Adweek’s Guide to Droga5’s D5in10 Academy

An illustration of an employee presenting to others in a conference room environment.

This is part of Adweek’s series covering agency scholarship programs. As agencies continue to face a talent shortage, many recent graduates or retrainers are looking to break into the industry. Here, we cover programs for entry-level marketers at top agencies. Read the full series.

This week, Droga5 opened applications for its D5in10 Academy, a competitive yet free course taught by Droga5’s top creatives.

The course begins on March 15 and extends over ten Wednesday evenings. Students will gather at the creative agency’s office at 120 Wall Street in New York City to learn advertising fundamentals and build their portfolios.

D5in10 is not technically an internship or scholarship program. It is an alternative to expensive advertising school programs that usually cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The agency expects to accept over 20 applicants for the free program and typically receives over 300 applications. Executives turn down applicants who already have higher-level formal training in advertising as well as anyone who has worked as a creative before. But people in the industry who want to change disciplines are welcome.

“One of the things we noticed was that everyone got into the business the same way. They did a two-year program, usually after college, and it was a portfolio-building program,” Kevin Brady, executive creative director at Droga5 told Adweek. “We thought, ‘How many amazing people don’t have $70,000 we’re missing?'”

Almost all of Droga5’s Executive Creative Directors and some of its Creative Directors teach the course. Students can expect college-style lectures, group discussions, and take-home assignments that culminate in an eventual presentation to agency management. The founder and president of the agency, David Drugattended the last.

Eunie Jang, artistic director of Droga5, told Adweek that the program put her on the “fast track” to elevate her creative career, and it was a life-changing experience. Jang had worked at the agency as an engagement and inclusion coordinator before entering the program. This allowed her career to become an art director.

“I was offered an art direction internship upon graduation from the D5in10 program, which then became a full-time art direction position. And I’ve been a designer here for almost two years now,” she said.

Although the program is educational in nature and does not lead to full-time employment with Droga5, Brady confirmed that he has already hired program participants.

“We hope people come out of this with the beginning of a portfolio, or at the very least a better understanding of advertising and how they can pursue it further,” he said.

TLDR: Find out program details, including how to apply, in our Q&A with Droga5 below. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and style.

When did Droga5 find the program?

2017.

How long does the program last?

In 10 weeks, we’ll describe the basic principles that Droga5 employees use when creating the bold, creative work that Droga5 is famous for.

What does the program pay?

There is no financial compensation for participating in this program. D5in10 selects over 20 high-potential creative candidates who haven’t had the luxury of attending postgraduate advertising school. This is a free and voluntary learning experience.

How many fellows does Droga5 plan to hire for each class?

As much as we can; we also set them up to be hired across the industry.

What percentage of the most recent Droga5 cohort is historically underrepresented?

In 2022, we had 20 students: 70% of the class were racially diverse, 25% of the class identified as LGBTQIA+, and there were 14 girls and 6 men.

Is a college degree required for this program?

No.

How long does the application process take from start to finish?

Candidates must answer six questions.

What does Droga5 require of candidates as part of the hiring process?

An advertising portfolio is not required to apply for the program. Candidates just need to show us who they are, in a creative way. All entries will be carefully reviewed and approved, then forwarded to a panel of creatives for final selections.

When is Droga5 hiring its next cohort?

Applications opened on January 23. Readers can apply by visiting the academy website. The program starts on March 15.

Is there a program you would like us to know about? Please contact olivia.morley@adweek.com and complete our survey to tell us more.

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