School Spotlight: Chicago Portfolio School

An Idea School In The Windy City

Chicago Portfolio School, the next fine educational establishment to be featured in our School Spotlight series this month, has been a part of ADC as the Windy City host of ADC’s annual Portfolio Night global recruitment and mentorship event for two years now. Furthermore, this fantastic educational institution has already signed on to host the next event in May 2015. Let’s learn more about who they are and what they do.


ADC: So, what is Chicago Portfolio School? An ad school? A design school?

Jeffrey Epstein (Director and Founder of Chicago Portfolio School): Yes, we’re an Ad school. Also, we’re a Design School. But really, we are an Idea School. A Portfolio School program is for people who want jobs as designers, advertising creatives (copywriters and art directors), web designers, UX designers, graphic designers – everyone who needs a portfolio to get a job – at advertising agencies, interactive agencies and graphic design firms. Ad agencies and design firms are very familiar with programs like ours, and feel they are much more relevant and valuable than grad school or art school degrees because real-world samples are the only way they judge job seekers.

Meaning… degrees and majors don’t matter; portfolios do! And when our students finish with a great one, ad and design firms come looking for them.

Yes, we’re an Ad school. Also, we’re a Design School. But really, we are an Idea School.


ADC: What do your students love most about Chicago Portfolio School?

Student Adam Bedol says, “What I love about Chicago Portfolio School is knowing that I’m in the right place. And that means something coming from someone who left sunny Los Angeles to live in this city of ice. Everyone back home thinks I’m crazy – and dammit maybe I am.

Advertising is a crazy person’s profession. Long hours fueled with rejection is what you’re signing up for in the ad biz. But for some reason that’s okay with me. And that’s why I fit in here. Everyone here is a die-hard fan of making cool stuff.

A teacher can’t teach passion. But they can help test your dedication, challenge everything you know and love, and make you the best you can be. If that’s learning the trombone, don’t come to this school. If you want to craft something that changes the way people perceive something, this is the right place.

And of course, you’ll be surrounded with the greatest friends you’ll ever make. We’re all crazy here. It’s kind of an asylum for ad nerds. A place where we all come to complain, gripe, moan, and work together.

Plus, we have cool parties.”

Advertising is a crazy person’s profession.

4th Floor

ADC: Might we know any of your faculty?

Perhaps! Gary Fox Robertson, the ECD of Leo Burnett and Cannes Gold Lion Winner and Will Miller, Partner at Firebelly Design are both members of our staff.

ADC: How about alumni? Who are some former grads to keep an eye out for?

Kelly Pratt
Web Designer at The Onion
Chicago, IL

Josh Mizrachi
Copywriter at Cramer-Krasselt
Chicago, IL

Nicolas Mejia
Associate Creative Director at Energy BBDO
Chicago, IL

ADC: If there is one thing, tangible or intangible, that makes your school/program stand out from the rest, what would it be?

We make working your ass off look like fun. Because it is. Plus, we have cool parties.

We have cool parties.

ADC: What’s the most creative student application you’ve received?

There are too many good ones to choose from! But, we love the answers we get from an application question we ask about solving an everyday problem. There are so many cool ideas for mobile apps that we secretly want to steal (but don’t, of course). It’s great to see how they solve problems because that’s what advertising is – solving problems for brands.

ADC: And the annual cost of entry is…?

$16,200.00 USD

Learn more about the Chicago Portfolio School here, on Facebook or Twitter, and stay tuned for the last of the School Spotlight series!