451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper ignites. That’s what we were told on the first day of my internship this summer at 451 Marketing. Reflecting upon the past three months, though, I realized that 451 Marketing didn’t just spark my passion for digital marketing and SEO. It fueled it.
On my first day, my supervisors showed me around the office, introducing me to the other teams and revealing a secret snack cupboard, multiple Keurigs, conference rooms where you can write on the walls, and a space with couches and massive bean bags that I immediately wanted to swan dive into.
The six-year-old within me was awakened.
Of course, there were Pizza Fridays when everyone would sprawl out on picnic tables and couches with slices and slices of chicken ranch, eggplant parmesan, bbq chicken, meat lovers, Hawaiian and more from the North End staple Ernesto’s.
My experience here was about much more than just fun though. I found mentors, I found my place working on a team, and I found my passion. I discovered the ultimate life hack: I can work and have fun at the same time.
I felt excited to come into my cubicle every day. My supervisors, SEO Account Managers Melissa Sciorra and Ryan Durling taught me the ins and outs of search engine optimization and brought me in as a valued member of the team. They gave me meaningful projects that actually impacted their clients, I was able to sit in on calls and meetings and I got to see how my work produced results.
Even though I was on the SEO team, I learned about the public relations and social media aspects of marketing to boot. All the interns got the breakdown on digital marketing through Coffee Break Academy, a workshop series led by a manager from each team. And the best part? Apple strudels, hot coffee, and chocolate filled croissants from Au Bon Pain.
One of the most rewarding parts of the summer, though, was working on an intern project with ten other interns from various teams. We developed an integrated digital marketing campaign for our own client, a local non-profit seeking to accelerate the growth of small businesses. We then presented our strategy to a panel of executives and managers at 451 for feedback and then, finally, to our client. It was so exciting (and nerve-wracking!) to take what we learned from our supervisors and create our own ideas and initiatives.
For all future interns out there, I’ll leave you with a few tidbits of advice:
- Start strong, end strong. Set actionable goals for yourself at the beginning of the internship and track them throughout. At the end of the internship, reflect on your list and review it with your supervisors, you can ask for feedback on your personal development too!
- Take initiative. Whether you’re given a project or a simple assignment, you should always go above and beyond. If you see an opportunity where an existing process or presentation can be improved, say something! Put in the extra time and you’ll learn more, gain more experience, and earn credibility.
- Engage with everyone. Supervisors, managers, directors, fellow interns, vice presidents, founding partners, or cubicle neighbors – talk to as many people as you can. You can learn something new from every person you meet.
- Be flexible and patient. You may not always get exactly the project or assignment you want. But, if you stick it out and prove that you’re dedicated and hard-working, good things will come your way. The little things do matter.
- Ask, ask, ask. But, be self-sufficient too. If you’re confused about something, ask. If you want more work, ask. If you want to try something new, ask. If you want a recommendation, ask. If you don’t know where the bathroom is, ask. But remember, you also have Google for the simpler questions.
Whether I was conducting keyword research for my supervisors, chatting about life with an Executive Vice President, developing client-interfacing skills on our intern project, or writing a blog post on search query trends, I was always learning.
Now, as I look back on my summer, I feel proud, grateful, and hungry. But not for food. 451 Marketing presented me with an amazing opportunity to delve into the world of digital marketing and now, as I enter my Junior year, I am prepared and eager to explore that world to no end.
**Written by Search Marketing intern Cambria Davies, marketing and international management majors at Boston University (Class of 2016).