As a college student, it can be intimidating to think about entering the workforce in a few short years. Saying goodbye to Friday night football games and hello to Monday morning conference calls is a change that requires a lot of knowledge, experience, and hard work. When I began thinking about a summer internship, I knew that I wanted to work with a company where I was tasked with real projects and opportunities for experiences that would prepare me for a job out of college. After my first day with the Black Tie team, I knew that I would be learning more than I ever could by reading a textbook or sitting through a lecture.
While many of my friends spent their summers fetching coffee, crunching numbers on spreadsheets, and making copies, I was working a trade show, writing blogs, and discussing sales with actual clients (sprinkled with a fair share of foosball). Throughout my summer internship, I was blessed with the opportunity to learn from an awesome group of people. While it’s difficult to sum up everything I can take away from my time as an intern, here are the top five things I learned this summer:
- Experiences are priceless: Throughout my time at Black Tie, I was responsible for my own set of tasks and projects. I wasn’t treated as an intern, but rather an equal member of the team. Whether it was working through financial information, writing content for client websites, or talking with potential clients at the Florida Dental Convention, I was able to learn the ins and outs of the agency first hand. While professors can talk for hours, there’s nothing like jumping in headfirst and learning the world of marketing through real world experiences.
- Internships are for finding what you like and what you don’t like: Having the opportunity to find your own strengths and weaknesses is the best way to grow. Prior to my internship, I wasn’t sure what part of marketing I was interested in. Now I definitely have more of an interest in digital and content marketing and will be able to focus my energy on improving those skills.
- Critical skills and understanding of digital marketing beyond the classroom: Although I’ve learned a lot in school, there’s nothing that could have taught me digital marketing better than my ten weeks with Black Tie. From Google AdWords to sales, social media to finance, SEO to web design, I’m proud to say that I’ve learned a bit of it all.
- Learn from those around you: Getting to work side by side with the rest of the Black Tie team allowed me to learn from every department from content to graphic design. Just having the opportunity to talk with the team and spend time with Scott taught me a lot about the marketing industry and its growth. The advice I’ve received and the stories I’ve been told are just as important to me as the skills the team helped me to learn.
- Work should be enjoyed: Business school thus far has mentally prepared me for ugly pantsuits, boring meetings, and cubicles. When I first walked into the Black Tie office and saw the walls covered in teal and the staff laughing behind the plethora of Apple products, I could not be more excited. A marketing agency that works hard to underpromise and overdeliver to clients, but still has time to enjoy their work, is a place that I want to be.
To college students currently looking for an internship- look for somewhere you’re challenged. To companies hiring interns – give your interns real responsibilities and the opportunity to learn. As I sit in my classes this semester, I can honestly say I’m more prepared than I was before my internship. I’m also much more focused and passionate about marketing and my future. After spending time with Black Tie, I’m no longer nervous about entering the workforce. Instead, I am excited about the opportunities that are available and the experiences that are ahead.