Leo Burnett Masterclass graduates with management – (from left – seated) Devanga Witharanage, Nihara Jayamaha, Sahithra Ukwatte, Devini Wijeysinghe, Melanki Haththotuwagama, (middle row) Dilunika Tejwani, Dinuka Solangaarachchi, Leo Burnett Sri Lanka Director People and Culture Kumudini Gomes, Ahmedh Zufar, Leo Burnett Sri Lanka Managing Director Ranil de Silva, Sajani Fernando, Dilmi De Silva, (top row) Leo Burnett Sri Lanka Chief Strategy Officer Murtaza Tajbhoy, Ravindu Wilegoda, Leo Burnett Sri Lanka Chief Operating Officer Arosha Perera, Karen Amirthampillai, Haritha Jayasinghe and Sasithi Rambukkanage
Leo Burnett Sri Lanka, the local office of the globally recognized advertising agency Leo Burnett Worldwide, recently completed the fifth annual Leo Burnett Masterclass programme.
Being the only programme of its kind in the country, the comprehensive five-week internship catered to 13 industry interns, providing them with valuable exposure into the marketing communications industry.
The Leo Burnett Masterclass programme was concluded with a graduation ceremony, which was attended by Leo Burnett Sri Lanka’s senior management, partners of the Masterclass programme, as well as members from the agency team who mentored the interns throughout the programme.
Commenting on the programme, Leo Burnett Sri Lanka Managing Director Ranil de Silva said, “This internship programme was conceptualized to provide the next generation of professionals an understanding of the diverse opportunities that our industry has to offer. Through its brief history, the Leo Burnett Masterclass programme has been instrumental in discovering and attracting Sri Lanka’s next generation of talented marketing communications professionals to the industry. The programme enables young and aspiring professionals to gain a better understanding of the diverse roles and avenues that they can pursue, by embarking on an exciting and rewarding career in the field of advertising.”
The 13 young interns who participated in the programme this year hailed from varied backgrounds. They were undergraduates pursuing a wide range of degree programmes at various prestigious institutions in different parts of the world as well as in institutions in Sri Lanka. During the five-week internship programme each individual participated in a thoughtfully crafted programme, which enabled them to obtain a holistic understanding of the industry and its diversity. The interns were afforded the rare opportunity of working alongside seasoned experts in an array of departments at the agency, ranging from Creative and Media, Brand Management, Brand Planning and Public Relations, to Digital, Activations and events. In addition, each intern was provided with a senior member of the agency as a mentor and they also had a ‘buddy’ who was responsible for guiding them throughout their internship.
Several clients and partners of the agency were also engaged with the programme. They included Lanka Market Research Bureau (LMRB), Derana, Citrus Events, Serendib Flour Mills, DSI and Coca-Cola. These partners provided the 13 young aspirants with opportunities to understand, research, go behind the scenes at a TV station, be a marketer and even engage with diverse people to understand their behaviour. It is these experiences which make this programme unique and a one of a kind internship programme. Director People and Culture Kumudini Gomes remarked, “We are very grateful to each of our partners for joining us with this endeavour and for providing invaluable learning opportunities to our interns. These outside placements, helps enrich the Masterclass and also helps to broaden the outlook of the young Masterclass graduates.
The final week of the programme featured a group project where the 13 interns were split into three teams and were assigned a project brief, to which they had to respond to within 48 hours. Their final presentations were judged by senior agency members.
Sajani Fernando, Sasithi Rambukkanage, Dinuka Solangaarachchi, Ahmedh Zufar and Devanga Witharanage emerged as the winners of the final project of this year’s Leo Burnett Masterclass, whereas Ravindu Wilegoda, Karen Amirthampillai, Melanki Haththotuwagama and Sahithra Ukwatte were the first runners-up and the second runners-up of the final project were Haritha Jayasinghe, Devini Wijeysinghe, Nihara Jayamaha and Dilmi De Silva.
Over the years, Leo Burnett has built many powerful brands and meaningful partnerships with its clients, whilst delivering gratifying results and gaining peer recognition in the industry. This year the agency celebrated its 18th anniversary in Sri Lanka whilst the global company commemorated its 82nd anniversary.
As Leo Burnett looks ahead to the future, the agency remains dedicated to developing new ideas inspired by HumanKind – Leo Burnett’s philosophy, which is rooted in the belief that creativity has the power to change human behaviour.