When Ramesh (Narayan) Sir first interviewed me for the programme and gave me a small briefing of what I was to experience, I was intrigued and looked forward to the three days of training in utter anticipation of what was to come.
I did a lot of research on what to expect at the programme, but there was not much that I could come up with.
After attending the programme, I knew why exactly that was.
Because the Fast Track programme cannot be explained completely in words – it must be experienced firsthand.
But in the following summary, I will try to do as much justice as I can to what we learnt.
On day one, we were introduced to each other and I met the people with whom I would be taking a soul-searching journey with. My class included students from five countries – Malaysia, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and India.
To break the ice, we were asked to honestly tell one another what we really felt about them, based on three options – “I trust you, I don’t trust you or I don’t know if I trust you.” The objective was to instil honesty in our daily conversations and not have a ‘social mask’ that forces us to say ‘the right things, but not the honest things’. The task also brought to attention that human beings tend to judge solely based on appearance at first sight – something we should avoid.
Another eye-opening session was our trainer Shahnaz Shaikh’s talk on our ‘beaker of beliefs’ – where he explained that we fill the ‘beaker of life’ with beliefs we accumulate over time, based on experiences we have or people we meet. These beliefs are doing more harm than good because they led to pre-conceived notions that prevent us from making the most of good opportunities.
Our final task was to use the insights gained from the sessions to work on a mock client brief on either of two very relevant topics – “The balance between online-offline worlds today” or “How to make the world a better place for our children”.
The class was divided into groups and we were asked to make a presentation to very prominent members of Malaysia’s advertising industry like Mr. Sathi Anand, our mentor from Satchi and Satchi who assisted us with our presentation and also gave us a lot of useful tips on thinking creatively.
Another person we were very lucky to have interacted with is Mr. Bharat Avalani, from Unilever – an extremely inspiring person who related many tales of his life and career to motivate us.
Post our presentation we were allotted buddies from our class who are responsible for reminding us of our goals and the takeaways from the program.
All in all, the Fast Track Program, 2014 wasn’t just about a three-day activity. It was about life’s lessons that make us better advertising people.
(The author is a senior copywriter at Geek Creative Agency. She was among six young professionals selected and sponsored by the Advertising Council of India to attend the Asian Federation of Advertising Association’s Fast Track programme in Malaysia this July.)