Online Strategy & Planning Bootcamp

12 Intensive Weeks | 20 Industry Instructors | 1 Live Client


Start Date: September 7th 2021
Application Due: July 7th 2021

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Strategy as a Career

If you love to people watch, nerd out over big data, and hate to take no for an answer, you just might be a strategist. With your knack for research, natural sense of curiosity, and a touch of stubbornness, you are the ultimate problem solver. Not only do you have the unique ability to analyze any client request and transform it into a coherent brief, but you’re also a key player when it comes to shaping a brand’s identity.

“I think that people who are deep thinkers, people who always want to ask the question ‘Why’, and people who aren’t satisfied with a superficial answer to a question should take this program.”

Savannah Onofrey

Communications Planner, Rethink


Placement Rate

Experienced Salary

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Take the Bootcamp Online

Due to Covid-19 we will be running the spring Strategy Bootcamp entirely online to make the program more accessible for people who are unable to travel or would like to continue social distancing.  Two Strategy Bootcamps have been run in 2020 entirely online successfully, with much of the learning and collaboration actually enhanced by the online environment. 

“I’ve really been enjoying the remote learning environment – it’s so unbelievably interesting to decontextualize / re-contextualize everyone in their own homes. It’s been really amazing to see how everyone presents themselves virtually – that’s been a silver lining of remote learning.”

Ben Percifield

Strategy Bootcamp Student, 2020

“Didn’t realize it could still be almost as interactive as a live class. It’s an experience of a lifetime! I love the instructors, M.AD team and my course mates.”

Seun Johnson

Strategy Bootcamp Student, 2020

Our Online Learning Environment

We have taken steps to integrate an online learning environment that will ensure that key skills are effectively taught as they would be at our campus in Toronto. We have also been taking cues from our agency partners in adopting their platforms and practices. 

This environment consists mainly of online learning platforms listed here. These tools, when used in combination with each other, lead to very effective collaboration and learning. We are also ensuring that there is a tool in place for you to use at any point during the bootcamp. 

This environment has been in place since March and has expanding and adapting as we learn more about creative collaboration in the digital space.


A video and screen sharing platform used for lectures and classes.


A robust messaging software that allows for connection with admin, instructors and other students.


A highly visual platform that is basically a big digital whiteboard that integrates with everything. Used for Project feedback and collaboration.


A virtual working space for people to gather in, chat, collaborate, and share current work. Used for workshop based classes and group work.

Program Breakdown

Become a Strategist

Our Strategy and Planning Bootcamp is a 12-week program taught by leading industry professionals at the top of their game. The course is divided into lectures, portfolio work, campaign development, and engaging Toolbox sessions. Each module introduces you to a new topic, while workshop sessions allow you to put your skills to the test. By the end of the program, you deliver a pitch to a real live client and walk away with a professionally-vetted portfolio of strategic campaigns.

Student Testimonials

“If you want to learn how to become a strategist, you should talk to the ones that are really doing it and that’s the beauty of this program”

Yeda Beraldo

Planning Director, Juniper Park / TBWA

“I’ve taken a lot of the thinking from these amazing instructors and applied it directly into my work as a strategist.”

Colin Kikcio

Sr. Strategist, BBDO

“Graduating with a M.AD certificate in hand proved that I had the capabilities to begin my journey in the industry, especially as we were able to build a solid portfolio of projects.”

Ashmita Dutta Ray

Business Analyst, J. Walter Thompson Worldwide

“It was both a humbling and gratifying experience to work with industry professionals.”

Derek Mollenhauer

Community / Content Coordinator, Ogilvy

“The instructors and mentors’ passion, diverse experience, and support made every class interesting and engaging. It was a once in a lifetime experience to be in an open forum with such creative and influential people.”

Emily Chan

Design and Creative Strategist, Canadian Red Cross

Course Modules

An Overview

A crash course in strategy, its origins, how it works, and the methods used.

Research (Qualitative and Quantitative)

Learn how to use the tools around you and better understand the ones you’ve used in the past.

Understanding Your Client's Challenges

Ask the right questions to turn small client asks into big ideas.

