Getting Paid to Play
Andrew Grojean worked as a summer intern with Intouch Solutions from June to August 2011. Below he shares some of his thoughts on his experience and the benefits of a hands-on internship.
No one told me what to expect my first week as a summer intern at Intouch Solutions. And if they had tried, they would have been wrong. On day one, tornados were spotted just down the street from the office. On day four, Intouch organized a happy hour at work. On day five, the company enjoyed summer hours. I never would have guessed when I started looking for an internship nine months earlier that my new workplace would be so much like an episode of The Office.
I had been told by countless advisors and professors that internships were sometimes menial and even painful experiences, but necessary to get a leg up on other students after college. Thankfully, Intouch employs interns to assist with “real” work, performed under the hands-on supervision of experienced leaders in the field. So --unlike many internships -- Starbucks runs, copy-making assignments, and intern hazing were nonexistent.
In fact, I was uniquely positioned to work with the entire agency on a variety of projects.
Working with My Team
Some of the projects I helped with on my team included researching bloggers for outreach opportunities, listening in on calls with online influencers, and research and planning for new business pitches. One of my favorite responsibilities was staying up to date on changes to social platforms and technology, and informing others of any innovations that may impact the pharmaceutical industry. My most recent of these reports was a point-of-view document addressing changes to Facebook’s messaging system Facebook Chat.
One of the things that surprised me about pharma when I started is that instead of hours or days, I observed it could take months to develop a simple piece of content for a pharmaceutical client because of all the rounds of review from legal departments, medical departments, and regulatory committees. This means it takes some intense planning to make sure content is timely for consumers.
Interns Leading Interns
In addition to our daily responsibilities, the summer intern class was tasked with creating and designing a mobile application specifically for Intouch employees—an app to make lives easier and workdays more efficient. We were responsible for the project from beginning to end, and worked together to conceptualize our ideas and pitch them to the entire executive board. I walked away from this project with many excellent portfolio pieces, but more importantly, a deeper understanding of how projects are tackled from all sides of a marketing agency.
This experience has more than exceeded my expectations for an internship because I learned more in three months at Intouch than I did in three years of college. I was fully immersed in agency life and culture, and the tangible life skills that I learned will be valuable in future endeavors.
With any luck, after graduation next May, you’ll find me back at Intouch blogging from a tornado shelter, drinking Boulevard Wheat beer at happy hour, enjoying “Summer Hour” Fridays.