In this “Internship Experience” blog post series, we will be featuring the profile and thoughts of our students from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management as they return from summer internships.
Name: Joshua Cohen
Graduation Year: 2021
Majors: Marketing / Management
Hometown: Marlboro, NJ
Intern Company/Title: The Brand Guild – Events Intern
Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
As an events intern, I helped the company develop and implement event tactics for their clients. Some of my daily activities, including:
- Developing pitch decks for upcoming events
- Researching potential vendors and event speakers
- Brainstorming ideas for holding a successful and creative event during a pandemic
- Writing event recaps
- Creating spreadsheets with post-event analytics
How did you land your internship?
Initially, I was supposed to have an internship in NYC, but it got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, I was forced to readjust my focus. I went on LinkedIn to search for virtual marketing and public relations internships anywhere in the U.S. During my search, I came across The Brand Guild, an impressive PR firm in Washington, DC. I applied for the internship, and I had a phone interview with their Events Coordinator, Kelsi Evans, within a week. We had a great conversation about the event space and talked about what that space may look like during the pandemic. A day later, I received an offer for an internship.
What did you learn from your internship experience?
Working on The Brand Guild’s event team taught me a variety of new skills. One thing I learned is how companies are quickly adapting in such a difficult and unprecedented time. As an events intern, I had to do a lot of research on how to navigate event planning during a pandemic. While social distancing parameters will not last forever, knowing how to implement a client’s remote or virtual program successfully is a practical experience as we head towards a more technical and connected future. I also became more productive at finding research-based solutions. Research is the backbone of any business decision, and becoming a speedier, more efficient data researcher and analyzer will help me in the workplace.
Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
Honestly, my internship has reaffirmed what space I want to work in after I graduate from Syracuse. My goal is still to work in some media and advertising area, with a focus on client relations. Through my summer internship, it is clear that my talents lie in working with clients to enhance their goals. I now feel confident that the direction I set my career path was well aligned with my skills and interests, which is a great feeling.
How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
My internship experience was helpful in so many ways. For one, an internship is the best way to get hands-on work experience. While you can take hundreds of classes in a specific industry, it is hard to determine if you genuinely like it until you work in that field. So, working in the event space was a great way to learn about an industry closely linked to my marketing major. My knowledge of the event space was limited before my internship, and I am confident that my new event-planning skills will help me to develop PR and marketing strategies in the future. Also, working as part of a team allowed me to hear diverse opinions. The team building and event creativity involved in my job pushed me to think creatively and outside of the box, which will be a useful skill to apply in the future. Finally, I believe my internship taught me a lot about responsibility and meeting tight deadlines. I worked on many pitch decks and reports for clients that had to be sent out by the end of the day, which taught me how to work efficiently and manage my time.
How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
Whitman helped prepare me for my internship in several ways. For one, taking Whitman’s core classes gave me a well-rounded knowledge of business spheres, including marketing, finance and supply chain management. In addition, Whitman’s Goodman IMPRESS programs, such as mock interviews and speaker panels, taught me how to act professionally in the business world. Plus, Whitman’s curriculum involves a large number of team projects, which requires you to learn patience and work with a diverse group of people. Most importantly, Whitman was incredibly helpful in my ability to interpret and analyze data. During my first year, getting an Excel certification and consistently using Excel in classes translated seamlessly to my internship, where I used Excel for a large analytics project. Upon being tasked to develop analytics for events, I felt like my Excel experience helped prepare me.
What did you enjoy most about your experience?
The best part of my internship experience was seeing my actual work come to fruition. My company held a virtual festival called “Books in Bloom,” which featured discussions with authors on their recent novels. One of the authors that I recommended got booked for the series, and it was so gratifying to see that my research guided their decision. In addition, since no event was ever the same, I got to do a wide variety of tasks that kept me interested and focused on achieving my team’s goals. And, of course, the best feeling is seeing a project you helped work on succeeding. The festival’s headline event featured Robin DiAngelo, who spoke about her book “White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.” This timely event brought in a live viewership of over 1500 people from all over the world, which was a testament to the hard work put in by The Brand Guild staff. I feel fortunate to have had an internship that specifically dealt with today’s most significant issues, including learning how to work virtually and adapt events to meet a pandemic’s challenges.
Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
One piece of advice I would give is not to get overwhelmed by the application process. Yes, applying for an internship can be a daunting experience. Still, if you are persistent with networking and applying for an internship, you will eventually land one (even if it is not necessarily your first choice). With the COVID-19 pandemic, many students faced the difficult task of readjusting and finding last-minute work. While it may seem like the world is against you, the sheer will to keep pushing will make a huge difference. If my senior class could create a virtual internship work during a worldwide pandemic, anything is possible! Having a good attitude is everything, and it is important not to be discouraged by a few denials. With enough persistence and hard work, something will eventually come your way.