The Big Book Crit - Naveen Kirby's Success Story


The Big Book Crit is back this Spring and, due to coronavirus, we're taking it online for the first time ever throughout May 2020, so that aspiring creatives don't miss out while they study at home.

Run in collaberation with the Graeme Robertson Trust, the Big Book Crit helps aspiring creatives break into the industry, but don’t just take our word for it.

We caught up with Naveen Kirby, who attended a Big Book Crit in Manchester in November, and got a job at McCann Manchester after meeting copywriter, Steven Gormley, there.


Q. Firstly, tell us about your experience of the Big Book Crit

A. Although I really wanted to attend the Big Book Crit, I initially tried to talk myself out of it due to being quite nervous. Then, two DMA Talent representatives got in touch, and encouraged me to go. I’m so glad I did end up going because I got my first industry job off the back of it!

It was my first proper experience of a portfolio event, so I didn’t really know what to expect or how to prepare. DMA Talent sent me some really helpful tips and I did some additional research, and, having done a Master’s in Creative Advertising, I had some solid creative pieces to show. Some were text heavy assignments, so I redesigned them into more simplistic visual formats that would look more creative but still demonstrate my strategic thinking.

When you arrive on the night, you’re sat at a table with a few others. The professional creatives from agencies in the local area then rotate around the tables (like the speed dating of advertising) so you get chance to speak to all of them.


Q. Would you recommend aspiring creatives to attend?

A. I would highly recommend the Big Book Crit to anyone interested in a career in the creative industries. Even if you’re interested in data, strategy or other areas of marketing, you can still showcase your creative thinking. It’s definitely worth attending because you never know who you will meet.


Q. What advice would you give to someone attending the Big Book Crit

A. The most important advice I would give, would be to not worry or get anxious. It’s a really relaxed atmosphere and the professional creatives aren’t judgemental of your work. They want to help and guide you to be the best creative you can be.

I would also say that you need to be proactive on the night and in the days following. I got as many contacts as I could and made sure I contacted them straight away. Following up on your promise to contact someone is not only polite but is essential to your future relationship with them. In fact, one of the creatives said that I was the first to email him, which obviously left a good impression on him, as I ended up getting a job as a result.


Q. How did attending the Big Book Crit lead to you getting your current job?

A. As part of the Big Book Crit, copywriter Steven Gormley from McCann Manchester critiqued my work. He told me to email him, which I did the next morning. He passed my name on to the recruitment team at McCann and within a week or so I was offered two weeks of work experience. A few weeks after my work experience had ended, I was asked by the Head of Strategy to come in for an interview, with the possibility of a job role being created for me.

Following that interview, I was given a creative brief challenge, where I had to research and find insights for one of our clients, which culminated in a brief designed for the creative team. I then had a second interview and was offered a job following that.


Q. What is your current role, and are you enjoying it?

A. I’m a Junior Planner at McCann Manchester and I’m loving every second of it. It’s a very fast past environment but I’m adjusting to the role. I started during the coronavirus crisis, so have definitely been thrown in at the deep end, however, I’m learning quicker than I ever could have hoped for.


The Virtual Big Book Crit will run throughout May 2020 and you can find out how it works and register for a virtual crit by clicking here.

Register for a virtual crit here

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