Emerson Internships: Finding Creative Freedom While Working for a Start-up
by Annie Mashberg ’19
It’s common knowledge that internships and Emerson College go hand in hand. When I was worrying about where and how to apply to internships, I found it extraordinarily helpful to fully utilize the career services offered at Emerson. The College’s online internship database, Handshake, offers a plethora of internship and job opportunities to Emerson students that they can apply for online. Additionally, Emerson’s career and internship fairs offers students opportunities to meet prospective employers in their field of choice, face to face.
In the spring of my sophomore year I was able to find a summer position through the Spring 2017 internship fair. This was the first one I had been to at Emerson, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily, it wasn’t as daunting as I had assumed. It’s good to keep in mind that many of the companies working the booths are as eager to meet and talk to prospective interns as we are to talk to prospective employers. It’s normal practice, I found, to simply wander the room searching for booths indicating available opportunities in your field. I approached the companies that interested me, asked for the lowdown on what they do and what they were looking for, and let them know what I was all about.
I happened upon the booth of a digital marketing start-up—the company I would soon intern at—and I really liked their vibe and decided I would send my resume in to them. I was initially attracted to the position because of their openness. They assured me that interns would be heavily involved in their operations and would have an ability to focus on many of my interests at their company. Having the opportunity to meet in person and understand the culture and mission of the company gave me an edge in both writing my cover letter and going in for my interview.
Some may think that getting an internship at a huge, well-established company is the best way to gain experience, and I believe that both small and large companies have their pros and cons; however, working at a smaller company allowed me to have more creative access and to be more engaged than I might have been at a bigger company. I was included in creative content meetings and campaign proposals, and I was even given a say in merch design. I am most proud of my opportunity to imagine, propose, execute, and finally, post an entire Instagram campaign for a brand we worked with. My idea was to create a Humans of New York-style Instagram/Facebook campaign for a clothing line associated with their client. I and a few other video interns traveled around Boston and gave out hats for free to anyone who would answer a question about the client for our Instagram account. The campaign, the question, and the execution were all my idea. I was allowed to take part in an awesome piece of social marketing because my boss gave me the opportunity to present my ideas to the company.
I also spoke with Marni Zipper, a current Emerson college rising senior, who interned in a small office at the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles during the summer of 2017. She worked in the marketing department, on a team made up of only four people. “The team’s small size made for a strong sense of community,” said Zipper. “I was responsible for running the company’s Instagram, as well as putting together the 20th anniversary edition zine as a part of the non-profit that Melrose Trading Post falls under. I also had nearly complete creative freedom over posting to the Instagram account and on the zine, all the way from writing to design.” Zipper mentioned that within the small team there was a very open dialogue, so she never felt uncomfortable when asking a question or sharing an idea.
Smaller companies and start-ups can allow you, as the intern, to try out many different hats while on the job. By diversifying your experience, you can gain expertise in more than just one aspect of your future career industry, which may provide a leg up when entering the workforce. ♦
Annie Mashberg is a Marketing Communications major in Emerson’s class of 2019. Her goal is to understand the good and bad effects of marketing on a global society and to utilize it for positive change. She wants to use marketing as an “outlet for imagination and creativity,” while staying within an ethical context.