The Rising Marketer’s Guide to Droga5’s D5in10 Academy

By Olivia Morley 

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

This is 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 full series.

This week Droga5 opened applications for its D5in10 Academy—a competitive but free class taught by Droga5 top creatives.

The course kicks off March 15 and spans ten Wednesday evenings. Students will congregate at the creative agency’s 120 Wall Street office in New York City to learn advertising fundamentals and build their portfolios.

D5in10 isn’t technically an internship or fellowship program. It’s an alternative to expensive ad school programs that usually cost tens of thousands of dollars.

The agency plans to accept over 20 applicants to the free program, and usually receives over 300 applications. Leaders turn down applicants that already have formal graduate-level advertising training as well as anyone who has already worked as a creative. But industry folks who want to switch disciplines are welcome.

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

Almost all Droga5 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 leadership. The agency’s founder and chairman, David Droga, attended the last one.

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

“I was offered an art director internship coming out of the D5in10 program, which then became a full-time art director role. And I’ve been a creative here for almost two years now,” she said.

Although the program is educational in nature and may not lead to full-time employment at Droga5, Brady confirmed it has hired program participants before.

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

TLDR: Check 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 found the program?

2017.

How long does the program run?

Within 10 weeks, we will outline the basic principles Droga5 employees utilize while creating the creatively driven, bold work Droga5 is famous for.

What does the program pay?

There is no financial compensation for participating in this program. D5in10 selects 20+ high-potential creative applicants who have not had the luxury of attending a post-graduate advertising school. This is a free and voluntary learning experience.

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

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

What percentage of Droga5’s most recent cohort are historically underrepresented?

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

Is a college degree required for this program?

No.

How long is the application process from start to finish?

Applicants must answer six questions.

What does Droga5 require from applicants as part of the hiring process?

An advertising portfolio is not needed to apply to the program. Applicants just need to show us who they are, creatively. All applications will be carefully reviewed and vetted, then passed on to a panel of creatives for final selections.

When is Droga5 hiring its next cohort?

Applications opened 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 reach out to olivia.morley@adweek.com and complete our survey to tell us more.

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