|“You have to do stuff that average people don't understand because those are the only good things.” ~Andy Warhol|
When I committed to this internship, I was excited for a multitude of reasons. Being that I am from Darien, I loved how my commute was just a short drive down i95 and I didn’t have to deal with taking a train into the city. I was also pleased that The Brand Gallery was such a small firm, because I figured it would guarantee me greater responsibility and participation as a summer associate. And finally, I knew marketing was a practical skill, so I hoped that this internship would aid me in developing a marketing and branding expertise that could help me land a job in the future. While this internship exposed me to some new material and several out-of-office experiences that I did enjoy, I can’t honestly say that all of my expectations were met.
What I didn’t know going into this internship is that a small firm doesn’t necessarily yield me more opportunity for learning and participation. The tradeoff with being a small firm is that there aren’t as many projects running as there would be in a larger firm – an obvious fact, but I initially didn’t understand the relationship between this reality and the level of my learning and involvement. The Brand Gallery wasn’t bureaucratic at all, making it easy for me to talk with Phil, Iain, Allison, or anyone else who happened to be in the office on a given day. However, I think this internship taught me that for my first post-grad job, I’d like to experience a bigger firm where there are new things coming in the door regularly and I have the opportunity to dip my hands into more than one bowl, should I choose to do so. Since this isn’t a training program or an internship with training built in, I didn’t have the opportunity to obtain the necessary marketing knowledge to contribute to the ongoing Brand Gallery projects in a hands-on way. While following the ANC, Greenwich Town Party, Real Clear Politics and Sinclair Broadcasting work showed me how formal presentations are made and how rebranding initiatives are delivered, it still left me hungry for more.
An internship isn’t supposed to be glamorous – something I’ve always known and understood – but when I was promised I would be busy every day, I hoped that that promise would be fulfilled with intensive work. I spent a lot of my days here taking care of Sally, Phil’s adorable dog who became my companion here in Greenwich, and writing blog posts. Given that these were my main tasks, along with some organizational responsibilities around the office and on the computer and the occasional research or conference call opportunity, it left for empty time, and I was disappointed about that. This internship provided an opportunity to develop certain writing skills, because I was blogging every day. Each article was based on whatever it was that I found interesting and relevant to marketing and branding. I love Sally as much as anyone and I enjoyed having the flexibility of choosing what to blog about, but I came here to get a strong grasp of marketing and branding. In hindsight, maybe I could have made a stronger initiative to learn more about the industry, but I do wish that this internship included some sort of “training” element to teach me fundamental marketing and branding skills.
While my time in office may not have been as intensive in the way I had hoped, there were several out of office experiences that exposed me to new professional paths I would have otherwise not seen. Earlier on in the internship, I traveled into the city with the two Greenwich High School interns to volunteer at AICP Week. As a volunteer we were able to check out the virtual reality installments and at the end of each day, we were fortunate enough to be able to attend the awards shows and after parties. Then, about halfway through the internship, I attended a Red Carter Swimwear photo shoot here in Greenwich. As an avid swimwear buyer it was interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes before I would normally hit “buy” online. I was also able to spend time with their VP of sales who was so helpful and welcomed any questions I had. I kept in touch with her after the photo shoot and I was able to put together a presentation of what went on behind the scenes. And, finally, in the last week of my internship, I toured Blue Sky Studios. The office was unlike anything I had seen before, and it definitely opened my eyes to how creative one’s workspace, and work in general, can be.
I don’t know if any of the professional environments I saw out of the office are my calling, but it was good to get out and meet new people to learn what they’re doing and what they had to do to become successful. While my experience did not meet all of my expectations, I appreciated the efforts of Phil, Iain and Alison to make it better. I will miss The Brand Gallery team (including Sally!) and I leave with excitement for what my next summer internship will bring.