TAI Student Eric Sedeno Shares Experience Interning with Photomadic

Many students have a specific idea in their head about what type of company they want to work for. Usually this is a well-known, popular company that students idolize. However, these students often don’t realize that smaller, less well-known companies can provide an equally wonderful, if not even more hands-on experience. TAI student Eric Sedeno is interning this semester as the Jr. Design Intern with Photomadic, a small photo solutions and event marketing company in Dallas.

TAI student Eric Sedeno

Sedeno is an Advertising major on the Creative track with a minor in Graphic Design. He has had a lot of past experience with graphic design, which helped him get the job.

“I actually did not apply to this internship,” Sedeno said. “My boss found my LinkedIn profile and thought that my work was great and sent me an email about their company and what they were about. I visited their office and enjoyed how young and energetic the office was and decided to accept their job offer.”

The atmosphere and culture at the Photomadic office has provided Sedeno with many great memories already.

“One day after work we went to Sandbar [Cantina and Grill] to celebrate [a colleague] Dave’s birthday,” Sedeno said. “We played volleyball and bonded for about 2 hours and it was a great day. The other night we shot a promo video at a brewery in Dallas and everyone had a great time. It was fun to see everyone get even more comfortable and I felt like I was a part of the office crew.”

Many of the skills that Sedeno has learned in his graphic design and creative advertising courses have come in handy during his internship. He has learned many new skills as well.

Sedeno with his boss at Photomadic.

“Although I had a lot of design experience before my class, Intro to Graphic Design has really taught me about how to apply design principles and organize my projects better,” Sedeno said. “It’s really nice to take the design rules I am learning in class and applying then almost directly to what I am doing at my internship. [My internship] has expanded my knowledge of Photoshop tremendously and they have given me time to learn more Adobe programs, which is something I never thought I would have the chance to do.”

After graduation, Sedeno hopes to have a career as an Art Director in the advertising industry. His work experience and school training should help him to achieve this goal.

“My career is going to be as an Art Director in the Advertising industry so having any extra design experience is great,” Sedeno said. “I love being able to expand my knowledge on the programs that I will be using for the rest of my career. I even have my boss as a resource for how I should make my website look and what people in the design side of the world expect things to look like and what matters when they want to hire you.”

Although this was not a typical internship experience, from the application process to the job, Sedeno has had an incredible experience so far.

“I was very skeptical about taking this internship because I had never been approached about working in a place that I had never heard about,” Sedeno said. “But I took a chance, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. I have learned a lot and built some great relationships. I have grown a lot as a designer and I am able to make money while gaining all these experiences. I can’t wait to see what else I gain from the rest of these experiences.”

TAI Graduate Student Lauren Lombardo Interning with Dallas Zoo

All students want to have a unique internship experience that they can brag about and proudly place on their resumes. An internship that sets you apart and is out of the ordinary. This semester, TAI graduate student Lauren Lombardo is doing just that while completing her Executive Internship at the Dallas Zoo.

Lombardo inside the Dallas Zoo.

Lombardo is working one of few indoor jobs at the zoo as the Communications and Marketing Intern. Her job responsibilities include writing editorial content, writing features for the blog, and participating in social media efforts.

“I’ve learned a lot about taking on different voices and writing for different audiences,” Lombardo said. “I create content for a variety of outlets at the Zoo, and each one needs to be tailored specifically for that outlet. I’ve also learned to be a better interviewer. A lot of the content I write is dependent on what I can get out of people, and my supervisors have shown me how to ask more robust questions in order to dig a little deeper.”

While this internship shares similar responsibilities to that of many other marketing internships, Lombardo’s position at the Dallas Zoo offers her unique experience working for a very different type of brand than typically taught in advertising courses.

“A typical day at the Zoo is probably a little different than most of other internships,” Lombardo said. “Usually, I come in to the administration office and check e-mail, respond to inquiries, and catch up with my supervisors as they’ll often assign me special projects to work on. I might write a blog post, which involves calling and interviewing a keeper or possibly going to an event. I usually try to draft an engaging social media post to go along with a blog. Every Zoo employee has a radio, so we’ll often receive radio calls about important events, like an elephant introduction, and head over to watch it during the workday. Other times, there might be a behind the scenes tour for interns that I’ll go to. I like to eat my lunch by the Sumatran Tigers or on Cat Green by the native Texas cats and walk around the Zoo. I usually finish up my day by working on the member newsletter, which means I have to contact the different Zoo departments to get the latest scoop on what they’re doing. Overall, a typical day is full of lots of writing and animals!”

