ADWEEK Guide: Quad’s Corporate Trainee Program

By Olivia Morley 

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As part of ADWEEK’s series covering fellowship programs at agencies. As agencies continue to face a talent crunch, many recent graduates or career changers are seeking a way into the industry. Here, we cover programs for entry-level marketers at top agencies. Read the ongoing series.

The advertising company, Quad, is hiring for its Corporate Trainee Program, a salaried rotational program based in southeast Wisconsin for recent college graduates and undergraduate applicants within nine months of earning a degree. Quad will relocate its selected trainees, and offers them corporate housing plus a round-trip ticket home every three months. 

Bryce Branson, senior talent management consultant at Quad, manages the Corporate Trainee Program and hires trainees.

“We’re a little bit different than most most rotational programs [and] most early-entry programs, he told ADWEEK. “I really want to make sure that people fully understand our thought process—our philosophy on why we do what we do.”


Branson himself is a former program participant, signing on more than 16 years ago. Last year the program itself reached 40 years old.

“It’s a tough time, you know. Coming out of school, trying to figure out where you want to go and what you want to do,” he said. Quad’s program is built upon an understanding that recent graduates may not have those answers, and its rotational structure creates space for career exploration.

Quad and its agency brands (the digital marketing agency Rise Interactive, the full-service creative agency Periscope and the branding and design agency, Favorite Child), work across the advertising supply chain, which opens up options for trainees. Their purview is as broad as data and analytics, strategy, account management, project management, manufacturing and product creation, and even logistics.

One of Quad’s former trainees began their rotation in purchasing before segueing into the talent management department, where she applied data analysis to employee survey results. Then, she joined Rise internet marketing consultant, where Branson said she’s now building an expertise.

“She brings with her this wider understanding of Quad as an organization [and the] network of relationships that she’s developed across that journey through the organization. Now she’s set up in this position where she can leverage that for her future continued success,” Branson said.

The cohort model also brings participants with varied areas of expertise together, Branson said. It’s an environment where trainees feel comfortable forging relationships across departments and building a deep understanding of the Quad organization.

TLDR: Check out program details, including how to apply, in our Q&A with Quad’s program leaders below. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and style.

When did Quad found the program?


How many program participants do you welcome to the Corporate Trainee Program each year?

Four each quarter.

How long is the program?

Rotational assignments last approximately six months each, with the possibility of extension. Trainee time in the program can range from 18 months to three years and beyond.

What does Quad pay participants?

All our Trainees are salaried employees with benefits, and we provide a very competitive wage.

What percentage of participants do you hire or plan to hire from each class?

This changes depending on company need and how many Trainees graduate each year. In 2023 we hired 18 Trainees and 6 started in January of 2024, with more planned this spring and summer.

What percentage of your Trainees receive full-time offers by the end of the program?

Our expectation is that every person who comes to the program is trying to find their long-term home at Quad. We only hire with that expectation, so there isn’t a traditional intern offer phase. While this does help with employee recruitment and retention (graduates tend to stick with Quad for decades), some are also hired out by other companies after they leave the program due to their robust skillsets.

What percentage of your most recent cohort are historically underrepresented?

A recent class of 49 Trainees was 47% women and 37% people of color. Our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is central to our talent strategy, which focuses on attracting and retaining the best and brightest talent at Quad and the industry.

Is a college degree required to apply?

Completion or pending completion of a Bachelor’s degree is required. Applications are accepted 9 months in advance of graduation.

How long is the application process from start to finish?

The application process usually takes a few weeks to a month to complete. Following the formal application form, we conduct a phone screen and then an interview with the program coordinator followed by one with a Quad executive.

What do you require from applicants?

There are no requirements beyond the interview process above as we hire across a variety of majors and specialties.

When is Quad recruiting its next cohort?

We start cohorts throughout the year with our largest groups being in the summer. But we hire really at each seasonal change. Winter, spring and fall usually have at least a couple of people joining the program. 

CLICK HERE to apply.

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