Account Executive | Advertising

Ad agency account executives serves as the liaison between the advertising client and the creative/media/research staff of the agency. They manage the agency team that works on the account. They serve as the voice for the ad agency creative team and the voice of the client—mediating between those perspectives. AEs manage the client's ad budget, they prepare and present the "pitches" to the client where the agency's ideas are presented for client approval.

Basic Skills and Competencies

  • Good mediation skills
  • Clear verbal and written communication skills
  • Good tolerance for chaos
  • Facility with data analytics for digital projects and messages
  • Project management skills
  • Good organization skills
  • Multitasking skills

Aaron Smith is an account supervisor at Friends & Neighbors. At the time of this interview, he was an Account Executive at OLSON in Minneapolis. Prior to this role he was the event representative for the publication Vita.MN and was a research and strategy assistant at Ginger. A 2008 graduate of SJMC, he was an account executive at the Minnesota Daily while in school.

Video Index

  • Play entire video
  • Introduction
  • What was your path to get into this field?
  • What role does technology play in your job?
  • What do you wish you had done or known before you got this job?
  • How does a new person in this field get started/launch a career?
  • What do you find most challenging about your job?
  • What is most exciting about your job?


Courses to Help Prepare You (Within SJMC)

  • JOUR 3241W: Advertising Strategy and Creative Development
  • JOUR 3253: Account Planning
  • JOUR 3261: Media Planning
  • JOUR 3275: Digital Strategy in Strategic Communication
  • JOUR 3775: Administrative Law and Regulation for Strategic Communication
  • JOUR 4259: Strategic Communication Case Analysis
  • JOUR 4262: Management for Strategic Communication

Courses to Help Prepare You (Outside SJMC)

  • MKTG 3001: Principles of Marketing
  • MGMT 3001: Fundamentals of Management
  • ABUS 4022W: Management in Organizations
  • COMM 3411: Small Group Communication
  • OLPD 3318: Introduction to Project Management
  • Consider minor in marketing or business

Student Groups

  • Ad Club, especially working for the club ad agency on client assignments
  • NSAC

Participate In

  • Minnesota Daily
  • Student Advertising Summit


  • Look for internships in ad agencies. Network with ad professionals through Ad Club. Volunteer to do communications work for an organization with which you are already involved (student club, athletic team, fraternity/sorority, church group, etc.)

Your Career

Career Resources

Professional Organizations

Potential Job Titles

  • Account Manager
  • Account Specialist
  • Account Coordinator

Where Alumni Work

  • Edelman
  • Martin Williams
  • Haworth Group

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