Sumatran Tiger in the Dallas Zoo.

Lombardo’s love for animals and conservation has made her experiences at the Zoo incredibly special for her. Since she gets to spend a lot of time around the Zoo, she has seen several special events and exciting moments.

“My favorite moment from the internship has been attending the Zoo’s Cheetah Encounter,” Lombardo said. “As an intern, I was allowed to watch the Encounter from a VIP viewing area, so I was up close and personal for the whole experience. Winspear, the Zoo’s cheetah, took off running from one end of the exhibit to the other, and it was so amazing to see this athletic animal in action. I could even hear him purr at one point! Winspear also has a canine friend named Amani, who helps keep him calm [because] cheetahs are naturally nervous animals. The keepers took the time to talk with me about cheetah conservation and tell me more about the relationship between Winspear and Amani. Conservation is extremely important to me, especially when it comes to big cats (big cats are my favorite animals), so this was an extremely insightful and fun event. I often attend events like this and write blogs or social media posts about the experience.”

Lombardo got her undergraduate degrees in English and Geography from the University of Texas, and is now getting her Masters in Advertising from SMU. Her internship with Dallas Zoo provides her a perfect opportunity to combine her interests.

“The internship speaks to my two very specific areas of interest – writing and conservation,” Lombardo said. “My [undergraduate] Geography coursework specifically focused on sustainability. I never thought I would find an internship that incorporated these interests so well, but it’s made my time at the Zoo even more special and invaluable in terms of experience.”

In the future Lombardo hopes to work in the field of advertising and marketing as a professional copywriter.

“I would like to work for a either a non-profit or an agency that specializes in non-profit advertising and marketing,” Lombardo said. “My internship at the Zoo has provided me with direct experience in crafting copy for a non-profit and appealing to the members/donors that support the 501(c) community. I would also specifically like to work on campaigns that revolve around conservation and social responsibility, which is a major area of focus in the content I produce for the Zoo.”

TAI Alum Marissa Lopez (’16) Shares How Undergraduate Experiences Influenced Her Career Path

Recent TAI graduate Marissa Lopez (’16) is now working as a Junior Art Director at BBDO in New York. Lopez has quite an impressive resume, participating in both the NSAC Ad Team and AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student (MPMS) program along with a variety of internships during her undergraduate career. Every unique experience that she had in college prepared her for the career she has now.

Marissa Lopez ('16)
Marissa Lopez (’16)

Lopez took advantage of all the internship opportunities she could. She had three advertising internships during her college career, at both large and small advertising agencies and directly for a brand. Working for such different companies allowed Lopez to get an idea of her ideal workplace.

“The summer before my Senior year was when I had my first advertising agency experience,” Lopez said. “I was an art director intern at Dieste, a multicultural advertising agency located in Dallas. I had the opportunity to work on Cricket Wireless, LaLa Yogurt, and AT&T accounts. When I returned to school in the fall I started an internship at Southwest Airlines as a digital marketing and design intern. I took this opportunity because I was interested in seeing the difference between advertising at an agency versus in-house. At Southwest I got to focus on how print translates into the digital sphere and website design. In the Spring of my senior year I worked at a smaller, boutique agency called Willow St. located in Deep Ellum. It was a great experience and I learned so much. The perk of a small agency at an intern level is the one-on-one time you get with industry professionals. During my time at Willow St. I designed packaging, a website and was constantly producing social media content for various brands. I think working at a smaller agency while still in college helped me to really focus in on my graphic design skills.”

All of these internship opportunities taught her some very important lessons that helped prepare her for her job today. While each taught her different skills and lessons, she took away several pieces of advice that can be applied to all internship experiences.

“Some of the most important things my internships taught me were how important work environment/company culture is, time management, and how to successfully handle direction and criticism,” Lopez said. “Once you set foot in the advertising industry you’ll be quick to notice that no one is going to hold your hand. It’s sink or swim, and you have to self-motivate and even fake it till you make it at times. The sooner you can get exposed to that, the better.”

Along with internships, Lopez had the opportunity to be a member of SMU’s NSAC Ad Team. She served as both a creative and a presenter on the team, giving her first hand experience in campaign design and pitching a campaign.

