This week, BlackEnterprise.com chronicles real-life internship experiences, including lessons, challenges, and triumphs of professionals in a range of careers. Take a page from these professionals’ books to find success in your internship or evaluate the internships your company offers.
Sekou Bah returned to BET’s New York marketing office for a second time to work as an intern. The first time, he learned quite a bit about the ins and outs of a powerhouse media company, and the second time, he also learned about many facets of the entertainment business as a whole. As a senior political science/mass communications major at Towson University, his experience at BET helped him realize what he wants to continue a career in entertainment marketing after after graduation, and he knows just where to start.
I arrive at the office, sign in, check e-mails and messages, send out daily e-mail reminders to account executives (AE’s) about updates.
9 a.m.-11 a.m.
I begin updating the new marketing numbers and updating information on current deals.
With the work I do, I really get a hands-on feel for the sales, brand solutions, and research sides of the network, and it allows me to better focus on the sector that I want to go into.
11 a.m.-12 p.m.
I check in with the AE’s who have not supplied me their updates and hand them paper copies to make the necessary changes on those documents. Once all the changes have been collected, I begin updating the records, ensuring the data is correct and current. I then send the final to the directors of sales and the senior vice presidents.
My least favorite thing is having to wait on others in order for me to complete my tasks— because I need [particular] information [to move forward]— however, this process has allowed me to get to know the individuals I work with and ask questions about what it is they do, how they got there, and what they plan to do next.
12- 1 p.m.
I check in with the SVPs and ensure that the changes I have made are correct. I then update the directors with any necessary new data. After that, I go to AE’s with changes to update throughout the day.
Finally lunch time!!!!
I check e-mails again, and assist with anything that has to be done, including filing, copying, e-mailing, research for presentation, making PowerPoint presentations, making social media post (Twitter and Facebook) for various events and shows. I like to do anything in the office that can help my peers and coworkers.
Perhaps the most rewarding part of my days as an intern: being exposed to new things and getting a real sense of what I want to do after graduating. I’m often placed in the middle of it all, especially working for such a huge network. I am able to see how everyone plays their part for the bigger picture to better the company and its mission.
I assist the ad sales research department with conducting daily usage reports and daily rating analysis. Once I complete, I e-mail them to the research team, who then e-mails them to upper management and account executives.
5 p.m.-7 p.m.
I further assist the team with any projects that they may be working on, and continue to update the working documents with the AEs.
Finally time to sign out and head home—-on a lucky day!
Bah’s Tips for Internship Success:
Pick up lessons about the industry as a whole in addition to your particular company. “The media sales industry is very fast-paced … You have to be up on all the information about the company, its viewers, the competition, show ratings and how to best reach your client’s audience in the blink of an eye.
Strengthen your communications skills. Working this internship has also assisted me in my writing skills and time management, Beh says. “I learned how to conduct myself when it comes to working with other companies who are seeking partnerships. … I also noticed that you have to be ready for anything from upper management who have questions about what you are working on and your clients that you are working with.”
Always be able to quickly adapt. Keep active and ahead of the game so that you always have an answer for the next question that might come up. Be proactive in offering aid on a project or for a peer to do their job more efficiently.
For employers, keep interns engaged, and interested. “Depending on how the company works, make sure the interns have something to do on a daily basis, just so they feel worthwhile and that they are not wasting the summer away sitting at a computer desk surfing the web,” he says. “I love programs that have/ place interns with one person in the company and they work with them on a daily basis this allows for the intern to feel comfortable with at least one person and to gain that meaningful relationship in the workplace.”