Developing Insights

Base your understanding and recommendations on facts and develop an insight that nobody can argue with.

Brief Writing

Cut through the noise and write a rock-solid brief that is integral to a successful campaign.

Ideation and Working with Creatives

Work closely with creatives to prove that collaboration is more than just a buzzword.

Communications Planning

Bring together different mediums in the form of an easily digestible plan that a client can actually understand.

Measuring Impact Through Data

Put your money where your mouth is and validate the work you’ve done by measuring its impact.


Learn to cater to today’s clients with revolutionary ideas that will ensure lasting success.

Live Client Engagement

Work through the chaos to put together an integrated campaign to pitch to a real live client.

Portfolio Evaluations

Each student will present their portfolio case studies to a Strategy director in a job interview setting. The students will receive feedback and a grade based on the content in their portfolio and their ability to present their work during the interview.

Toolbox Sessions

  • New Thinking
  • Google Toolbox
  • Weekly Pitch & Critique
  • The Brand Called You
  • Improv & Standup Comedy
  • Networking
  • Exploring Career Avenues
  • Agency Exposure Visits

Real Client. Real Brief. Real Pitch.

In the final month of the program, you be briefed by a real client on a real challenge. Using your new skillset you will help research and strategize a solution, work with creatives to bring your strategy to life, and pitch to the client. You’ll also work with mentors, instructors and the client throughout the process.

Past clients include

Weekly Breakdown

The bootcamp will run for 12 weeks from September 7 – November 30 2021
Application Deadline is July 7th 2021

Toolbox classes

Tuesdays 6-9pm (Alternating Weeks)

Pitch and Critique

Wednesdays 6-9pm

Portfolio Development

Thursdays 6-9pm

Main Module

Friday 6-9pm

Main Module

Saturday 10am-1pm

Days Off

Sunday and Monday

Strategy Program Director 2021

Equal parts creative invention and collective reflection, M.AD School of Ideas is a test tube of excitement that reveals the formula needed for success in modern strategy.”

Max Slonim

Chief Strategy Officer, Initiative

Past Program Instructors

Jay Chaney

Partner and CSO
Broken Heart Love Affair

Rosie Gentile

SVP Strategy

Umar Ghumman

Director of Strategy & Experience

Chelsea Thompson-O'Brien

Senior Strategist

Shelley Brown

Chief Strategy Officer

Dean McBeth

Former Head of Global  Strategy
Crispin Porter & Bogusky

Sarah Stringer

Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer
Juliet Creative

Jon Daly

Group Strategy Director

Jeff McCrory

Chief Strategy Officer

Michelle Campbell

VP Strategy

Jason Last

Partner, Strategy

Sarah Phillips

The Garden

Real Projects

Work you can show off

Industry Instructors

Top Industry Mentors


Work with Creatives

Master the Pitch

Pitch Every Week to Sharpen your Skills

Admission Info

Tuition Costs

Tuition for the Strategy & Planning Bootcamp is $9000CDN (for both domestic and international students) and is due one week prior to the beginning of classes, as well as a $100 application fee.  Scholarships and payment plans are available. Contact idil@adschool.ca for details.


Ontario will compensate independent businesses between 70-85% of tuition costs – meaning you’ll only pay $1350-$2700 for 12 weeks of training! (This grant is only available to Ontario businesses training employees – contact muneet@adschool.ca for more information).


Applicants are accepted on the basis of an interview, references and an appraisal of their application. You must have prior experience and education in related advertising/marketing fields. Please contact our Admissions Director to see if you are eligible by sending a copy of your most updated resume (or LinkedIn profile). Note: the program is capped at 20 students.

Applicants are accepted on the basis of an interview, references and an appraisal of their application.

  • Enrolment Contract.
  • Current Resume demonstrating your experience.
  • Creative exercise to complete.
  • One original letter of recommendation from professional or academic reference.
  • A copy of two valid forms of ID – drivers license, passport, birth certificate or PR Card.
  • A copy of the highest diploma achieved or official transcript from the school last attended.
  • Administrative fee of $100.

Shoot an email to idil@adschool.ca if you have any questions.

Applications Due In:








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