“My experience on the NSAC Ad Team was one of the most rewarding,” Lopez said. “At the end of the day, you have to be able to work with people regardless of what you do or where you’re working. Being able to be a ‘team-player’ is so cliché but it’s the truth. You want people to want to work with you. It’s how you get your hands on the best accounts and work. Ad Team is the closest experience you get to what working on a campaign at a professional level is like, and I’m so lucky to have gotten that exposure. I walked away with so much more confidence as a presenter, and also with a greater understanding of how important it is to put egos aside, be flexible and successfully work with others.”

Once starting her job at BBDO, Lopez quickly learned that while the campaigns she worked on in school have the same elements as campaigns at work, they also differ in many ways.

“In college when you’re working on campaigns for class or Ad Team, you have more creative freedom than you probably ever will again,” Lopez said. “Take advantage of that. The campaigns I’ve worked on at BBDO have a lot in common to Ad Team; there’s a brief, a target, a budget, a team you work with, and some type of deliverables. The biggest difference is the turnaround is not a few months, but instead a week, maybe if you’re lucky two.”

Lopez at MPMS awards.
Lopez at MPMS recognition.

While all of the previous experiences helped her gain skills and lessons for working at an advertising agency, Lopez attributes her current job to AAF’s Most Promising Multicultural Student program.

“MPMS is what got my foot in the door at BBDO,” Lopez said. “It was an extremely rewarding experience, and I was very honored to be given the award. It was so refreshing to see how diversity plays a role in the industry and how it is becoming such a large part of it. I was very fortunate to meet a BBDO recruiter that saw my potential at the awards program. Exposure and networking is so crucial. Take advantage of every opportunity, contest, award show etc. You never know who you will meet.”

After graduation, Lopez moved to New York to start her internship with BBDO. Soon after, she knew that she wanted to work there full-time, so she worked extremely hard to prove that she deserved the position.

Lopez inside the BBDO office in New York.
Lopez inside the BBDO office in New York.

“The internship was a wonderful experience, and I fell in love with the BBDO company culture and everyone I was working with,” Lopez said. “All of the creatives and the creative work I was surrounded by was extremely inspiring and I knew right away that I wanted to stay past summer and get hired on full-time. I did anything and everything over the course of the summer to prove that I deserved to stay. I worked late hours, weekends, and said ‘yes’ to every opportunity. After 5 months of interning, I was offered a full-time position as a Junior Art Director on the PepsiCo account and have been hard at work ever since.”

Lopez has used the skills she learned in her advertising and graphic design courses at SMU to achieve the success she has today.

“So much of what I learned in my advertising classes at SMU have translated and helped me in my job now,” Lopez said. “Being able to share and talk about your work is probably the most important one. You have to be able to believe in your ideas and get others to as well. At BBDO there are many people your work has to go through before it actually reaches the client, so you’ve got to be able to pitch and talk about it with confidence. All of the Graphic Design and Portfolio classes that required me to present and create presentations to show my work have all helped me so much today.”

Throughout her experiences, Lopez learned the importance of networking and being able to set yourself apart from others. She hopes that her advice can help current students achieve their goals as well.

“Network and meet as many people in the industry as you can,” Lopez said. “Most people are willing to help and share advice. Also, find a strength that sets you apart from others. It doesn’t even have to be a skill; maybe it’s a personality trait. Everyone is talented and creative, but find that passion or trait that’s unique to you and showcase it in your work, portfolio, or resume. People like to see passion. Also, just be nice. Working hard and being kind and genuine will actually get you places!”

TAI Student Mae Murrell Shares Her Internship Experiences

In her last two years at SMU, TAI student Mae Murrell has interned with three different advertising agencies. Through these experiences she has learned the ins and outs of what agency life is like, including culture, work pace, and the responsibilities of different positions.

Currently, Murrell is working at Johnson & Sekin as their account service intern. She is the only intern at the agency right now, so she has gotten to experience working with many different departments.

“When other departments need a helping hand, I’m there to help!” Murrell said. “So far, I’ve created two months’ worth of social calendars for three clients, scheduled and posted posts to all social media platforms, helped in the development of new brand positioning, creating recap decks for the client that include their analytics data, and pitched ideas for client newsletters. Recently, I’ve been dipping my toes in web development and coding.”

Working at a smaller agency, she has gotten to experience the unique culture that comes along with it.

