Ian Sutton

BA (Hons) Marketing

UK
Owner & Director, Milestone

Briefly describe your career history to date:
When I left Stirling, I got a job as an Account Executive with a Marketing & Sales Promotion Agency in High Wycome where I worked on promotional campaigns for Kodak, Pepsi Cola and Volvo.  I continued my career advancement to Account Manager, with both the APA Group and Paul Baker Associates, before I took a slight sideways step and managed a band for a year.  In 1995, I founded Milestone with one of my former colleagues.  Milestone is a brand communications agency, based in Beaconsfield.

What attracted you to this career?
I have always been interested in creativity, art, design and business. I started a business studies degree because thought it would be good for a career. In those days design wasn’t really considered a proper career. I quickly realised the marketing part of the degree was for me. I also studied psychology which was very interesting and relevant to design and marketing. I got a summer job in a local agency who offered me a full time job when I graduated. 

How did you get into your current job?
I had always planned to start my own agency business and waited until I had the right experience and contacts.  Describe what your current job involves: Meeting clients and discussing briefs; Writing proposals, coming up with ideas and strategic advice and costing projects; Overseeing creative work in our studio; Presenting work to clients; Looking for new opportunities; Managing the business, mentoring people in our team. 

Describe a typical working day:
Listen to news – look at marketing/design press; Read and reply to emails; Talk to colleagues about workload; Brainstorm ideas for job we’re working on; Read a brief e.g. for a rebranding/website project; Write a proposal, costing document; Write copy for an ad; Help colleagues, offer advice; Make calls, emails to clients. 

In what way did your time at Stirling shape your career to date?
It gave me the basis of my marketing knowledge and confidence. Psychology gave me an extra edge in terms of understanding buying behaviour and questioning how marketing, branding, advertising works. I made some very useful contacts and it enabled my entrepreneurial side to flourish – I ran a monthly club night in Stirling. 

List three things that you love about your job:
It’s creative – we things that make people happy; I work with a great team and meet really diverse and interesting people all the time; There are always new challenges to solve, you need to use your brain. 

List three things you dislike about your job:
Difficult to take time off – this never bothered me in the past because I love my job, but I have three kids now so I need to take time out; Sometimes being responsible for the success of the business can be a worry; It’s a very competitive industry and feels less valued than in the past. 

What advice would you give to current students in terms of preparing for life after graduation? 
Have an open mind, explore different industries and roles. Find out what kind of person you are and what really suits you, by getting lots of experience. Don’t be afraid to approach organisations you’d like to work for and do your research first. Keep trying – many employers are just very busy people. Be confident. Aim high.

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