Internship Experience: Madeline Ferguson, Marketing and Sales Intern at GRS Recruiting

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: Madeline Ferguson
Graduation Year: 2022
Majors: Marketing Management / Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises / Information Management and Technology
Hometown: Chagrin Falls, OH
Intern Company/Title: GRS Recruiting – Marketing and Sales Intern

Describe your position and some of your daily tasks?
Due to COVID-19, my internship was completed virtually. I interviewed with four people and then presented to GRS’s management team, via Zoom, on my experience with one of the company’s core values. As a marketing and sales intern, I work with two teams of recruiters; fielding marketing initiatives and prospecting new leads. Every morning, work begin with a Zoom meeting with my manager and another intern, then moved on to daily tasks such as sending marketing email campaigns, managing and posting on all social media platforms and working directly with recruiters to generate new leads using LinkedIn. I also worked on redesigning the company website and some of its marketing and client presentations. 

How did you land your internship?
When I initially began seeking a summer internship, COVID-19 seemed like a far-off issue that would surely never uproot my sophomore year of college and every company in the U.S. As a sophomore, I knew I wanted to pursue opportunities in my hometown of Cleveland, OH. I worked with my Whitman career advisor to determine the best methods to secure an internship. I applied to numerous positions and interviewed with multiple companies. After an intense interview process, right as the world went into quarantine, I felt very lucky to be offered an internship with GRS Recruiting. 

What did you learn from your internship experience?
I learned how to work remotely and how to overcome the challenge of working with a group of people with whom I have never had a face-to-face conversation. I learned how to roll with the punches too. My company attempted a move back to an in-office model, but a day later determined that it was simply too soon and returned to a fully virtual office.

Additionally, I was part of a growth initiative for the company, so I gained experience with constantly changing directions, new hires and group brainstorming sessions. My time spent on the website redesign was particularly gratifying and I really felt that I received a lot of training in the company’s marketing platforms.

Has your experience changed your plans or career choice when you leave college?
This was my first summer internship opportunity, focused primarily on sales and marketing in a sales recruiting firm. After this internship, believe my majors are a good fit. For my next summer internship, I am looking to pursue something in eCommerce.

How will your internship experience help you after graduation?
My internship taught me many valuable skills ranging from website design, social media, content management, design skills and effective marketing email campaign tactics. Upon graduation, I will definitely be able to take these skills and experiences to a full-time opportunity.  

How has the Whitman School prepared you for your internship?
Although I am a sophomore, I have had the opportunity to take classes in all three areas I am studying. One particular class that prepared me best for this particular internship was my entrepreneurial marketing class. I worked at a relatively small recruiting firm that was looking to grow, so some of the skills and tactics I learned for growing companies in EEE 382, I was able to apply to my summer internship.

Also, I took part in the Whitman Marketing Exploration trip and the Retail Road trip. Through these experiential learning opportunities, I networked with top marketing professionals and was able to learn things such as the best marketing email tactics. I was able to bring these ideas to GRS Recruiting and helped them increase their marketing email open rate. 

What did you enjoy most about your experience?
I really enjoyed being able to execute an internship remotely. Although I was unable to meet many of the company employees, I was able to develop relationships with some of them. The best takeaway from this internship was developing website design skills. This was something I was not expecting to gain from the internship, but it has proven to be very intriguing and a direction I plan to explore as a future career opportunity. 

Do you have any advice to students who are looking for an internship?
Use the Whitman Career Center and take advantage of the programing! Develop a personal relationship with your career advisor. Put the time and effort in and it will go a long way in finding that valuable internship.

Also, apply to anything you can find and reach out to Syracuse and Whitman alumni. I faced a lot of rejection before I found success. So, my overall advice is to just keep applying to internships, use the Whitman Career Center, make those meaningful connections and start your search early in the school year.

Kimmy Kimball