Time at an agency moves fast. Really fast. In the first month of my summer internship at Off Madison Ave, I’ve seen the real side of an agency, and it’s exciting.
For most, an internship conjures up images of a college student running for coffee, completing monotonous office tasks and desperately clinging to any information necessary to succeed in his or her chosen field.
While many of my classmates have fallen victim to an unpaid, unrelated and unappreciated internship position, I’ve hit the jackpot.
Off Madison Ave takes pride in being different. The office is collaborative and driven by a core belief that a good idea can come from anyone.
On my first day, I met the vivacious OMA team and quickly learned the witty, electric and comedic office culture that drives the agency.
I’ve attended client meetings, gained career advice from real industry professionals and produced billable client work. My public relations and social media team challenge me, handing over a solid ‘to do’ list every day. Their expectations aren’t unreasonable- I am brand new, after all- but I feel that all my contributions are wanted and valued.
I could sit here and illustrate an average day in the intern seat, but I think a look at the tips I’ve learned so far will be more beneficial:
1. Ask questions
Pretty ground breaking advice, right? But what they say is true: You can’t learn if you don’t ask. Whether it’s about a company, a specific term or a concept, the more questions you ask, the more you’ll learn during your internship.
2. Step outside of your comfort zone
An internship should challenge what you know and push you to learn more. I am brand spanking new to the agency world, so this summer I’ve become a sponge. I’ve absorbed so much knowledge that my head could very well explode, but it’s how I use my newfound knowledge that really matters. Building media lists, drafting social content and even making phone calls have all made me step outside of my safety zone and try something new.
3. Build relationships
In this industry, who you know does matter. I learned early on that making connections with professors and supervisors can take you far. Prime example: I met my director, Amy, after a professor introduced us at a school networking event! Get to know your team, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Want to learn more about a different department? Spend an afternoon shadowing a new team.
In the end, the professionals you’re working with want you to succeed. An internship can open many doors and fuel your passion for your career. Having fun at the same time? That’s just a bonus.
Elizabeth Para Valenzuela is a summer public relations and social media intern at Off Madison Ave. She hails from Yuma, Arizona and is currently a senior at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.