In 2012, The Atlantic published an impassioned article about unpaid internships, stating flatly, “Unpaid internships cannot continue to exist.” At Intouch, where interns always get paid, we completely agree. But of course, internships aren’t just about earning a paycheck until your “real” job comes along. They provide excellent opportunities to get your feet wet in your chosen field: here, that means doing real client work and collaborating on group projects like Forever Welcome, Intouch’s year-long campaign celebrating diversity. And, in many cases, internships lead to job offers.
As we gear up for our 2019 class of interns, we thought it would be fun to ask a few from our 2018 class — who went on to become full-time Intouchers – what interning at Intouch was like. Check out the Q&A!
What was the best part about your internship as a whole?
Carlita Jimenez, marketing coordinator, Chicago: The intern project by far. I had such a great relationship with my mentors and the other interns, but working together to develop our project takes the cake.
Megan Lowcock, human resources coordinator, Kansas City: My favorite part of the internship as a whole was being part of a larger internship program and the friendships I built with my fellow interns. There was a strong sense of camaraderie that I don’t think I would have gotten had I been an individual intern somewhere else.
Michelina Boehmer, associate strategic planner, Chicago: My favorite part of the internship as a whole was learning about strategic planning as a discipline. It solidified my interest in planning, and now I am confident that this is the career path I want to take.
Olivia Austin, account administrator, Kansas City: Experiencing agency life and learning new things every day. Also, my team!
What was your favorite part of the internship project?
Carlita: The campaign we created was incredibly relevant, and it was awesome to see how it played into our everyday lives. It was also so realistic and such a good learning experience. Most of us had never developed a campaign from start to finish before. While it wasn’t easy at times, it was definitely so worth it. Presenting to all the executives was awesome as well; although nerve wracking, it gave us such good experience, and everyone in the office was so supportive.
Megan: My favorite part was getting to work directly with the other interns in areas that I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to work in. It was fun to get to branch out of my role to work as part of the team. I also enjoyed working on an initiative that was internal to Intouch (Forever Welcome) because it felt much more personal, and I could see the impact we were having.
Michelina: I really liked the opportunity to connect with so many different departments while developing our campaign. We had meetings with leaders in every department from social media to market access. Meeting with and getting advice from senior-level people was exciting and made me as an intern feel valued. And of course, hanging out with the other interns!
Olivia: The fact that it allowed me to get to know the other members of my intern class, because since we all worked on different floors, accounts and departments, it was a way to bring us all together a few times a week and achieve something amazing!
What is one piece of advice you would give to students who are currently seeking an internship opportunity?
Carlita: Be confident and apply, no matter what! I originally thought I didn’t have a chance to get the internship at Intouch, but I applied anyways. Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to interview, and I knew that if I showed I was willing to learn and was confident in what experience I did have, I would have a shot.
Megan: I would say don’t worry about “settling” for an internship. I think there’s a common misconception that internships are for students who are still in college and that by the time you graduate you should be looking for a full-time role. I would also say don’t worry about getting into an internship that isn’t exactly what you think you want to do. An internship can not only give you experience in your desired field, but it can also give you insight into other areas you may not have known you were interested in.
Michelina: Go after a role that excites you and you are curious about. Also, connect with people who are currently in a role you’d like to be in someday and ask them about their work. They will give you great insight into how the role looks past a job description.
Olivia: Don’t be afraid to apply for/accept an internship in a department you might not know a ton about or have years of experience in. I realized during my internship that “account” does so many things I had no idea about, but having the right skill set, determination and not being afraid to learn/jump right in made my experience completely worth it. Also, an internship is not a step back if you are a recent grad and thought you wanted full-time employment right after graduation. Internships are great because they allow you to get a taste of the company and position before having to devote your life to it, and might lead you in the right direction for your future career!
How did the internship prepare you for your job?
Carlita: Well… I currently work here so I think that’s about the best preparation I can get! But really, it showed me what working in an agency is like and allowed me to learn so much about working in pharma, something I knew nothing about when I started. I feel like, even if I didn’t end up at Intouch, the experience I gained here I could apply in any job.
Megan: I feel my internship best prepared me by giving me exposure to various people and departments at Intouch that I otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to. It also helped me adjust from “school life” to “work life” in a way that didn’t make me feel like I was being thrown to the wolves.
Michelina: The internship gave me clarity on how a project at an agency goes from start to finish. There are so many specialized departments at Intouch, so it was valuable to see how each one operates to help create the final outputs.
Olivia: My internship allowed me to learn everything about Intouch as well as gain an enormous amount of insight and knowledge into the pharma industry. I got to execute tasks that are similar to if not exactly what I do in my job right now, and without my internship experience, I wouldn’t have been as prepared for my job as I am.
What made you choose Intouch?
Carlita: Before I even talked to anyone, I thought the company’s philosophy was awesome. I had never considered working in pharmaceuticals, but I thought it would be interesting, so I applied! Then, once I was able to interview, I could tell the company’s culture and the people are what really stuck out to me.
Megan: I knew I wanted to work in an environment that was laid back, upbeat, and friendly, and that made it easy to want to come to work every day. Intouch is just that place, so I knew it was the perfect choice!
Michelina: When I was first learning about Intouch, I asked current employees what their favorite parts were and everybody said the people. They were right! Everyone is eager to help and support each other, and Intouch really emphasizes collaboration. I also chose Intouch because I saw a great opportunity to grow in the areas that interested me (planning), and challenge myself in areas that I didn’t know much about (pharma).
Olivia: The people!!
Interested in interning at Intouch? Stay tuned for information about applying for the 2019 class in your city!