My name is Vi (Vivian) La, and I am a Strategic Account Planning Intern at Digitas Health, a Publicis Health’s agency. Working full-time at Digitas Health this summer has been an extraordinary and transformative experience for me, as I have seen myself growing both, professionally and personally. I would love to share with you some key takeaways from my time at Digitas Health in hopes to inspire anyone out there who is preparing for an upcoming internship!
Takeaway #1: Ask questions.
The first few weeks might be intimidating for many of you (trust me, I know), and it is likely that you will have a lot of questions regarding your new role. It can be something as simple as how to use the printer, how to schedule an appointment using Outlook, how to book a meeting room in the office, to something more complicated like, what are the rules that you have to keep in mind when it comes to pharmaceutical advertising. As scary as it may sound, don’t panic! Tap into the resources that you have, whether it is your manager/supervisor or people at the HR department, or even your peer interns. Keep in mind that everyone in the office is willing to help you, and more importantly, they understand what you are going through. Even if you are in a brainstorming session and you do not fully understand someone’s idea, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. To quote my manager, you never know how your questions can help spark new ideas, or lead the discussion in a new direction.
Takeaway #2: Be proactive.
The first thing that I do every day when I come to the office is not to make myself a cup of iced coffee, but to come to my manager’s desk for a daily check-in. Not only do I spend this time to ask my manager what tasks he needs my help with for the day, but I also make sure that I understand the assignment correctly. More importantly, I actively reach out to him for more work every time I finish an assignment, for I want to be exposed to as many tasks as I can and also to be helpful to my manager and to the department as much as I can. Personally, I think that it is so important for every intern to be proactive – do not wait for your manager to give you a task, instead, go ahead and ask him/her if there is anything you can do to help him/her with his/her workflow. In this way, you will be able to show him/her that you are hungry for experiences, and that you are willing to go the extra mile to contribute to the company.
Takeaway #3: Network, network, network.
Don’t forget to utilize this experience to expand your network circle and learn from people around you. Before coming here, I did not expect that I would have the chance to network with so many amazing and talented people at Digitas Health (because, who would want to spend time to get to know an intern, huh?). It turned out that I was completely wrong! Everyone was so excited to have a new member on the team, and they would not mind spending 30 minutes out of their day to speak with you and give you helpful advice. However, please remember that their time is extremely valuable, so do your homework and come prepared with a sheet of questions, and note down some key points if necessary.
Takeaway #4: Have faith in yourself.
Throughout my application journey, my mentor who is working at Google, Professor Ali Freezman, constantly reminded me to trust myself. It is easy to doubt yourself when you are standing in front of the doorway to the professional world, knowing that this is a competitive process. Nonetheless, you must believe that you can do it, and that you have the power to land the internship that you want, as long as you are determined to fight for it and passionate about it. Even after you have nailed that position, it is crucial that you maintain that confidence you have about yourself to conquer the upcoming tasks. Greet every new assignment with a big smile, say “Yes!” loudly and confidently to challenges then, you are halfway to the finish line before you even know it.
Now that I am at the 7th week of my internship, I can say without doubt that I have fallen in love with what I have been doing every day at Digitas Health. If this is what my future career will look like, I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life creating ads that change the world.