned: “What I saw in my mentor, and in all Leo employees, are passionate individuals with amazing talent. Thanks to their tireless drive and guidance, I was able to not only learn practical skills about the industry, but was also inspired to embrace creativity and independent thinking in all aspects of work and life.”

In addition to work with their Leo mentors where interns interact with clients on different ongoing projects, they are also given an independent practical and live brief to work on, throughout their stay at Leo Academy. The interns are grouped into teams consisting of individuals of different skills and disciplines, in what constitutes a “mini-agency”. They are then provided with a real client brief, for which they have to develop a campaign from start to finish, including research, design, and implementation. At the end of their stay, the work is presented live to the agency lead team and respective client for approval and possible implementation

This dual approach to the program allows for both guided learning and independent development of the interns’ skillset. Consisting of only 20 spots each month, the selection process is highly competitive, with only the most highly qualified applicants making it into the program, which lasts four weeks during one of the summer months running from June to August. This multidisciplinary program thereby offers them a well-structured yet interactive chance to walk in the shoes of Leo employees and engage with professionals in the field

When asked about her time at Leo Academy, Myriam Aoun, a fresh Economics graduate working within the communications department at Leo Academy, stressed on the following: “This internship is like no other I have ever taken part in. We are not treated like interns, but rather as Leo employees and future leaders in the field of advertising. Every day brings new challenging tasks, but the experience and skills I have learned in my month at Leo Academy will stay with me forever and benefit me in my career tremendously”

Maria El Maya, Manager of People & Culture, spearheads the program and practically lives the day-to-day experience of Leo Academy interns: “Every year over the summer, Leo Academy allows us to discover great talents with very versatile backgrounds and interests. The upcoming generation of marketeers has been positively surprising us by bringing fresh perspectives, a forward way of thinking about the challenges our clients face, and demonstrating a great entrepreneurial spirit”

Carol Isabella Hanna, Regional Director of People & Culture, commented: “In his parting address to employees upon retirement, Leo Burnett set out the guiding principles his agency ought to follow. Among them was the belief that creative spirit and the urge to create can never be delegated and administered, but can only be nurtured, stimulated, and inspired. Leo Academy enshrines this belief and spreads our culture of influencing behavior through sheer will and creativity. We hope to continue this successful program aimed at nurturing key Humankind skill-sets into the next generation of leaders in the industry”

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