No matter how many college classes you take, nothing prepares you for the uniqueness of agency life. From supporting multiple clients at once to working on-site at events, every day brings new experiences. Here are some of the most important lessons our stand-out interns Jana, Julia and Maddy learned during their summer with KM&A:
1. Agency life moves FAST.
Agency turnaround time is QUICK, which means it’s key to stay on top of your tasks to ensure you’re not holding anyone up. You will work with a ton of different types of clients, and you need to make sure you balance them all. Our Events Intern, Maddy, got to experience this area of agency life first-hand, “I jumped in feet first in May and worked on all the events KM&A was a part of that month. In my first week, I was at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) almost every day and helped put on an event at the Dallara IndyCar Factory. The events world is fast-paced, just like the IndyCars!” With such quick turnaround times, you need to hold yourself accountable and stay on your toes. “I had to learn how to prioritize my work, which is a lot different than how I prioritize my schoolwork. I had to zoom in on what’s most pressing and focus on that,” said our Communications Intern, Julia.
2. You need to be flexible.
As we explored above, working at an agency is a fast-paced lifestyle, which means you need to be flexible and challenge yourself. Every client is different, and it is important to cater to their individual needs. Our Account Services Intern, Jana, knows a thing or two about that. “You never know what a client is going to ask for. I have learned it’s important to do everything we can to make dreams a reality for our clients, and that certainly takes a good bit of flexibility.” Versatility is essential, especially in the agency world. Events get canceled, deadlines get pushed forward and you have to roll with it and learn to be proactive rather than reactive.
3. Ask questions!
No one will judge you for having a question – trust us. It doesn’t mean you are unfit for the job if you inquire about a task at hand; it just means that you are eager to learn and put your best work forward. Similarly, share your ideas – people want to hear them! Your coworkers can provide you with beneficial advice – they were new at one point, too. They can also provide you with great feedback on how you are doing, and you should keep that feedback in mind. Jana was always asking questions and seeking feedback, and it paid off. “I came in knowing very little about what agency life was like, but I was eager to learn, and the team was ready to help. By asking questions, I was able to dive in and have the true experience of the internship instead of just being here for the summer to do undesirable tasks.”
4. Collaboration is key.
News flash…group projects in high school and college (sort of) have a purpose! While they may have seemed tedious and you may have been doing more than anyone in your group, you learn how to be a team player. You gain even more collaborative skills in an agency, and Julia was grateful for that, “I always found myself doing everything by myself in school projects, so it was refreshing to be able to collaborate with my team on client and written work. Everyone pulled their weight! KM&A has taught me how essential teamwork is to the success of the company.” Agency life is all about collaborating and challenging each other to ensure that everyone is accomplishing goals (both personally and professionally).
5. You can handle whatever life throws at you.
At the end of the day, you get it done. There are ups and downs in agency life, but you can always push through with the support of your team. Like Maddy, you realize that you can do whatever you put your mind to. “Through my experiences this summer, I have learned that I am more capable than I realized! By being trusted with different tasks, I have become more confident in my ability to perform and execute tasks.”
Overall, the most important lesson you can learn is to trust your gut and have confidence in yourself. You CAN do it! Our interns grew so much during their time with us, and we can’t wait to see what they do next.