11 March 2016

Sir Martin Sorrell visits school to talk to Sixth Form students

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Sir Martin Sorrel came to the school to speak to an audience of Sixth Form students. He told the story of how he started his company, WPP, thirty years ago and built it into the market leader it is today. Among other issues he discussed and answered questions on Brexit, Trump, China, free trade and developing markets. He looked to mobile advertising as a largely undeveloped area, with print advertising in general decline by contrast.

He pointed out that technology, and specifically the Web, has disrupted every aspect of business, upsetting the dynamics between manufacturer, supplier and retailer and affecting how media, and so how advertisements, are consumed. He explained that ‘global’ and ‘local’ are hugely important considerations for companies, with ‘regional’ becoming much less so. He enthused about the potential for new technologies like VR, and encouraged and reassured the students that, while production in most areas continues to outstrip demand, necessitating differentiation, talent is always in short supply and consequently prized.

A L6 student, Rachelle Lam commented ‘It was great to be able to listen to such an influential and intelligent figure talk about how he got to where he is today. The talk made me realise that the path to success may seem difficult and impossible at first, but creativity and imagination, among other things, can certainly help! Also, I think his talk fitted really well the school’s ethos, because he had businesses and employees in 112 countries. Afterwards when we were allowed to ask questions the students would often ask him about his view on issues relating to the part of the world they were from, and he gave interesting and thought-provoking answers.’

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