Because internships are so beneficial to both companies and college students, we decided to continue the conversation. On Tuesday, our intern, Trevor Woolley, shared his experiences at Provident Bank, but internships come in all shapes, sizes, and places, from L.A. to N.J. We wanted to give you a taste of other companies’ offerings to help inform the (re)imagining of your own program (or just maybe the internship advice you give your children).
We asked our LinkedIn Forum management team, Wordsmith Taylor Madaffari and Social Media Magician Christine Hamilton, to dish on their college internship experiences— the good, the bad, the best…here’s what they had to say.
Taylor: I interned in L.A. with Hollywood Life, a magazine that has been around in one incarnation or another since 1985. When I worked there, it had evolved into HL, a visually beautiful good read, a boutique-like “collect ‘em all” about film, style, Hollywood, and fashion that was frisky, wistful, and a bit noir-ish—and I loved everything about it.
I completed my internship to fulfill a requirement for my university program, Elon in L.A., which offered students the opportunity to work and learn in the entertainment capital of the world.
Christine: My favorite internship was with Princeton Partners in New Jersey, an integrated brand marketing agency that builds, strengthens, and advances brands so they succeed today - and tomorrow. They combine the strategic thinking, creative abilities, and media efficiencies of a large agency with the speed, flexibility, and personal attention of a small one. I found out about Princeton Partners when one of their employees spoke in one of my classes at TCNJ, The College of New Jersey.
Taylor: As an editorial/marketing intern, I conducted polls of readership, surveying and reaching new target audiences. I also researched advertisers, photographers, fashion publicists, and other contacts to augment the magazine and sponsor the Young Hollywood Awards.
Christine: I was a social media intern. My primary responsibilities included researching social networking tactics and ideas, link building, search engine marketing, and search engine optimization, as well as social media comparisons and competitive reviews
Taylor: Have you seen the Devil Wears Prada? ‘Nuff said. Discounting the traffic, parking nightmares, graffiti, and the block around Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, La-La Land was every bit as glamorous as you would imagine it - and my internship was no exception. The office itself was nothing much to look at, but its clutter of papers and shelves of magazines made it feel so - important.
The real glamour came with the photo shoots, award shows, celebrity sightings, advanced movie screenings, lunch with the boss at the hippest café in town, Sprinkles, and Boba iced tea. Then there was CEO Anne Volokh’s office. And her vast collection of rare industry books and manuscripts, many of them autographed. I offered to organize her library one day just so I could look through them.
Christine: The work environment was awesome. My interview actually took place in a room with couches and a wall full of employee ideas. I enjoyed how open the office is; you're not exactly closed in by a cubicle. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Employees went out to lunch together often and helped each other with projects. One time, my boss even dressed up in a bee costume – that was great.
Taylor: The highlight of my internship was “The Modern Warhol,” an article I wrote for publication in the magazine. I interviewed Culver City artist Daniel Maltzman in his warehouse of a studio, and it was fascinating. I was privy to his process and artistic influences, saw paintings in production, and stared in awe at the breathtaking portraits covering the walls. I then brought home a hand-painted bracelet as a souvenir.
Christine: The most fun thing about my internship was when everyone went out to lunch before the interns’ last day. It was great to get to know some of the employees and other interns better before I left.
Taylor: I wish I had spent less time running errands and performing menial tasks and more time writing content and learning about the inner-workings of magazine production. While two other interns worked at the magazine that summer, our schedules were staggered. I would have enjoyed working more closely with my fellow interns (like the Provident program offers), benefiting from the camaraderie, friendly competition, networking, and support.
Christine: I would have liked to get hands-on experience on additional projects to gain a broader knowledge of everything that goes on in an advertising agency. However, I found that my overall experience was extremely beneficial to my career.
Taylor: Because I completed my internship so early in my college career, I think it had little effect on my employment opportunities. I do believe, however, that it plunged me into the “real world” (at least as real as you can get in Hollywood,) allowing me to practice conducting interviews and teaching me self-sufficiency. My manager often asked me to take on seemingly impossible tasks with little direction. But I learned how to find a way.
Christine: I think my internship definitely impacted my career opportunities and helped me land my job at Provident. I work on social media here, so I imagine my internship played a role in the decision-making process. The most valuable skill I learned was how to work well with others in a corporate environment. Doing group projects at school is different than working with career-minded professionals. My internship helped me see the big picture of the “real world.”
Taylor: Successful people, every last one of them,will tell you that they owe their success to at least one mentor, one means of support, one helping hand. That’s why I believe companies have an obligation to pay it forward, training future business leaders to create a better tomorrow.
I think mentorship means everything. Mentors are the unsung heroes, the teachers who come along at just the right moment in your life with just the right lesson. They have a hand in shaping your future, giving you a piece of advice, or exemplifying a character trait you’ll internalize and never forget.
Christine: I am a very strong advocate of internship programs – I actually participated in 3 of them while at school. It’s hard enough looking for a job, but coming out of college with no work experience is certainly not beneficial. It’s important to show potential employers that you were thinking about your career during your college years.
Internship programs are not only helpful for students, but they also give companies and employees a chance to share their knowledge and expertise with young professionals. It’s a learning experience for everyone involved. If you are currently a college student, I highly recommend you complete as many internships as you can. You’ll increase your skill set, which can only enhance your resume.