Finishing School



Get access to world class training in strategy, the same training being taught to leading companies like Facebook, Snap, Best Buy and WPP.

The Planning Dirty Academy is an online course and private community for anyone who wants to transform into a certified strategist.

Benefits of the strategy finishing school

– Gain confidence in your strategic abilities by learning the strategy fundamentals
– Your strategy will become a center piece of the work rather than an afterthought
– Have a bigger impact on your company, learning new strategy skills (Comms Planning, Business Strategy, Management)
– Have a trusted network of strategist you can bounce ideas off with the Planning Dirty Academy Private Community.

Big-t Strategist

Big-t Strategist

The BIG-T Strategist model is the foundation of the Planning Dirty Academy. It is based on the skills that are needed at the three levels of a strategists career (Strategist, Strategy Director, Head of Strategy).

The 12 modules and 80 lessons of the Academy are broken up based on the BIG-T model. After completing the modules;

– You will have learnt all the skills that a strategist must have and be able to apply it to your company context.
– Found new ways that strategy can offer more value to the creative development process at your agency
– What is required to progress to a strategy leadership role


Embark on a fast pace, interactive strategy course.

And the best part?

A live FB Community where strategists, like you, get a chance to ask questions around both, the Academy and individual projects they’re working on.

get certified

One of the benefits of the Strategy Finishing School is that you get certified as a strategist. This certification that is recognized by agencies and clients looking for advertising strategists.

‘My team and I benefited tremendously from Julian’s strategy workshop. He has an approachable style & clear framework that inspires critical thinking and unlocks creativity. In just a few hours, we built the foundation and strategies for a year’s worth of work. Highly recommend!’
Ivan Heredia
Ivan HerediaVice President, Marketing, Radio Disney Networks
‘If you’re looking for some new stimulus, want to expand your remit into other specialties, want to connect with other strategists across industries, or just want to cannonball into planning with a crash course, Strategy Finishing School is a great starting point, and an even better home base.’
Megan Shepherd
Megan ShepherdSenior Manager Brand Marketing, The New York Times
‘We hired Julian to help out with some work on Taco Bell, and he was remarkable in every way.
Not only is he a logical thinker, but a lateral thinker – solving the problem we gave him in the most unexpected yet effective way. He is also probably one of the most generous people in the industry at the moment when it comes to sharing his knowledge and experience.
As somebody on the leadership team said, some of the best money you can spend.’
Kelsey Hodgkin
Kelsey HodgkinHead of Strategy, Deutsch
‘Julian is making the most positive impact in the discipline today. His tools anchor Planning/Strategy (and innovation in general) as it’s meant to be – simple, powerful and collaborative. His commitment to fearless curiosity without ego is at the heart of innovative ideas.’
Tricia Russo
Tricia RussoChief Strategy Officer, DDB Chicago
Whether you’re starting out in Planning or it’s been your whole career, Julian’s generous wealth of knowledge is invaluable stimulus.

A treasure chest of principles, lessons and approaches that goes beyond the theory into actually helping us do our job better.
Anton Reyniers
Anton ReyniersHead of Creative Agency Partnerships APAC, Google
If you’re trying to progress to the next level in your career, then joining the Strategy Finishing School is a must. It is without a doubt one of the best things I’ve done, and I’m very grateful for everything he has taught me.
Stephen Brooks
Stephen BrooksVertical Marketing Strategist, TikTok
‘Julian and his team are continually sharing really beneficial content, ideas and practically applicable frameworks/tools that help to fast track our team to successful outcomes time and time again.
Susie O'Donoghue
Susie O’DonoghueGlobal Head of Communications Strategy, William Grant & Sons
‘Most of the things I’ve learned in advertising, I’ve learned from Julian Cole.
Planning Dirty Academy has everything you’ll need, from theory.
Michael Goldstein
Michael GoldsteinHead of Communications Strategy, DDB
I was a brand founder and designer before I came to the industry and I’m completely self taught. I’ve been working between art, copy and strategy for the last 3 year at a small brand studio and have been feeling stuck. Now I’m excited to come here and learn everyday.
Jahfre Colbert
Jahfre ColbertLead Creative Planner, Byte
The more complicated marketing becomes, the more crucial it is to ground yourself in the fundamentals. Strategy Finishing School provides clarity across the key tenets of strategy in a way that is immediately actionable – whether you’re starting out, want to stay sharp later in your career, or as a resource to help train others.
Julian Cheevers
Julian Cheevers Head of Brand Strategy, Vista
Julian is like the mentor I never had.
There’s been so many gaps in my knowledge that have built up over the last 13 years that are now being glued together by the principles, frameworks and techniques that he’s teaching us.
Hugh Reinbolt
Hugh Reinbolt Strategy & Planning Director, London Social Strategy
Regardless of experience, we all sometimes fall in the habit of thinking in the same ways or following the same patterns.
The Academy gives you a place where you get constant updates on the latest industry best practices, fresh inspiration for your projects and the opportunity to engage with a thriving planning community from all around the globe.
Marco Moiso
Marco MoisoLead Strategic Planner, Innocean