“So far, I have loved the energy of Johnson & Sekin!” Murrell said. “Working in a small agency is so different than a large agency because you get to know everyone on a much deeper level. There may be less people but there certainly is more personality! Everyone in the office is more than just colleagues, they’re friends. From Halloween pranks to happy hours to ‘mystery jelly bean games,’ Johnson & Sekin employees know how to have fun at work.”

All of her internships have helped Murrell realize what facet of advertising she wants to start a career in once she graduates, which is account service.

“Account service did not fall directly into my lap,” Murrell said. “It took some digging to determine that this is what I wanted to do with my life. I started my internship journey in non-profit, moved to project management, and then did media and account service internships simultaneously at Moroch. There I learned that account service was the right place for me. This internship in account service has solidified that I’m on the right career path!”

The slide in Moroch's Dallas office.
The slide in Moroch’s Dallas office.

This past summer, Murrell worked at Moroch Partners here in Dallas. At Moroch she worked as both an account service intern and a media intern, working on clients like Dickies, Wilsonart, McDonald’s and Six Flags.

“At Moroch, I gained a ton of experience about account service,” Murrell said. “I was thrown straight in to working directly with clients and interacting with them regularly. This was the internship that truly taught me the art of how to work in account service. It does not just take organization skills. It’s a mix of every job: creative, technical, analytical and strategic. It’s necessary to have excellent communication and organization but also understand everyone’s role in the agency so that the campaign process can be carried out effectively and efficiently.”

While Moroch helped her discover her passion for account service, Murrell also had an incredible experience interning with Spill Agency in Paris, France. At Spill, she was a project management intern working with clients like Hermes, Chanel, and Memo Paris.

“[Spill] is an agency for luxury brand clients and focused more on the digital side of advertising. I learned how to get work, get it done efficiently, and make myself useful so that my supervisor’s jobs were made easier. In addition, I did the social media for Hermès, which was really fun! I helped with the new website launch of Chanel and Memo which was a lot of work but extremely rewarding.”

Working in a foreign country, Murrell had to adjust to the differences not only of living in a completely different country but also in the workplace. As the only American working at the agency, she easily noticed that the work environment was very different than that of an American agency.

Murrell in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Murrell in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

“One of the [biggest] differences was the pace of the agency in France,” Murrell said. “In America, the norm is to be consumed by work and be busy all the time. In France, they are leisurely about their work and put socializing first. I would go in to the office at 10am and be the first one there! That said, some days I would leave at 9pm and my colleagues would still be working away. The hours are, for the most part, shorter and end once they leave the office. There is no working at home or out of the office. Work stays at work.”

While her time in Paris was an irreplaceable experience for Murrell, it was unforgettable in more than one way. Completing her internship during the fall of 2015, Murrell found herself in Paris during the time of devastating terrorist attacks. Although she could have chosen to leave Paris after the attacks, Murrell stayed feeling it was her duty to help during the city’s time of need.

“Being in Paris during the attacks was a terrifying experience,” Murrell said. “Not just in the sense that I was scared for my safety but also in the sense that I was seeing the destruction of terrorism right before my eyes. After the attacks, people were like ghosts that wandered the streets of Paris. Each person’s eyes filled with sorrow, sadness, and most of all emptiness. Paris was no longer upbeat and exploding with love; the people lulled through the streets. Everyone had a broken heart: from the crying strangers on the streets to my coworkers mourning their friends, everyone was hurting. There were ‘what ifs’ running through everyone’s minds, and thoughts of how easily it could have been us. From it all, there were bonds that were being created among the people of Paris. Everyone was mourning and came together as a strong, united city.”

Although not every moment of her time abroad was as she had imagined, Murrell still regards her internship in Paris as her favorite thus far.

“Getting to work in Paris was a dream come true! I have always wanted to spend some time in Paris, and getting some advertising experience under my belt at the same time was the icing on the cake. Who knows, maybe I could end up there again someday!”

TAI Student Joshua Oh Shares Experience Participating in MAIP Internship and Program

This summer, TAI Digital Media Strategy student Joshua Oh participated in the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP). Through this professional development program, a select number of students are chosen every year to participate in summer-long internships across the country, as well as workshops and seminars.

Oh (far right) with a group of MAIP participants.
Oh (far right) with a group of MAIP participants.

“MAIP, in my point of view, is a really great opportunity for multicultural students to enter into the advertising world,” Oh said. “It also gives participants access to advertising internships that are really only accessible to those with direct connections. MAIP is also a great way to meet other people from other campuses around the world and build relationship with them.”

