Neil Duncan, Business Director at Leo Burnett

Neil Duncan started his education and career in advertising by studying Marketing and Management at Macleay College. Ten years on he is now managing business at one of Australia’s leading advertising agencies.


Where are you currently working and what do they specialise in? 

I’ve worked at Leo Burnett since graduating from Macleay 10 years ago. We’re a creative solutions company which means, while most of our work is advertising, we aim to help clients with their business problems beyond the scope of traditional advertising. An example would be developing a new product to open up a segment in the category or a packaging innovation to make an existing product more profitable or differentiated to its competition.

Can you describe your role at your current job?

I’m a Business Director in the Client Services department which means I’m responsible to the client, and within the agency, in making sure that we’re delivering the most effective, and most creative, solutions to our clients problems. No day is the same; but every day has key focuses across brand & communications strategy, creative development, production of creative ideas and overall project management and financial accountability.

What have been some of the highlights at your current job?

In 2013 we launched an internship program with long-time client Diageo called The Nest which provides several interns a year the opportunity to get 12 weeks paid work experience in both a creative agency and marketing team. The program allows passionate young people to get first-hand experience in the industry and hopefully help them answer the age old question – which side is for me; agency or client? 

I’ve also worked with some brilliant, highly successful and all round good-people in the agency and as clients which has made my job a lot of fun.

What are your future career goals?

I aspire to be a respected business leader in a top creative agency. Leo Burnett has been home to me for almost a decade and I see myself using a leadership position in an agency like (not like, hopefully) Leo Burnett to ensure the future of our industry is given the same opportunity, inspiration and support I was given. It’s a great industry and I hope more young people get to experience it like I have.

Why did you decide to study at Macleay and how has it helped you get to where you are now?

I wanted to study a foundation to business and marketing but I was also keen to get into the work force as soon as possible to learn the skills on the job. Having proved I had a base of knowledge and relevant experience after graduating it made getting a job a whole lot easier at a young age.

What are some of your best memories of your time at Macleay?

There are two aspects which I believe, even more so now after 10 years, set Macleay out from other colleges. The quality of the faculty and just how passionate they are in seeing the success of their students and the focus on practical experience as part of your education. I was fortunate enough to work for one of Australia’s top maritime associations culminating in a week long trade show which was a lot of fun. This was a great experience to have when looking for full-time employment after graduating.

Macleay College is now offering a 2-year Bachelor of Advertising & Media

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