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How I Became: Ahmed Chopdat, Commercial Director, Circus PPC

Ahmed Chopdat

Ahmed Chopdat joined Leeds-based agency Circus PPC as a commercial director in 2012.

He has worked as a PPC specialist since 2007, previously working at digital and content marketing agency Stickyeyes.

Circus PPC is now entering its 14th year in business and moved to newly refurbished offices at Tailor’s Corner in 2022.

Ahmed shared his career journey, tips and advice…


How did you first get into your industry?

After finishing a degree in multimedia communication with business at Huddersfield Uni, I wanted a job in web design or web dev, so looked for one that didn’t need any relevant experience. I ended up getting a job as a link builder in SEO, which at the time was very new so we were making it up as we went along.

Luckily for me, my manager at the time realised I was bored out of my head of adding links to other websites and asked if I wanted to apply internally for a job opening in PPC. Being from a mathematical background, this seemed right up my street. Obviously PPC has changed a lot since I first started, but this was the inception of my very enjoyable career.

What do you love about your job?

Everything really. Having different challenges in PPC every day is part of the fun. When I first got into PPC all my training was on the job, so it was (and still is) a constant journey of learning. One of the greatest things about Circus PPC is the wonderful team we have. The better the team around you, the more enjoyable and easier your role is and achieving goals and targets is much easier.

Who – or what – has inspired you in your career?

I have taken inspiration from many things in my career – from athletes to business owners to past managers. However, if I was to name one person, it would be Avinash Kaushik. I watched his talk at one of the first ever Google events I went to and was inspired by his passion for analysing data and improving results.

Also looking at origin stories – at the time there weren’t many people from a south Asian background in the industry, so this was someone I could look up to who had made it. His personality in terms of always wanting to interpret numbers and using them to tell a story resonated with me a lot.

What are the biggest challenges about your job?

Ensuring I finish things off. Sometimes as a director you end up wearing a few different hats, so it’s vital to ensure you stick in your lane and get the most important things done – especially when you enjoy all the areas. I have got so much better with this with the help of the other directors as we work together very effectively and trust each other fully.

What skills have been the most crucial to you succeeding in your career so far?

Being awesome in Excel must be the greatest asset in a PPC experts tool chest. Although there are many tools that assist nowadays, being able to open Excel or Google sheets (more commonly used these days) and being able to pull information together to help understand data better will help inspire and create future strategies. Not only is Excel great for PPC but also a great tool for holiday planning.

Taking the wants and needs of clients and being dedicated to delivering fantastic results for them is also crucial. For this, great communication is required. Some clients may be hard to get information from, but a good communicator will be able to do so.

Aside from this just being agile in learning new skills. You will never master everything as there is always new things to learn and new tools coming out. Being in an always-learning mode can be a fantastic asset.

What was your first salary and what could someone getting into the industry expect to earn nowadays?

When I first started with no experience, I was on a £10,000 salary which seemed very low after finishing uni, however this was the going rate at the time. Through dedication and hard work, I quickly climbed the ladder to get to where I am today.

Today, a starting salary can range between £16k to £20k for someone with no experience – depending on where they work and how much real-world work experience they have. At Circus PPC we always pay on the higher end.

What education or training would be most useful for someone looking to follow your career path?

You don’t really need a degree to pursue a career in PPC. Degrees can teach you the skills for independent learning, and to deliver presentations etc. However, PPC and all the skills required are best learnt on the job. Some of the best people we have hired have been people who we have trained from scratch.

What advice would you have for someone looking to follow your path?

Never stop learning. Always be curious. Never be scared to test new things. Always go over and above what you are supposed to do. If you want to become a manager of a department, if you are doing the job already, the job title/promotion will come naturally. Make yourself indispensable to the company.

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