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Learnings from a Virtual Internship

Fabrizio Aguirre

Imagine this - it is the summer of 2020. Would you consider saying “Yes” to an internship opportunity that would give you the opportunity to work with creative and strategic advertising subject matter experts… but as a remote, online internship, where all your interactions are via webcam? 

The students who joined Yes&’s internship cohort offered insights into their unique internship experience.


Amanda Bachman, (Brand Strategy) Intern:

“Working remotely at Yes& gave me and the other interns a chance to problem-solve and troubleshoot a lot on our own. As a team, the interns were in almost constant communication, lending help, jokes, and encouragement during the workday. As individuals, we were challenged to get comfortable and stand out in a remote office, utilizing our creativity, determination, and optimism to maximize our benefits. Overall, I think this has been an enormously valuable experience—because remote and online working are not going away anytime soon.” 

 

Magdalena Schneiderman, (Strategy) Intern:

“ Before starting, I was unsure how an internship would go while working from home, and concerned it might be somewhat isolating. The remote internship program at Yes& surpassed my expectations. I felt connected to the Yes& team, even though I wasn’t in the office and never met my coworkers in person.  My goal for my time at Yes& was to sponge up as much as I could about what it is like to work at a marketing agency. For clients, I was entrusted to edit internal memos and flyers, write copy for websites, and give feedback on drafts of speeches and letters. It was exciting to have my thoughts and ideas taken seriously, and then see how I had a hand in a deliverable. “

 

Alex Goldstein, (UX/UI) Intern:

“In some of my past internships, I was the cliche intern. My most important decisions revolved around determining if I should pick up coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin (the right answer is Dunkin). 

Conversely, during my time at Yes&, I’ve had the autonomy to make big decisions about projects and the support I need to bring them to a highly professional level. I’ve had the opportunity to take charge of a website redesign and logo creation, an infographic to bolster Yes&’s thought leadership, and digital asset creations for several clients. On top of these projects, I’ve also gained a great network of agency individuals to tap into in the future, making my time at Yes& valuable well beyond the end of my internship. “

 

Elise Russo, (Creative) Intern: 

“Being in a creative field, there are obstacles to an online internship that are more than just figuring out how to use Zoom. Creativity needs collaboration and needs to feed off of others’ energy and come to life. Through daily morning check-ins, having a supervisor and a mentor, weekly talks with everyone from the CEO down, and constant intern cohort meetings, the feeling of a personal connection was created. My time at Yes& reminded me that creativity can conquer any limits. Although we are physically further apart than before, we are also better connected than we have ever been.”

 

Hope Thomson, (Marketing/PR) Intern:

“I couldn’t have asked for a better virtual internship experience than the one I just completed at Yes&. Although the internship had to be virtual, I always felt welcome, valued, and of use. I was given an important but delicate mixture of guidance and independence which allowed me to demonstrate my skills in new ways and learn along the way. Above all, I was encouraged to pursue projects that sparked my interest and would give me a solid foundation for future endeavors. I cannot thank everyone enough for welcoming me and nurturing my creativity.”

 

What's the secret to remote internship success?

After nine weeks as a remote program, Yes& has found ingredients that led to success on a variety of different levels. Three keys to making it work: 

  • Internships are a combination of professional development and career education. The interns met twice a week with different staff members to learn about that employee’s department and understand how specific functions impact the rest of the agency.

  • If you have multiple interns, it’s important they get to know each other and share resources outside the workplace! Yes& interns had a weekly group virtual lunch, where potentially some of the best discussions on collaboration and problem-solving took place.

  • Besides daily morning check-ins, interns meet with supervisors as needed throughout the week, with the intern program manager once a week, and individually with their mentors at least every two weeks. Multiple touchpoints are important to maintain a constant temperature check of how the interns and program are progressing.

 

Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

Let’s talk about what the power of "&" can do for you.

Fabrizio Aguirre