It’s that time of year again – Fall is quickly approaching and Summer is on its way out. So what have our interns been up to these past few hot months? From tackling their summer intern project on men’s mental health, to soaking in the sun at the annual Ad Council outing, our interns have been hard at work and having fun learning about the world of social good!
Before they say goodbye, check out what our interns have learned and what advice they would pass on to future interns.
What I Learned: You’re out to make such a positive impact on crucial issues when you’re here that you realize your contribution to the results truly matter. You learn the ins and outs of wording and colors and talent. You learn tact and problem-solving and patience. You learn prioritizing and teamwork and hard work. You learn something new until the last day. When it comes to the intern project, some days you’ll be determined, some days you’ll be frustrated, but there’s so much to learn. Bonus, the whole internship has completely solidified that this is want I want to do.
Advice: From HR to the CEO, everyone genuinely cares about your experience here. It’s a diverse atmosphere with an amazing culture where your opinions are always welcome. Ask questions, ask for advice, ask to sit in on meetings, it doesn’t matter, but just be sure you’re doing work that shows you care, too. It’s an incredible place to grow and explore what you’re interested in. With that said, the Ad Council works with so many different agencies, non profits, and sponsors that it’d be a waste not to learn more about them. And finally, mingle with the other interns regardless of the department they’re in – y’all are in the same boat. If they’ve made it to the Ad Council, they’re going to have a lot to offer, too.
What I Learned: What the Ad Council has taught me most is that you are at your best when you care about what you do. Each day I was learning the best ways to manage relationships between agencies, clients and partners, and bringing together assets from each and every corner of the Ad Council to create a campaign for our intern project. At the same time, I was doing more than just supporting these campaigns, I was becoming passionate about them. It was fantastic to be doing, and learning from, meaningful work every day, and it was even more motivating to see it come to life in media across the nation.
Advice: Don’t be afraid to be heard. If you’re interested in working on a certain campaign, ask to sit in on the meetings. If you have a question or concern about a piece of creative, let it be known. Learning goes beyond seeing how things are done, and part of that process is recognizing that your input and perspective is valuable.
What I Learned: Working at the Ad Council I learned what it feels like to be treated like an equal. The title intern did not mean that I would get stuck with all the grunt work, instead I was treated like a valued member of the team. When I walked into meetings, people were actively listening for my opinion and input. Personally, I have never been put in a position where I was valued so highly. Along with being treated so well, I was able to see the inner workings of a campaign in many different stages. Being in Strategy & Evaluation, we work heavily on the exploratory research and the groundwork that goes into developing a campaign from the beginning. I was able to see how all that information plays a role in creative, the tone of messaging, and even the colors of a website. Most of all working at the Ad Council, I was able to build my problem-solving skills, and in such a short time in order to work with our clients’ timeline.
Advice: Do NOT be afraid to ask to explore a different department that you may have interest in. Many people at the Ad Council are willing to connect you with other people that have experience in your field or share career advice that you will be able to take with you forever. This is such an enriching experience and you should utilize all of your resources. Also, even if things get frustrating or harder than you think, this is an organization that has provided support and resources to so many Americans and your work is a part of that.
What I Learned: This was my first working opportunity in the advertising industry, and it definitely solidified that this is the industry that I belong in. My department taught me so much about the technicalities of bringing campaigns and ideas into fruition and it especially helped me gain a sense of what direction I would like to go in after this opportunity. This experience has also shown me the importance of asking questions and paying attention to details, especially when directions are given. For an industry that thrives by expression, this internship has also taught me the power of speaking up, whether it is for myself, to network, to seek advice or to share ideas. There is power in making connections with the individuals in your workspace because you never know what greatness could come of it.
Advice: My advice to future interns is to never underestimate your role as an intern. Everyone at the right company will value you just as they would a full-time employee, and there is so much for you to contribute. Some days your learning experiences will be great and other days it may seem as if the task at hand is bigger than you – but it’s not. You are qualified to be here and trust that they chose you to be a part of the team because they saw qualities in you that would continue to help their agency thrive.
