With eight weeks down and one more to go, I have come to believe that I mastered the internship trade. Not because I’ve learned to use the Xerox machine, picked up dry cleaning on time, or managed to not mess up any coffee orders — because in reality, I did absolutely none of these. Rather, I have mastered being an intern because I was treated like a team member. As a team member, I have learned, listened, worked hard, and made connections (even if the candy jar on my desk helped bribe people to talk to me).
At MEC, interns are considered a value to the company and provide a perspective that MECers find to be important. Luckily, I discovered this quickly after I started my internship.
Flashback to day one, hour four, and I’m already sitting in a T5 planning session. Unclear as to what I should do or even what is happening, I sit there observing the greats of the media world with whom I am sharing a room. And then it happens. “Kimberly, what’s your idea?” Here I was, thinking that I was just an intern — just another summertime face supposed to fetch coffee and make copies — when in actuality my opinion is considered significant.
At first, I was slightly overwhelmed. Media is always changing, and as an intern on the mobile team, it is changing even faster. Accuracy is key and staying up to date is a necessity. Not only does research have to be precise and real-time, but being aware of current trends and new technologies is imperative to being relevant.
Although it was difficult, I was up for the challenge and quickly began compiling informative decks on mobile trends across mobile video, location/proximity technology, and even creative formats. I was becoming a pro. I also got a feel for the innovation, marketing communication, and thought leadership within MEC by supporting the creation of various forms of content.
I was invited to attend agency-wide events like Inspiration Lab, Yoga Means Business, and Lunch & Learns as well as an intern field trip to NBC Studios that allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the media world and the role MEC plays within it. Moreover, it was beyond gratifying to have the chance to sit in on rehearsals for strategy pitch meetings and attend introductions with up-and-coming start-ups.
But the one thing that stood out to me the most was the MEC culture. It is truly a culture that dare I say …thrives. Every person at MEC is an enabler, enabling one another to learn and grow, providing inspiration through workshops and events to help each other always put out the best work possible.
Now that my internship is coming to an end, I am beginning to feel a sudden pang of panic. How will I get back into the classroom and listen to a professor lecture when I’ve learned so much in just nine short weeks?
I know I must think of this as an opportunity; an opportunity to take my newfound knowledge and make the most of my last semester before I embark further into the “real world” of media.
My biggest piece of advice for the next batch of eager interns entering the fast-paced world of media is to realize that your internship is a privilege, so take advantage. Not everyone is so lucky to score an awesome opportunity, so don’t let this short time you have go to waste.
Whether it is a company-wide event or a small gathering with your team, treat every moment as a learning opportunity.
Although you’re an intern, be brave and reach out. if something interests you, speak up and find ways to get more involved.
My last piece of advice, straight from Rachel Pasqua (Head of Mobile in North America), is to perfect your skills in research, making informative decks, and presenting in front of an audience. And don’t forget to say hi and smile at everybody. You can even sweeten passers-by days with a piece of candy!
As I put the final touches on my intern project — a Snapchat “Live Feed” of my media experience — I have come to realize one thing. Regardless of one’s 10-second answer to the question “What is media?,” the ability to constantly grow with the ever-changing world is key to success.
Kimberly Zar is a student at Boston University where she is majoring in Psychology and Advertising. This past summer, she interned at MEC, a global media agency, supporting the Digital team in driving growth for clients through emerging technologies, innovation, data and consumer insight. She is looking to enter the media world upon graduation from Boston University in December 2015.