The Intern Blog: A Summertime Sneak-Peek of Agency Life
This summer, I had the opportunity to join Paradigm as an Account Strategy intern. Over the last three months, I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about the whole “agency life” and what the world of digital marketing really entails. So for anyone looking for an insider’s perspective on what it’s really like to work for a branding & marketing agency, here are my top five takeaways from my summer internship at Paradigm.
Lesson #1: All of the schooling in the world cannot replace real-world experiences.
I am an incoming senior at the Trulaske College of Business at the University of Missouri (M-I-Z!). Although I wouldn’t trade my experiences at Mizzou for anything in the world, there is no course that completely prepares you for the professional world. As an intern servicing a list of real clients, working on real projects to solve their real business challenges? It’s an intimidating amount of responsibility. On top of that, you have to learn the language: terms like, “SEO,” “Geo-fencing and “dev. server.” Which brings me to my next lesson…
Lesson #2: You’re only as good as your toolkit.
The Paradigm team utilizes a variety of software, technology and tools to handle branding, digital marketing and user experience for our clients. But the digital world is always evolving– leaving Paradigm and other agencies to be on the constant search for the latest and greatest tech tools. So aside from learning the ins and outs of the tools Paradigm uses, I made a point every morning to read up on industry best-practices and relevant thought leadership to absorb any information that could help me in my everyday assignments. Each agency will have their own preferred set of tools, but every marketer should have a working knowledge of these platforms:
- Google Analytics (seriously, get certified!)
- Moz or other SEO/SEM tools
Lesson #3: Speak up and speak often.
Even in a creative agency, it’s easy for people to fall into old habits or tunnel vision. As an intern, one of your greatest strengths is a completely fresh, unbiased perspective. All you have to do is find the confidence to speak up and make your voice heard. My experience in and passion for social media led to a brand new strategy for Paradigm’s own social media presence that will continue long after my internship ends. To contribute meaningful work that would impact the company beyond the scope of my internship was one of the most rewarding experiences of the summer.
Lesson #4: Never turn down an opportunity to experience something new.
Although you have daily responsibilities as an intern, you’re really there to learn–so learn all you can! For as much as I worked with the accounts team on internal brainstorms, blog edits and analytics reporting, I also shadowed our creative, web and tech teams. Some of my favorite days at Paradigm had me going off-site for a video shoot or in the studio recording voiceover.
Lesson #5: The summer is short— have some fun with your internship.
Marketing agencies are known for their unique cultures and Paradigm is no exception. From weekly lunch trips to Blues City Deli, to pizza parties celebrating any and every occasion, to happy hours for no good reason other than to have a good time, there was rarely a dull moment during my three months in the Central West End. The “work hard, play harder” mantra is without a doubt embodied by every member of the Paradigm team.
As the summer comes to an end, I look back fondly on my experiences at Paradigm. For as much as I have contributed here, the team has given me so much more. I’m excited to return to Mizzou for my senior year with fresh skills, hands-on experiences and newfound confidence as a marketer.