During my time at university I had my plan, and I held onto that plan with two hands firmly gripped at all times. I was going to study hard, get my degree and run off to work for a multinational company as part of their marketing cadetship program. Little did I know that a month at Ogilvy Public Relations changed this and quickly.
As I filled in my application, filled with questions that made you really wonder whether you’re response properly displayed your skills and employable qualities, I prepared myself for an email response reading “unfortunately your application was unsuccessful”. Luckily, I received the opposite. I received an invitation from Ogilvy PR to join them for an internship at a time that suited, and I jumped at it.
Before I knew it, I was spending a Sunday evening trying on every outfit I had to prepare myself for my first ever corporate experience. I quickly came to realise this wasn’t the type of place that cared deeply whether I wore a white shirt or a black shirt, but that it was the type of place that valued commitment, hard work, creativity and bravery.
During my internship I worked across multiple clients, across a broad range of industries including technology, travel, food and beverage and entertainment, every day saw me take on a new challenge. Sitting in a room with creatively brave and brilliant practitioners was undoubtedly my favourite part. Bouncing around ideas that weren’t limited creative capacity was not only liberating and exciting by wonderfully fun. With laughter bouncing around the room and post its stuck to every inch of the walls, I knew this was an experience that I didn’t want to end.
My internship proved to be invaluable in what it taught me. I learnt more over my month with the team than I learnt during my three years of university. Whilst university taught me the theory behind public relations, having hands on access and the chance to ask questions to some of the brightest minds in the business, was something I could never get from a textbook. The team have time crunching days, they work incredibly hard, yet always had the time to teach, guide, advise and help.
To my surprise and delight, only a few weeks after joining the Ogilvy PR team as an intern, I was offered a job as an Account Coordinator with Pulse Communications. Trying to contain my excitement, I told just about everyone I could and prepared myself for the next chapter of life after university. Now as an Account Executive, I think about whether I would have met the amazing people I’ve met, worked on the incredible projects that I have and learnt the skills that I’ve gained had it not been for taking on a new challenge and ditching a plan that I ‘believed’ to suit.
Ogilvy PR runs an incredible internship program, one so great it changed what I firmly believed to be my ‘plan’. Now I have a new plan, one that I’m proud of and excited by each and every day I buzz through those security gates, head up in the lift to level 2 and embrace the day’s new challenges.
After reflecting on my time as an intern, and now as I continue to work with interns, here’s my advice on how to make the most out of your experience as an intern.
– Make yourself invaluable: Put your hand up to take on any task, whether it’s helping someone pull together some research, tracking coverage or even buying products for an event, work with anyone on anything and you’re sure to make an impression!
– Ask questions: It’s far better to ask as many questions as need be to ensure you’re fully prepared to take on a task, than to get half way through and realise you’ve made an error because you didn’t feel confident enough to ask questions. Knowledge is power and there is absolutely no harm to equipping yourself to be your best.
– Enjoy it!: It’s not only a chance to learn so much but it’s a chance to meet people who you’ll laugh with day in and day out. Take the change to make new friends by joining the conversation, having lunch with others, and by grabbing a drink on a Friday afternoon. If nothing else you never know who you may cross paths with again and networking is crucial!
Written by Sam Beattie – Account Executive, Howorth Communications