5 Lessons from a Formative Internship

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    Agency Life

  • Date:

    August 01, 2019

5 Lessons from a Formative Internship

Agency Life

As I made my way to Wray Ward’s entrance on Monday, July 29, I had a realization: the day marked the start of the last week of the FORM internship.

Our final week on the job is sure to be full of many lasts, but coming to terms with that reality will likely be easier said than done. While no day of work at Wray Ward is ever the same, our group has become quite accustomed to the agency’s vibrant culture, and we have made ourselves at home.

For the past seven weeks, the other FORM interns and I have been hard at work, dedicating our efforts to interdepartmental tasks that have helped us further our skills in our respective areas and to our ongoing project, where we have been working as a team on a full-fledged marketing campaign for one of the agency’s clients.

With so much to do in a brief eight-week period, it’s no wonder that this internship has flown by. However, despite the summer’s fast pace, each day has proven to be more than worthwhile, both in valuable experiences and the fun we had in gaining them.

To help us come to terms with our internship nearing its end (Could somebody get us some tissues, please?), my FORM class and I decided to reflect on our time here at Wray Ward and share some of our greatest takeaways:

1. Building strong delegation and time management skills is essential.

    As an intern, I quickly discovered 1) the importance of planning ahead with respect to working on various assignments and 2) staying familiarized with my short-term and long-term schedules. Other FORM interns shared similar sentiments:

    “Learning how to manage multiple real projects at once while soaking in all the information I could from those around me was the most useful part of my time.” –Hudson Hausmann, Client Engagement and Project Management Intern
    “Setting up a schedule to manage my time effectively is probably the most important practice that I’ve adopted, as juggling various deadlines and assignments can easily get out of hand without the proper organization.” –Parks Sadler, Graphic Design Intern

    2. Getting real work experience helps prepare you for adulting.

      As students, it can be difficult to apply the things we study in our classes to a real-life, professional setting. It also can be daunting to think about entering the real world after we graduate. Some of the FORM interns expressed how they felt their experience at Wray Ward helped to prepare them for that transition from college to the workforce:

      “I really appreciated learning what real work entails. Professors always say things like, ‘This will be really helpful in your endeavors after college,’ but I don’t think I truly understood what being in the workforce is like until experiencing it firsthand during FORM.” –Eliza Robinson, Video Intern
      “I really learned how to analyze and present my findings in a manner that conveys a story clearly and comprehensibly. From working on our ongoing team project to researching for an internal, companywide presentation, I discovered the importance of organizing facts, laying out a clear outline and using statistics as well as anecdotal evidence to provide color in a presentation. As a result, I have developed far greater presentation skills that I know I will use in future professional endeavors.” –Kyle Geiger, Digital Media Intern
      “Learning to work and integrate within the company culture at Wray Ward was a very rewarding and educational experience that I know will be useful when I make the transition to the workforce after graduating.” –Matthew Ball, UX Design and Development Intern

      3. Each role comes with its own respective challenges and rewards.

        We understandably experienced a unique set of challenges in our respective roles:

        “One takeaway that will stick with me is that it can be hard to be the project manager when you have to be the bad guy, and it can be difficult to be stern with people you know are already working hard, but it has to be done.” –Hudson Hausmann, Client Engagement and Project Management Intern
        “Discovering how to best target demographics on different platforms has been one of my greatest takeaways. By understanding the pros and cons of social media, programmatic, search and vendor direct advertising, I learned the most efficient avenues to use when targeting specific audiences.” –Kyle Geiger, Digital Media Intern

        4. There’s an opportunity to learn from everyone you work with.

          This has been one of my greatest takeaways from the FORM experience. With a variety of assignments that gave me the opportunity to work alongside many people at the agency, I received valuable knowledge and advice from people in each department. Other interns agreed:

          “I was able to not only learn from my mentor and supervisor but also the other interns who brought completely different skill sets to the table.” –Hudson Hausmann, Client Engagement and Project Management Intern
          “The line between creativity and strategy is one of the most challenging lines to walk in advertising, and I've been able to watch the people around me achieve this in a multitude of unique ways every day. Being able to mingle, work and learn alongside fellow creatives has given me a much clearer insight on how to more seamlessly walk that line moving forward.” –Payton Cianfarano, Copywriting Intern
          “The office culture has been so supportive here at Wray Ward, and I have felt very encouraged to learn, ask questions and participate throughout my internship experience.” –Parks Sadler, Graphic Design Intern

          5. Internal and external relationships require ongoing and effective communication.

          Because we had the unique opportunity to work on an ongoing project with one of the agency’s clients, we were able to learn firsthand about agency-client relations:

          “I learned that making an effort to communicate with clients and understand their particular needs is a major part of agency life.” –Hudson Hausmann, Client Engagement and Project Management Intern
          “I learned the importance of communication, especially when working with a team so that everyone is on the same page. When so many different departments and ways of thinking come together, effective and thoughtful communication is a must.” –Eliza Robinson, Video Intern
          “I learned how to effectively work within a team with varying leadership styles and personality types, and through this process, I learned to set aside my constant need to dominate in favor of more seamless collaboration and ideation.” ­–Kyle Geiger, Digital Media Intern
          “Working on real client projects has been a great learning experience with respect to the importance of communicating effectively throughout the process.” –Parks Sadler, Graphic Design Intern

          Some parting thoughts on the FORM internship experience as a whole:

          Personally, I feel very lucky to have been a part of this year’s FORM class. This experience gave me a real idea of what working at an agency is like. In my opinion, one of the best aspects of FORM is that interns are provided with several opportunities to help with real client work, which helped me further develop my skills and expertise with respect to public relations. Other members of my FORM class shared overall thoughts on their FORM experience.

          “FORM was short but sweet. It allowed each of us to experience what it’s like to be at a booming, fast-paced, mid-sized agency.” –Hudson Hausmann, Client Engagement and Project Management Intern
          “There is really nothing comparable to working in an agency environment, and that was definitely a great thing to get a taste of before fully immersing myself in the industry. Every day is truly a wild card, from who you could get pulled into a meeting with to where your expertise could end up aiding those around you. That was one of the most exciting things about FORM.” –Payton Cianfarano, Copywriting Intern
          “I loved exploring an agency atmosphere and the Motion department, as what I’ve learned will help me to narrow down my career path and determine what I want to pursue.” –Eliza Robinson, Video Intern
          “FORM provided me with an opportunity to expand my knowledge of online marketing outside of the classroom. While I became more well-versed digitally, I also developed my medium breadth into print.” –Kyle Geiger, Digital Media Intern
          “FORM threw me into the deep end of collaboration. It was an experience that I needed to be more comfortable and confident communicating my ideas to my peers.” –Payton Cianfarano
          “This summer has been an incredible experience overall. It was a real pleasure working with such a talented and dynamic group of interns at such a great agency.” –Matthew Ball, UX Design and Development Intern

          If you want to experience this amazing internship program, it’s not too early to get up to speed on the details. If you want to tell Wray Ward why you’re exactly what FORM needs, keep an eye on the FORM website, where they’ll announce the call for applications later in 2019.

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