During my sophomore year, a mentor sent me information about the BLAC internship program with Upshot, an Advantage Solutions consumer marketing agency. At the time, I had already been rejected by 50 other internships because I was “too young.” Then I interviewed with Upshot leaders and learned the next day I was accepted!
I was thrilled because I wanted to explore what a career in advertising and marketing might look like. There are so many roles related to my major in journalism, from creative roles like copywriting to working with clients as an account manager, I was having a difficult time deciding where and how to start my career.
The paid summer internship in Chicago ran for 12 weeks. I was able to experience so much in that time: working on social media campaigns, seeing what happens behind the scenes on photo and video shoots, sitting in on client calls. I was fortunate to work with experienced professionals who took time to give me constructive feedback so that I can get better. I appreciated that so much. Some of my friends had internships where they felt they weren’t learning and their work wasn’t meaningful.
My advice for anyone participating in an internship is to ask as many questions as possible. Asking Upshot team members “What do you do?” and “What do you know?” made my internship much more impactful. I learned that asking questions is how you understand what a client wants and needs. A leader at Upshot told me, “One conversation with someone can change your thinking.” I had never thought of it that way.
Interning at Upshot taught me something about myself, too: I like the creative side of the business and copywriting, especially. My internship experience flipped a switch for me. I know now I can add value for a client and my career path can start by doing something I enjoy and am good at.
Although I’m back at school, I’m still part of the Upshot team, working two days a week writing copy for clients’ social media. My work is important and influences what happens in the marketplace, something I’d never expect, at my age, before my amazing internship.