Teaching for the last 15 years within 2 Colleges/Universities, averaging 15 students per class; I am honored to have taught and impacted over 800 creative minds. Below is a handful of former students that have created an incredible career for themselves.

I had never taken a more frustrating course in my life until I walked through the doors of Fernando's class. It was a glass of ice-cold water to the face, knocking me out of the safe world of art school. And, I loved it.

 

Fernando's class was the most important course of my college career; a no holds bared introduction to the world of advertising. It was the first time a teacher told me about the world outside of school. How to make an effective ad campaign. How an agency works. How to talk to clients. All of the other information that is just as important as knowing Photoshop or Illustrator.

 

His classes are known for being tough. Having people drop out or just give up. But, as difficult as his class was, looking back, it was a breeze compared to the daily life of someone in the ad business. And that's what Fernando prepares you for. You leave his class ready to think effectively, work your ass off and do what it takes to make it, and that is the most valuable lesson anyone can learn.

 

It's truly rare to find an instructor who cares so much about the future success of his students. His lessons live on well past the classroom and are reflected in the amazing work his students continue to produce in the real world. I am proud to have been able to learn from him.

 

-Justin Wright—Creative Director (www.JustinDWright.com)

 

 

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Fernando's class at the Art Institute was as close as you can get to real ad world experience without getting a stomachache from leftover meeting food. His class was hard. Easily one of the hardest I took during my college career. We were each assigned a brand to develop a full campaign around over the course of a quarter; everything from ads, email, direct mail, out-door and POP. He was brutally honest throughout the process and never took any excuses. Fernando isn't lazy in his teaching methods and he expects you not to be lazy in your studies. Our final presentations took place at Fernando's workplace, Y&R Brands. We had to present to actual advertising professionals at an actual advertising agency and it was absolutely nerve-racking. But we all grew exponentially from the experience. It's now been quite a few years since I sat in a classroom as Fernando's student and yet I'm still learning from him. He is still someone I go to when I need advice and he continues to be a friend, ally and supporter of my career growth.

 

 -Rocio Alvarado—Associate Creative Director (http://racreates.com)

 

 

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Fernando was not just a teacher to me, but also a mentor and a friend. One of the greatest things about his method of teaching is that you had to earn his respect. The fastest way to do that was to work your ass off; long days, late nights and never settling on your “best” concept. My take-away from enrolling in his classes was, without a concept you have absolutely nothing. He was one of the few teachers at Ai who pushed concept over execution.

 

He once said, “I don’t care how well you design, that will come…or it won’t. I’m here to teach you how to think.” Often times he played roles of the Creative Director or the client in his classroom, never solving our problems for us; his aim was to give us a taste of what it is really like in the advertising world.

 

One of the best lessons he gave us students was the opportunity to pitch our integrated ad campaign (including the branding, a magazine ad, a billboard display, direct mail and an interactive web ad) to his peers at his advertising agency, alumni and anyone in his network who could make it. Because the experience was so real and the group consisted of industry professionals, it was great practice for the real world. This gave me the courage to land the amazing job I have today because the rigorous interview process was a little easier having gone through a similar experience. Looking back today, taking multiple classes with Fernando was well worth the student loans.

 

 -Joe Billig—Graphic Designer (www.joebilligdesign.com)

 

 

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My best memory of Fernando’s class was when he told me to man up and stop being scared of him. I needed to get over the fear to create something good, smart and interesting. Although, he did put the fear of God in me, he taught me that fear is nothing but a distraction to what needed to actually be done. Because of his class, I not only got a great job (which he helped me get), I continually push myself to make my work better. I challenge myself to take on the "scary projects" because I've learned to take on fear, it makes me and my work better. He truly inspires me because he knew how to push me to be my best!

 

Plus, he is so good looking, smart and incredibly ripped it was hard to not be distracted by all that beauty!

 

-Mark Edwards—Art Director (www.markedwardsdesign.com)

 

 

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Fernando is best described in one way, a round-house kicking ninja with the ability to push a creative further than thought possible. At least for me, that's how I would describe him. As a student at Ai, I learned that many things take time to perfect. One of those things I learned in class with Fernando was this, always be networking, always be talking. And the class I attended wasn't a class on networking, nor was it a class on business. I think this says a lot about Fernando's teaching style. He is real world experience that most creatives dream of being around who also enjoys sharing processes and seeing younger creatives push themselves. The ability to take a classroom setting and turn it into a real world exercise gave me experience that made Fernando's class one of, if not the most memorable class within my career as a student. To this day, I always remember what Fernando said as we finished pitching our specific campaigns at Y&R as our final project. "If you continue to reach out to me, and stay in touch, I will make sure you succeed." And to this day, not only have I been networking better, but Fernando has given me opportunities to do things I wouldn't have been able to. Through his class I realized a few things. One: You can only get better from feedback. Two: Suck it up, nobody cares about how late you stayed up, so long as it's done and done well. Three: Stop taking everything so seriously, creatives become better only when their is a willingness to play. Four: Network the shit out of yourself.

 

-Nick Sickelton—Art Director (www.nicksickelton.com)

 

 

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I don't remember the name of the course I took with Fernando, but I've renamed it in my mind, "Introduction to Advertising and Ass-Kicking." Fernando runs his classes like I imagine he runs his creative team: with an iron fist of creativity, hard work and no BS. But underneath that headstrong, stern and sarcastic exterior is a guy who loves to

teach and see others grow and succeed. I learned a lot about advertising, how to craft ideas and campaigns and,

more importantly, how to kick ass in the creative world. His special brand of tough love trains you to deliver nothing

but the best you're capable of, and pushes you to strive even beyond that. It's been a while since I've graduated but

I've stayed in touch with Fernando and he's become a great mentor and friend. Some of the most important things

I've learned from him are:

1. Always think/plan your next steps

2. It's good to be passionate about what you do, but you have to have a life too, and

3. Always have a survival strategy in the event of a zombie apocalypse

 

-Betty Ko—Sr. Graphic Designer (www.bettyko.com)

 

 

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I have mixed feelings about attending the Art Institute for my advertising education – It was expensive. Fernando’s course is one of the only ones that keeps it in the "If I didn’t go here, I wouldn’t be where I am" column. It was hard, frustrating, and a lot of work. Fernando’s course was one of the few that actually prepared me for what I was getting into. But if I had to boil it down to one thing that I’ll always remember its easily one sentence, “Advertising is like being a professional athlete.” And honestly when I heard that I thought he was crazy. Now it’s completely apparent as to what Fernando meant by that. This shit is hard, frustrating, and a lot of work. Just when you think you are done, you are not. You have to push your self. Fernando taught me that. He was a great coach then and continues to be today. He gave me my first shot as an Intern at Y&R. And I continue to work with him at Innocean Worldwide.

 

-Joe Reynoso—Art Director (http://whatmakesjoe.com)

 

 

 

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