My Life as an Intern: Elizabeth Tells All
My name is Elizabeth, but you can call me Liza, and I am the newest addition to the Inbound Marketing Agents team. I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, emphasis on the Missouri, not Kansas. I never intended to leave the Midwest but after a few impromptu weekend trips to Nashville, Athens and Tuscaloosa I found myself falling for the South. I am about to embark on my final year of college as a senior at the University of Alabama. My academic career has largely consisted of bouncing between the Business and Communications buildings, pursuing majors in Marketing and Advertising.
I have always been told I have an analytical math brain, so entering the business world seemed like an obvious choice for me. I recall some moments of insanity when I considered majoring in accounting or economics after genuinely enjoying a few entry-level classes (haha). But the right side of my brain begged for attention, so I looked into advertising. I place a high value on having a creative outlet, whether it’s through art, music or fashion. Personality wise, I love being social and having a diverse variety of projects to work on.
Finding a Place
I discovered IMA from a friend at Vanderbilt University after a previous internship offer fell through at the last minute. At that point, it was mid-May, and I was left without a summer job. I felt myself at a crossroads. I was unsure about moving to Nashville without any form of job security but I decided to forge ahead and prayed I’d get another chance at a relevant internship.
The Interview Process
My interview at IMA was very laid back; the welcoming nature of the staff and cool office décor set me at ease. I immediately found myself wanting a job I knew very little about. Without even glancing at my resume, Bill offered me the internship and briefly explained IMA’s philosophy.
Every student hoping to be employed one day knows to prepare for a few standard interview questions. What is your greatest weakness? This is the question where you’re supposed to say something that is seemingly negative and turn it into a positive attribute. My honest answer has always been “my inability to stick to one task because I try to do everything.” See what I did there? So when Bill asked which aspect of Inbound Marketing most interested me, I was at a loss. Feeling naïve for not preparing for such a question, Bill’s next offer was music to my ears. He proposed that I take a surface-level look at each department, and once I found what most interested me, I could spend the remainder of my time at IMA diving deeper into that department.
A Valuable Learning Opportunity
I know that in just twelve short months I will have graduated with a degree in Business Commerce and Communication Sciences, but what do I want to do? What I hope to gain from an internship is not another line on my resume to impress future employers or to fulfill an unspoken obligation for my professors and parents. My aspiration is to better understand what I am passionate about and how I can allocate my time and resources in my final year of college to focus on my goals as a professional.
Speaking of resumes, there is another aspect to an internship that isn’t going to show up on that flimsy piece of paper. Although they do their best, no professor or university class can prepare students for some of the hard truths or norms in the real world. Something that has stood out to me about IMA is the office culture. Several of my friends have internships around Nashville, while others have gone to other major cities like New York and Chicago. Throughout the summer we have shared some our experiences as interns, chilling at the bottom of the corporate food chain. A common complaint among interns is the feeling of being in the way or not having enough work to do, our days consisting of running office errands and playing on our phones. On the other hand, I have friends working overtime, feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what is being asked of them, yet still grateful to receive high profile tasks.
My role at IMA has fallen comfortably amidst the extremes of the internship spectrum. From day one I have been trusted with real work for real clients. Every task I receive is fully explained, and I never feel uncomfortable asking questions. I have worked in SEO, campaign management, social media and even sat in on a meeting with a client. Furthermore, my “mentor-of-the-day,” whether it’s the SEO manager, the campaign manager or the social media manager, will go into detail about the purpose behind the project, teaching me more about modern marketing in a few short weeks than I would typically learn in an entire semester in the classroom.
The Future's So Bright...
Many of my co-workers at IMA have asked me, what is your ideal future job? Similar to the interview question, I should have a cookie cutter answer in my back pocket, but once again, I fall silent. I don’t think anyone really knows their perfect job until it hits them square in the face. Am I still interested in working at a marketing agency or should I change my major to PR and seek a coveted job in the music industry? Although I cannot pin point my “dream” job just yet, my vision is becoming clearer with each day I spend at the IMA office.
For starters, I love working in an environment with a tight knit group of people striving towards a common goal. I also like putting in my headphones for a couple hours and zoning in on a project by myself. Another facet of working at IMA that shouldn’t go unrecognized is the down-to-earth atmosphere. It might just be the years of being required to wear a specific uniform at Catholic school, but I really appreciate the relaxed dress code around the office. Another perk is that the office is located in a hip and convenient neighborhood. I don’t dread going into work or feel out of place while I’m there, which is no small feat for a twenty-one year old who has specialized in nannying for the previous three summers.
Nashville: a Little Bit of Everything
Aside from my experiences in the office, my love for Nashville has grown exponentially. For me, summertime can often seem to drag by. I typically crave autumn game days and reuniting with my friends at school. This is not the case in Music City; if anything, I am pressed for time. The number of things to do here is seemingly endless. From the lively and affordable music scene to the dozens of restaurants and delicious craft beers to try, Nashville is fun and diverse without being intimidating or outrageously expensive.
In retrospect, even though I think I lost a year of my life stressing out about finding a last minute internship, I am so lucky I found IMA and have been given a new opportunity to learn. To help spark some ideas for my first blog, I was given a list of questions I could answer at my own discretion. I found the final one fairly obvious but I will go ahead and answer it. What is your favorite dinosaur? The pterodactyl. Duh.