My name is Scarlett, and I am a senior advertising major with a concentration in media planning at the Klein College of Media and Communication. This summer, I was the Media Intern at Harmelin Media, located in Bala Cynwyd. With the ever-changing pandemic climate, the work environment at the agency has shifted from being fully remote to working in the office once a week.
Before interning with Harmelin Media, I worked as a marketing intern for several businesses ranging in size from small, like House of Dance in Charleston, SC, to large, like Temple University Ambler Campus. With this experience under my belt, my goal was to gain agency experience. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it’s like to work in an advertising agency. Below are my three most important lessons:
Agency workers are expected to bounce from task to task and handle a diverse workload.
Many jobs will tout that no two days are the same; your work is constantly changing. Agency life is the epitome of the ever-changing workload. The projects I was given ranged from creating and editing spreadsheets to producing maps of Harmelin’s OOH placements. No two days of my internship looked the same, so I quickly learned that being able to shift from one project to another is a necessary skill.
Much of the work is done independently before teams come together to combine their work and discuss.
Teamwork has always been a high-demand skill, especially in the advertising industry. However, completing tasks independently is just as crucial for industry professionals. Many times, media team members would be working on different tasks for the same project. For example, I was tasked with compiling a list of all the out-of-home (OOH) options for a client while my teammate used my list to pull together all the geographic data needed to create the final product, a series of maps showing where each OOH board location. Once we completed our tasks, we came back together to discuss and review the final product.
The in-office environment is much different than the remote work environment.
The ever-changing projects weren’t the only difference between each day of my internship. Remote and in-person days were two different experiences. On remote days, I was handed projects and left to finish them with minimal supervision. There was little “asking about your day” small talk while working remotely. It was a considerable contrast to working in the office, where people would stop by cubicles and engage in conversation or eat lunch together on the patio. The shift from remote to in-person always took a moment to re-acclimate to, but it quickly became a welcome difference in my work schedule.
I learned a lot from my experience working with Harmelin Media and feel more knowledgeable about agency life. Reflecting on this experience, I prefer working where the day-to-day doesn’t have as much variation. However, the constant change kept my internship from becoming stale and monotonous. Therefore, I recommend advertising students intern at an agency at least once. Agency internships offer an opportunity to learn more about this essential side of the industry and meet people who already work there.