What I Learned: From the outside, the world of advertising can seem so cut and dry – develop the message, present the message. Repeat. But as a society, we are becoming more cognizant of messaging and imagery in the media we are presented, and as a result leaders across the communications industry have to follow suit in creating suitable content for people from all walks of life. As a leader in the cross sections of social good and communications, the Ad Council is constantly thinking about ways to be bolder, more innovative, and more aware of changes in our society as they quickly happen. As I think about a future career in the media space, the Ad Council has taught me so much about thinking beyond content creation at face value. There is so much work that goes into ideation, strategy development, research, managing assets, budgeting and creating effective communications mechanisms for hard-hitting campaigns. I grew up with the Ad Council always existing somewhere in my media purview – but the chance to work with this tremendous organization has taught me that the Ad Council is so much more than what we see on our screens.
Advice: Try what excites you! Your supervisors and more experienced coworkers are there to help you through challenging undertakings you want to try. You’ve been chosen by an organization that wants to see you succeed, so use every tool and asset made available to you in your limited time. You will be happy you did.
What I Learned: My summer at the Ad Council has taught me the importance of positive office culture and comradery. Feeling supported, heard and valued in your work space can significantly improve your performance and general wellness. DC is often stereotyped as a city with poor work-life balance and competitive office culture. Therefore, it was a breath of fresh air to intern at the Ad Council. When you work with people who are kind, supportive and fun – it makes work fun. Over the course of my internship I have become increasingly confident in my skill and overall ability to contribute. I attribute this growth to the Ad Council’s constant encouragement and the people that welcomed me with open arms when I nervously arrived at the DC office 10-weeks ago. I feel incredibly lucky to have interned at the Ad Council where so many have generously devoted their time to mentor me, guide me and allow me the opportunity to contribute and learn.
Advice: Take advantage of the fact that you are interning at one of the most iconic and recognizable organizations in the country by meeting as many people as possible. Learn from those inside and outside of your department in order to gain a better understanding of the path they took and what insight they have to offer you as you pursue your early career. Take the opportunity to seek advice from some of the most innovative and creative people you will ever meet! Moreover, while interning at the Ad Council provides exceptional opportunity to connect with leaders in the field – I also urge you to get coffee or chat with as many people as possible simply to get to know them on a personal level. Building relationships with those you work with can help facilitate better communication and understanding. Also, I am sure they want to get to know you, too!
What I Learned: As the Accounting/Finance intern, I was able to observe how the Ad Council works in a way that speaks to me, with numbers. However, that is only one way I was exposed to the organization I was also able to work on a project with the other interns and observe how a campaign comes together. I was amazed at the different perspectives in which campaign managers, researchers and other staff look at campaigns. I’ve realized that the world is more diverse and different than I had initially thought.
Advice: Ask questions, do not be afraid to project yourself when confused or when you need clarification. This holds true especially in accounting, where what we learned in the classroom is applied on the job. Aside from that,I believe it’s a good idea to get to know others within your organization, you never know what you might have in common with someone else.
What I Learned: During my ten weeks at the Ad Council, I learned that it is truly possible to have a career where you love coming into work every morning. I’ve had jobs in the past where even thinking about going to work was a drag–but at the Ad Council, there are days where I don’t want to leave. While I’ve known for a while that I wanted to go into advertising, I had no idea just how fulfilling of a career it could be. Working in the digital department has broadened my knowledge beyond what I thought possible for one summer, and the experience has refined my professional goals in a way that inspires me every day.
Advice: The best advice I could give to any future intern is stolen straight out of a book I read on the recommendation of my supervisor: “A growth mindset is a passport to new adventures.” (another piece of advice– read Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley). You have one summer to make an impact at one of America’s most prolific organizations–don’t waste time on fear or hesitation. Early in the summer, I decided that the words “I can’t” were going to be banished from my vocabulary, and I strongly suggest that any future intern do the same. Don’t say no to extra assignments or after-work invitations, as saying yes will push you to work harder and grow your skill set beyond what you thought was possible. In my time at the Ad Council, I was fortunate enough to go to a professional conference, see the French Consulate, and visit a handful of ad agencies–and if you enter your internship with a growth mindset, your experiences will be just as memorable.