Summer internships provide valuable experience for college students transitioning into the workforce.
The number of options available to marketing and advertising students can feel overwhelming. Agencies and in-house teams—for everything from nonprofit and mission-based services to for-profit and product-based companies—have opportunities for interns to engage with professionals while learning on the job.
But, where’s the best place to start?
Consider an agency like idfive. While agencies and in-house teams each have pros and cons, here are the top three reasons agency life was right for me and may be right for you:
For starters, agencies operate at a faster pace than their in-house counterparts but don’t panic. Because the business model of an agency is based on billing time, agencies tend to be more efficient and get a lot more done in a given day. While idfive stresses the importance of life/work balance, agency life is full throttle, and that’s great for interns! Hear me out:
For one, a faster pace of work carries more opportunities to learn. Rather than seeing one or two quarterly projects gradually progress—where you may not even have a chance to see the fruits of your labor blossom—agency interns gain exposure to a much higher volume of work and (often) quick deliverables.
Also, regardless of where you’ll be looking for eventual employment, starting out with a fast-paced experience can help you gain serious confidence in your abilities.
Since agencies work with a variety of partners, agency internships also give you the chance to learn about a multitude of different businesses and project types.
Each day in an agency provides you with an opportunity to be involved in something new and challenging. On a given day, you might:
- Work with a healthcare provider to redesign a website
- Strategize with a graduate school to craft an effective multi-channel digital marketing campaign
- Collaborate with an automotive insurance provider on a media plan that gets their agents’ phones ringing
Those are just a few examples from my experience at idfive, but they represent the variety available in any agency. You will find yourself moving from one project to another, each with its deadlines and objectives to hit. Along the way, you’ll gain insight into the types of problems different industries face and broader exposure to available solutions.
Thanks to the variety of available work, agency interns also learn a greater range of applications for standard best practices, which really drives home how important they are. Seeing first-hand how digital marketing fundamentals can be deployed across seemingly disparate industries is reassuring after spending so much time in classrooms discussing these concepts.
Working with a variety of people is also rewarding, and you’ll have an opportunity to build a number of meaningful relationships with coworkers and clients.
Speaking of people, I’m pretty certain that with most internships, whether with an in-house team or with an agency, you would have an opportunity to shadow people in different roles. However, because agency employees can apply a particular skillset across a variety of different clients, the roles people develop into at an agency tend to be more specialized than their in-house counterparts.
This can put interns in a better position to learn what each role does and discover what skills development pathways might spark the most joy.
For instance, during my internship in partner services, I got to shadow a Senior Account Executive mentor. I had the opportunity to sit in on a variety of meetings with various teams and saw how an AE helps each teammate achieve important objectives related to their specialized expertise. Through this, I have also discovered that I’m interested in media planning and management.
As I said, there are pros and cons to any professional situation, so you may read this article and think, “Ugh, no way!” But hopefully, this list helps provide some insight from my personal experience.
And by the way, if you do end up choosing an agency internship, look into idfive. I’d give it a 5/5.
By: Jon Croft
Jon is a media manager on a mission to optimize campaigns by squeezing the last drop of value out of every placement, budget, and media outlet. His relentless pursuit for results is only matched by nerding out on KPIs, dashboards, and reports. Jon is a graduate of the University of Maryland, where he studied Communication. Jon also has extensive experience in music, art, and video production, both as a collaborator and as a solo creator. His colleagues would describe him as a creative, strategic-minded, and passionate team member that advocates for the customer while delivering on the goals of the company.