22 February 2017

Essex education inspires Greece’s curious brain

An advertising guru from Greece is the third University of Essex graduate up for a 2017 British Council Alumni Award.

Picture of Michael Paredrakos

Michael Paredrakos

Michael Paredrakos is being recognised for using his experience of studying in the UK to make a positive contribution to the world of digital marketing.

He will find out if he’s won the prestigious Professional Achievement category of the Greek awards at a ceremony on 1 March.

Michael Paredrakos graduated from Essex Business School in 2004 with an MSc International Management. He is now Managing Director of avakon+, a digital marketing agency in Athens, and founder of Greece’s top advertising strategy blog Thecuriousbrain.com.

Speaking about his time as a student at Essex, Michael said: “Studying at Essex was one of the best things that ever happened to me. Not only did it offer me a more global perspective on things, but it also served as the initial spark that ignited my curiosity.

“My Masters taught me the value of in-depth analysis. It helped shape me into an insightful researcher and it gave me the ability to see things from different angles. Without a doubt my Essex experience inspired me to think in more investigative ways.”

Michael added: “I met inspiring people from vastly different cultures that I am proud to still call my friends, along with teachers that helped me to understand what I would like to do with my life.”

Within months of launching in May 2009 Thecuriousbrain.com became the go-to blog for up-to-the-minute advertising updates. It has achieved almost 19 million views and was the only Greek marketing blog featured in AdAge’s Power 150. In 2011 Plannersphere dubbed it the number one strategy blog in the world, surpassing big global industry names. In the same year Brand Republic included it in the BR 200, their list of the most influential bloggers.

In 2014 Michael was listed by the Planning Salon in its list of top 50 strategy planners to watch.

Since moving to avakon+ in 2015, Michael has helped the agency secure a number of prestigious contracts.

The British Council Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact and value of a UK higher education. The winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying in the UK to make a positive contribution to their communities, professions and countries.

For the second year running Essex has punched above its weight, with its five finalists making it the highest-ranking non-Russell Group university based on number of finalists. The five 2017 Essex graduates are among 148 finalists, from more than 1,200 applications and representing 65 UK universities, attending ceremonies around the world.

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