As a college student, I’ve learned the importance of gaining experience outside the classroom. From the time I was a freshman, professors and mentors have expressed that school provides the tools for the future, but experience gives you the advantage. As a student who switched my major several times, I find myself always eager to learn. When I finally chose marketing as my major, so many companies excited me with the internship programs they provided and Astute was one of them. The idea of working at an agency had been on my mind for quite some time and the opportunity had finally presented itself to gain experience in this type of environment.
My time at Astute has been a great learning experience and given me the opportunity to engage in various departments, providing an inside look into what all a marketing agency entails. As a social media and community engagement intern, I was able to work with various clients at once. It took me a little while to learn about each client and brand itself. I sometimes struggled with deciphering the voice to use for each. It was challenging to learn how to actively engage with online communities, given that each client was so different. Once I got the hang of it, I found that I was able to suggest captions and engage more confidently.
With regard to social media, I found myself sometimes doubting if the strategy I was using was working. There were weeks when I would notice a significant positive impact, however, there were also times when I struggled to see any progress. I’ve learned that especially in the world of marketing, it takes a lot of trials, tests, analyzing, and changing of strategy to find one that fits best. I’m grateful for the team I’ve been able to work with because they have consistently encouraged and helped me whenever I needed it. This has helped significantly when it comes to building confidence in my work. I now know that results don’t always happen immediately and I will keep this in mind when it comes to my future career.
About halfway through my internship, a major change occurred. Due to current circumstances, the COVID-19 global pandemic, the entire team began working remotely. At first, I wasn’t too worried about it but quickly realized how many questions and conversations I had when I was in the office. Although it took a little time to adapt, my team was there whenever I had a question. I also found myself gaining more trust and responsibility during this time. I was actually able to do more hands-on work which gave me new experience in certain areas. Having weekly calls and a clear idea of what was on my schedule each day certainly helped in creating ease throughout the switch to remote work.
My overall experience at Astute has been great. I’ve had such a great team, applied knowledge I’ve learned in school, and experienced hands-on application. From the first day to now, I know I have grown significantly. I have let my creativity flow through content planning, and applied analytical skills to research and reporting. Getting to encompass both of these through my work at Astute has positioned me towards the career path I really want.
When it comes to interning, I think one of the most important criteria is a willingness to learn. After all, that’s what an internship is all about! I found myself, at times, not knowing what I was doing and learned that it is more than okay to ask for help when needed. I also learned how important it is to offer ideas. As an intern, you can still offer suggestions or ideas. During my time at Astute, this was highly encouraged and made me feel like I was really bringing something important to the team (Plus, seeing your ideas come to life is a super rewarding aspect of the job!). The last important trait of an intern is adaptability. Especially in a marketing agency, I’ve learned that things can change quickly whether it is client needs, reworking an entire social calendar (hello, COVID-19), or even having to shift quickly to working remotely. The best thing you can do in these situations is pause, communicate with your team, and make a plan that will help you achieve your goals.
My time at Astute has been such an impactful learning experience and truly given me a sense of direction for my future career. I have loved my team and being able to grow and learn each day. Internships truly provide valuable knowledge and the opportunity to apply what you work so hard to learn in school. It also gives you a rare glimpse into your future career which is very exciting. If you are considering interning, don’t just settle for whatever you can get. Find a company that interests you and go for it!
–written by Reynna Nelson