The Roger Hatchuel Academy registrations are still open and we know that a lot of students are curious about how it all works. The Alternative School for Creative Thinking has managed to send Romanian talent for several years to Cannes and have them experience the exclusive courses held by amazing & highly skilled teachers at the Roger Hatchuel Academy. We are continuing our series of interviews with the lovely Diana Oprea, who managed to become the Romanian representative last year, attending Cannes Lions and visiting the Google Headquarters in California, learning exclusive insights directly from the source.
How did you feel when you found out you won the local Roger Hatchuel Academy contest?
I was out of Bucharest. I almost dropped my luggage. These news almost killed me… with joy.
It was overwhelming, I didn’t know how to react. Basically, I applied so I can get professional feedback from the mentor who guided me. At first I was afraid to apply, not because I would lose, but because I would win, because I knew I had a good application with her help. Because winning means getting out of your confort zone and tasting the unexpected. Turns out that’s what I needed actually in that moment.
What activities did you have during the academy?
At Cannes, we would listen to superstar speakers from all over the world everyday. From CEOs, creatives, strategists, to music producers, actors and journalists. We could freely ask them questions and they provided us with fascinating insights. Two days in a row we had discussions and workshops with Google employees at Google Beach. We had access to Cannes Lions Awards galas and could watch the best campaigns of the year. Not to mention the parties. Every. Night.
At Mountain View Headquarters, every class with the Google speakers was a delight. From groundbreaking news and information in the industry to improving soft skills like communication and networking, it was all so professional and light hearted at the same time. We visited the campus, the „secret laboratories” of Google X, and different organized amazing activities every evening, like cooking in teams or the cruise in San Francisco.
The best part is that at both Cannes and Google you can actually network with the speakers and this kind of intimacy is usually the best way to learn something from somebody.
What does Roger Hatchuel Academy mean to you?
For me, Roger Hatchuel was about realizing that people have more in common than they think. There were more similarities than there were differences. It also meant professionalism, insightful information and over-the-top memorable conversations, but it was really about people connecting through our passion and learning about each other’s cultural backgrounds.
What was the best part of Roger Hatchuel Academy?
…Free food?! Everywhere.
Regarding the activities, gaining different perspectives on some things we thought we knew. I mean we knew, but from only one angle. Working in teams felt amazing.
On a personal note, meeting new people. That was the highlight. My favorite memory is when we all gathered at Cannes after the program in our „classroom” and started to dance to music from different countries. We learned traditional dances and had a great time together.
Do you recommend Roger Hatchuel Academy? If so, why?
It would be so funny to speak this beautifully about this academy and then answer „no” to this question. Like „Do you recommend Roger Hatchue- No!”
If you don’t want to grow, if you don’t want to meet amazing speakers and mentors and friends with different perspectives, if you don’t want to have international connections, if you don’t want to share knowledge and creativity, if you don’t want to return home smarter and more fulfilled, then Roger Hatchuel Academy is not your place. Stay away from it.
Do you have any advice for the new applicants?
Don’t wear purple lipstick on your video because it’s going to look horrible and you will have to record again the whole thing.
Other than that, my advice is to just do it. Don’t think about it at all. Do it. I did it without even thinking about the outcome, I did it because I simply wanted to be creative, through both a resume and a video. It was just an opportunity to express myself and you should consider it the same.
How has RHA influenced your life?
I am way more proud of myself and trust my intuition more. It had a deeper impact on me than I imagined. It was an experience that helped me both professionally and spiritually. I was more appreciated at job interviews for this experience, I used the information I received there in what I do and now I feel inspired and more courageous to do the things I am really passionate about.
Has it changed your perspective on your career?
Yes. I came home with some tips and tricks about so many fields in advertising that I’m interested in (creative, strategy, prototyping) and I was really enthusiastic to apply them here.
Top 3 skills you’ve improved
Networking, performing under pressure, active listening.
Top 3 teachers/speakers
Jessica Kassel (Head of Talent, HEAT) & Julia Hammond (Managing Director, HEAT), Cannes
Wyclef Jean (Music Producer, Cannes)
Lewis Samuels (Insights and Marketing, Google)
Top 3 classes
Solving a brief in 48 hours (with our deans from The Pop Up Agency, Maksimilian Kalhed & Abraham Asefaw)
In conversation with Noor Tagouri (American Journalist)
Google X (Aisling O’ Gara, Communications Manager at X & Olivia Evans, Marketing at X)
For more info regarding registrations for the Eurobest Competition & Roger Hatchuel Academy, click here.