video lessons


3 Pillars of The school


If you suffer from imposter syndrome, you are not alone.

The reason we do is that we’re never given clear expectations of what we need to know. The Planning Dirty Academy addresses this by teaching the fundamentals and laying out the skills you need.  


Your biggest hurdle to growth as a strategists is access to feedback from others.

This is the only way to learn and the private Planning Dirty community offers you this.


You probably don’t have time to do an online course with all your work.

However the Academy is set up to save you time but giving you templates and downloadable decks to make your day easier.


Julian Cole is a strategy consultant to global brands including Apple, Facebook, Disney, Snap and Uber. Previously he’s held the role of Head of Comms Planning at BBDO and BBH in New York.

He’s helped create award winning work for PlayStation, Bacardi, Pepsi, Google and Coca-Cola.

With a void of practical information online, in 2017 he started the Planning Dirty newsletter to share the best tools and resources growing to over 30,000 subscribers. The Academy is the next step in that journey.



If I sign up to the Academy do I get access to all the paid content?

Yes you do!

Not only do you get access to the 80+ lessons.

You get access to all the one off templates and decks as well.

Is the Planning Dirty Academy for me?

If you are a strategist who is currently in the advertising industry (creative/in-house/media/pr/digital/social/design/branding) and looking for a roadmap on how to get to strategy leadership then the academy is for you..

I have broken the lessons into three areas beginner (Junior/Senior Strategist), intermediate (Strategy Directors) and advanced (Heads of Strategy) 

The bullseye is for strategists who have been in their career for 5+ years and have moved into strategy from a different discipline (account/creative/producing) and are looking to quickly skill up on the fundamentals and take a leadership role.

How do I convince my boss that this is worth purchasing?

The average company spends $1286 per employee on training (1). In marketing the rule of thumb is that you spend 1-5% of your annual salary on training. If you are not using this opportunity you are limiting your potential.

Training is a massive benefit to companies it helps grow employees, increase their satisfaction and also is a tax deduction for the business.

We have put together a template on how to ask your boss to pay for the Academy.

How long do I get access to the Academy?

You will have lifetime access to the Academy.

How often will you be updating?

There is a new lesson in the Academy every 2 weeks, so you will be constantly learning.

If I have a question how can I get in touch with Julian Cole?

There are three ways that you will have access to Julian Cole;

1) Julian checks the private Facebook Group daily and answers all questions. So if you have a question this is the best place to ask as you also get the benefit of all the other strategy minds in the group.

2) On the website Julian will check all the comments and give feedback on exercises, so feel free to ask questions here.

3) You will be able to email Julian directly.

How will I access the course?

You access the course through this website academy.planningdirty.com.

You will also have access to the special Planning Dirty Academy Drive which has all the presentations and frameworks.

How much is the Academy?

The Academy is a one of payment of $1297. You can also pay in 6 monthly installments of $220. This will give you access to the Academy for life.

Is the Academy structured?

It is recommended that everyone starts with the Strategy Fundamentals module to get up to speed.

Then it is up to you to go into detail on the different topics.

We will also be going through different modules every month with Q&As on the Facebook Page.

I would like my whole office to do this, how do I go about that?

We have a number of companies who do this as a group.

If you are interested in a office plan, get in touch – julian@planningdirty.com