Hi, everyone! My name is Deraj Pugh and I am a senior Advertising student with a concentration in Account Management. I’m currently an Influencer Marketing intern at HSN.

I learned a lot and had plenty of opportunities to improve my skills in communication, time management, multi-tasking, and organization. I also learned the importance of networking and building relationships. All of these skills are very important and transferrable to almost any role in any industry.

Something that really stood out to me as well was how different influencer marketing programs can be from company to company and in different industries. Over the summer I was a Social Media and Influencer Marketing intern at Mattel. A major difference between Mattel and HSN is that HSN is D2C, whereas Mattel is not. This makes a big difference in that Mattel focused their efforts more on brand awareness since customers buy from their retail partners like Target, Walmart, and Amazon. HSN, on the other hand, focuses a lot of their influencer marketing efforts on sales. In addition, we send influencers the product we want them to promote. Other aspects like outreach, negotiating rates, and contracts are pretty similar.

This will have been my fourth internship. My first internship was last summer as a Social Media Marketing intern at a small beauty brand. Then I interned with QVC on the Performance Marketing department during Spring 2021, and as mentioned earlier with Mattel during the Summer. I bring up these experiences because I knew I was sure I wanted to work on the brand side of the industry and in Influencer Marketing. However, as time has gone on, I’ve discovered that I want to get agency experience. I even changed my concentration from Brand Strategy and Research to Account Management because I feel it is more aligned with my career goals. I’d also love to get experience in the tech industry at some point as well in a non-tech role. Next semester, I’m getting that new experience by working in Affiliate Marketing and at an agency.

All in all, I’m learning that we never have everything figured out. We shouldn’t put pressure on ourselves to know everything and it’s okay to change our minds. We will forever be a student both academically and personally in life in general. It’s important to be open to new opportunities, new paths, and new destinations. We never what doors may open just by being receptive to change and growth.