What I Learned at my Summer Internship

What I Learned from my Summer Internship

By Andrew Swisher

 

 

This past summer I had the pleasure of being an intern for a local PR and marketing agency called Fast Horse. Fast Horse is a relatively new company – about 40 to 50 employees. What’s cool about it, is the big name clients they have, for being such a small group. They represent clients such as Coca Cola, Heineken, General Mills, Deluxe, and Champs. The culture of the agency was very unique. What I came to realize was that Fast Horse wasn’t just a company, Fast Horse was a family; a family that stands behind a shared vision and mission of success. No task is too small or too great. It takes one person, to do five different things. Which enables an efficient and reliable set of professionals. Being a part of the family opened up many doors for me, as well as gave me experiences and insights that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Here are some of the biggest things I took away from being an intern.

1.       It’s a learning experience

Never before had I learned more about an industry than this internship. Before this, I had minimal exposure to PR and what the field was like. I was not the traditional Strat Comm or Journalism student someone would think of. I’m a history major. So as you can imagine, I struggled to understand the general layout of the business. Throughout the duration of the internship, I sat in client calls, brainstorming sessions for marketing campaigns, and researched known media influencers and social media influencers depending on the brand name. My scope of understanding expanded more than I could have imagined. I am now able to speak relatively fluently in PR with other PR and Marketing professionals because of my experiences.

2.       Don’t be afraid to ask questions

One of my biggest take aways was the importance of asking questions. Knowing little to nothing about the PR industry, I naturally had many questions. Asking questions is okay. I once apologized to one of my supervisors for asking so many questions. They told me I never needed to apologize. For one thing, asking questions helps ensure positive and accurate results. It also lays the groundwork for tackling similar projects in the future. In addition, the more questions you ask, the more you will learn.

3.       Meet as many people as you can

My supervisor made me set up coffee get-to-know-you sessions with everyone in the agency at the beginning of my internship. I found this to be extremely beneficial in so many ways. It helped me discover the culture of the agency and learn about everyone’s different backgrounds to fully understand the company. It also gave me a set of relationships and connections that will stay with me for the rest of my life; that’s something you can’t get anywhere else.

4.       More valuable than class

Classes in college are a good way to learn something, but nothing compares to the real life experience you get when you dive into things first hand. Failures and successes, and being a part of something, makes you more committed than ever. Fear of failure is a good catalyst for learning when you are in the workforce. I was forced to ask questions and learn, so as to not let down the company. No one wants to be that weak link. Through the hands on experience such as client calls, brainstorming sessions, etc. I learned the more about PR than I could have ever in the classroom.

5.       Don’t take it for granted

My biggest and final take away and piece of advice is never ever take your internship for granted. You are extremely fortunate to be given such a great opportunity to learn, to earn money, to build your resume, and to make connections. Some days may be less eventful, but at the end of the day, try and be genuinely grateful for what others would most likely envy.