A First-of-its Kind Internship
This summer, I was given the opportunity to participate in a first-of-its-kind internship program. This unique eight-week program—organized by the W2O Group Center for Social Commerce at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School—consisted of two four-week internships, with the first month spent at W2O Group’s WCG agency based in its Minneapolis office and the last four weeks at the Medtronic operational headquarters. Over the course of the internship, I gained exposure to a wide range of communication activities including content development, media engagement and digital analytics. It was my first time to working in the healthcare communications industry, and I was extremely impressed by the ways agency and “in-house” communications teams worked together on projects and campaigns.
Working at an Agency & In-house
Working at both an agency and in-house has given me a valuable perspective on the differences between the two environments.
At an agency, you have the chance to work with a wide range of clients across different industries. The environment is fast-paced and those that are able to multitask and learn new skills will quickly thrive here. Employees are really the drivers behind the work culture, and in many ways, define the values of the organization.
On the in-house side, you have the opportunity to gain a deep understanding of the business and brand. You are able to see a campaign and project from start to finish and have the opportunity to focus on the overarching strategy of the business.
During my internship at WCG, I was assigned to the account team supporting Medtronic and worked across both the analytics and the client relations departments in the agency. I worked on a variety of projects and had the chance to diversify my skill set. It was fascinating to see how engaged the client teams were with Medtronic, understanding the business and the market, and working side by side with their Medtronic counterparts. It truly was an extension of the Medtronic team inside WCG.
While I was at Medtronic, I was able to take a deeper dive into one project and hone my skills in that particular space. Being inside a company changes your perspective immediately as attention focuses to specific goals and the performance of the business on a daily basis. It is filled with meetings and conversations, discussions and debates, all in an effort to generate new ideas and ensure the business is running well.
Advice to Young Professionals
Based on my summer internship experience, agency life offers many advantages for young communications professionals who are up for a challenge and looking for a chance to work across a multitude of industries.
For young communication professionals who are passionate about a particular brand or industry and want to expand their expertise in that field, in-house might be the better fit.
Either way knowing and working in both areas during your career can only make you a stronger and more confident professional.