The Media & Branding committee was delighted to receive an invitation from our partner, GroupM, to visit their office and see what the company is all about. Hannah, the Chief Visual Marketeer, and I, the Chief Digital Marketeer, took a trip to the company’s office at Amsteldijk and had the pleasure of chatting with Anne Smit, the company’s recruiter. 

Before diving into the nitty gritty, let’s talk location! The office is situated alongside the Amstel river; lavished with modern decor and amenities such as a fully-stocked cafeteria, a coffee bar (serving mouth-watering brownies), and an exclusive sky bar on the 9th floor, it more so resembles a resort than a corporate building.

The building itself serves as a hub for all of WPP’s subsidiaries. WPP is a creative transformation company. It develops transformative ideas and outcomes for its clients by integrating services encompassing communications, experience, commerce, and technology. WPP serves as the parent company for GroupM’s media agencies (i.e., Mindshare, MediaCom, Wavemaker) and Greenhouse, its brand and performance agency. WPP’s main goal is to maximize the performance of media communication agencies on behalf of their clients and stakeholders. They operate as a parent and collaborator in performance-enhancing activities such as trading, content creation, sport marketing, finance, and proprietary tool development.

GroupM is the leading global media investment management company operating within WPP. It’s a young, dynamic, and ambitious company where thousands of (young) professionals work for clients in leading market positions. These clients include  giants such as Unilever, KPN, and ING.

Surrounded by great coffee, 360 panoramic views, and sunlight (on that particular day at least), GroupM’s magic happens on the 6th floor of the building. As a leader in the field of advertising – responsible for one in three ads globally – GroupM deals with a range of advertising aspects. These include: content creation, data analytics, strategy implementation, and brand safety assurance. To say the company is a Jack of all trades would be an understatement.

With such an outstanding impact in their field – and renowned clients such as IKEA and Netflix – it’s no surprise that fresh graduates flock to the company for employment opportunities. When asked about the qualities GroupM looks for in potential employees, Anne went on to explain that “in terms of soft skills, you really have to be informal and social … these would be very useful for the Friday drinks. But if we look at hard skills, I’d say being analytical and ambitious are key. Patience is important as well, because if you start in a position, you’d really have to be an expert in that position before you advance onto the next tier. Being able to manage projects is crucial as well, as there’s a lot of coordination involved. Yet, if I were to choose just one very important quality, I’d say it’s being analytical.” 

While some of those qualities can be inferred from one’s CV, the interview process reveals a lot about a potential employee’s ‘fit’ in the company. GroupM oftentimes conducts a series of interviews for potential candidates, thus leading to confident, unanimous decisions amongst employers. Anne gave us more details about the staged interviewing process. “Most of the time, the first interview will be conducted by a recruiter and the hiring manager. Sometimes, the hiring manager’s interview is separate from the recruiter’s interview. After this, a final interview is conducted with two senior employees.” The interviewing process, however, differs for more executive roles, wherein additional steps are required for job candidates. Fortunately for us students, we don’t have to worry about that (yet). “For the media executive role, for example, there’s a case study that is to be completed after the two rounds of interviews,” says Anne, “this would test things such as a person’s numerical skills and other such ways of thinking.”

If you are – or want to be – immersed in the ever-changing field of advertising and media, it’s essential that you continuously upskill and enhance your current abilities. Thankfully, GroupM has got their employees covered. We continued our conversation with Anne by talking about the educational opportunities GroupM has to offer. “We have GroupM University, which provides both digital and face-to-face trainings. These trainings can be both within an employee’s field of expertise, but also outside it. For example, one could receive training about content even though they’d normally work in analytics. Every employee, both new and established, can choose to be part of these trainings. That is, of course, if they’re able to manage their time well.” she chuckled. And so did we. We bonded; time really is a luxury for both students and employees.

Speaking about shared experiences, it isn’t just employees that can benefit from all that GroupM has to offer. Us students can also dip our toes into the company’s pool of success. GroupM often hosts inhouse days, allowing sneak-peeks into what potential colleagues do on a day-to-day basis. On the 14th of February, they’ll be hosting an inhouse day exclusively for MAA members (yes, you heard that right: exclusively!). This inhouse day will kickoff with an introduction about WPP’s and GroupM’s scope, followed by a series of presentations from WPP’s partners and Kantar Media (a research organization within the WPP building). A Q&A session will then ensue, where all curiosities about (working for) GroupM can be satisfied. Eventually, the lucky attendees will put their thinkingcaps on and work to solve and present a business case project, which will yield a final winner. The evening will then culminate with well-deserved networking drinks.

So far, we’ve discussed GroupM’s work persona, but there’s more to the company than meets the eye. Their fun side is just as salient. It’s not all about hard work and continual upskilling at GroupM. Quite the contrary, actually. The saying “work hard, play hard” is just as pertinent as ever in this case. The perks of being a part of this corporation are plenty; from weekly rooftop boxing sessions to Friday drinks, the company understands the importance of fostering a sense of unity amongst its employees. The parent company, WPP, upholds the same values. WIRED is an organization powered by WPP that focuses on creating networking events and activities for young professionals across all of WPP’s agencies and Kantar Media. Such events include winter parties, intercompany galas, drinks, and training sessions. Opportunities for networking – in a lighthearted and informal way – are endless within GroupM and WPP. 

Convinced? Mesmerized? In awe? So are we! If you’re interested in GroupM, join their in-house day on the 14th of February! To be part of their creative family or get to know more about them, check out their current available positions on Jobvite here, or visit their website!

By Derya Yildirim & Hannah Radtke