Be available. It’s how you learn!
The nature of the creative advertising agency at which I work is that each strategist has a few accounts on which they work. To provide context for my readers, the team with which I work has two primary functions. First, we work on the strategic component of pitches to new clients. This includes everything from conducting sources of volume research and competitor analysis to developing positioning strategies. The second area of focus for the strategy team is essentially serving as in-house consultants for the companies who sign on for the agency’s strategy services. Therefore, the flow of work that my department receives is driven by the client unless we are pitching a new potential client.
As a business strategy intern, I do not necessarily have one account on which I work. Sure, work gets filtered to me, but early on I discovered that there can be quiet times. One piece of advice that I hear everywhere is that you need to make your presence felt. That way, once you’re gone, it is felt by all of those around you. The path to accomplishing this changes based on the environment in which you work. At my previous internship, I would frequently check in with my boss to see how I could make his life easier. He would then either assign me work or direct me to an overwhelmed section of the finance department. This differs from my current office which follows a more open office layout. Regardless of the approach, getting involved makes the experience all the more rewarding.
During my first quiet period at my internship this summer, I decided to make it a routine to go around to not only my supervisor, but also to all of those in the strategy department to ask if they needed any help. The overwhelming response was “Yes!”. One obvious conclusion which has been reinforced is that people are busy and genuinely appreciate help. Because of this not only was I able to work on more accounts, I also developed stronger professional relationships with my coworkers! I now find that my coworkers (outside of my direct supervisor) are more inclined to involve me in the accounts on which they are working. I believe that this practice, although small, is going to make all the difference this summer.