Over the summer, Oh worked at Hill Holiday, an advertising agency in Boston. The Hill Holiday internship was structured around a “pitch project” that all the interns in every department would participate in.

“Each of the interns were assigned to different parts of the agency,” Oh said. “For example, I was assigned to media planning and other interns were in production, new business, account planning, and other positions. For the pitch project, which was the highlight of the internship program, all 33 of the interns were split into four teams and two ‘clients.’ The two teams on each client were awarded a prize. So each intern had the work that was assigned to them by their supervisors, as well as the work for the pitch project.”

Oh (far right) with all the interns from Hill Holiday.
Oh (far right) with all the interns from Hill Holiday.

Although he worked in the media planning department, Oh also got to shadow video producers, something that he is interested in for the future.

“My favorite moment from my internship was when I got to talk to the producers and videographers at my agency,” Oh said. “Even though they assigned me to media planning, I had the opportunity to shadow some of the producers and ask questions during my downtime. It helped give me a better focus of what I wanted to pursue postgrad.”

During his internship, he worked with some pretty big clients and did a lot of hands-on work.

“I was part of the Dunkin’ Donuts team,” Oh said. “I pulled reports, helped budget the months, analyzed invoices, and other media planning duties. I also assisted the Supercuts team with Google AdWords.”

Outside of his internship, Oh also attended workshops and completed assignments that helped him get a better idea of the advertising world.

“MAIP planned small workshops for us, the MAIP interns, that were located in various ad agencies around Boston where we listened to speakers, asked questions, ate food they provided, and participated in activities,” Oh said. “We were also given a coding assignment on Khan Academy that was due by the end of the internship.”

The biggest workshop MAIP interns attend is a seminar in New York at the end of the summer. MAIP interns from all over the country come together for this seminar.

“My favorite memory from the program was the entire week I was in New York,” Oh said. “At the end of the internship, every MAIP participant gets flown to New York and not only do we get to attend seminars and career fairs, but we get a lot of free time to explore the city. New York City is now probably one of my favorite cities after Dallas.”

Throughout the program and internship, Oh learned a lot of valuable lessons that he can use well on into the future.

“I learned that almost everything in life can be negotiated,” Oh said. “Whenever I needed help or needed a fast break, all I had to do was ask. At first I was so surprised about how willing people were to help me out even though we’d never met before. I also learned where to focus my efforts to pursue the career path that I want to pursue and not put time elsewhere.”

Overall, Oh speaks very highly of MAIP and values his time in the program, as its benefits will carry on far after the program’s end.

“Although the internship had its ups and downs, emphasized by the fact that MAIP was in a transition period, the entire program was so beneficial,” Oh said. “I had so much fun, learned a lot about the advertising world, and gained so much global insight. The entire program also became worth it after I attended the MAIP Career Fair in New York. I saw how desperate the agency representatives were to hire people and how interested they were about our experiences.”

TAI Student Camryn La Sala Shares Experience Interning with Southwest Airlines This Fall

Dallas, and surrounding suburbs, is full of headquarters for many large national companies. Many of these companies offer a variety of internships in many different fields. Southwest Airlines is one of those companies, headquartered just fifteen minutes away from SMU’s campus. This fall semester TAI Strategic Brand Management student Camryn La Sala has taken the semester off to intern for Southwest Airlines. La Sala is midway through her internship, and has loved every minute of it.

La Sala on her trip to Chicago for WOW! The Customer Day.
La Sala on her trip to Chicago for WOW! The Customer Day.

La Sala applied for multiple fall internship positions with Southwest Airlines last spring. She was contacted in late April to do a phone interview, and had a final in-person interview in mid-July.

“At the time [of my phone interview] I was taking classes at SMU’s campus in Taos, New Mexico so finding cell service was a bit interesting to say the least, but I made it work!” La Sala said. “After not hearing back from Southwest for weeks, I assumed they found someone else to fill the internship position. Then come mid-July they asked if I was able to come to Headquarters and do an in-person interview. I spent my summer back home in New York, so they graciously flew me down the night before my interview and put me up in a hotel room at the Double Tree not too far from Dallas Love Field Airport and Headquarters. About two weeks after my in-person interview I heard back from the Southwest Airlines hiring team and was offered the position!”

As the Brand Communication Intern, La Sala is part of the greater Brand Management team. Although her responsibilities change on a regular basis, her overall job is the make her supervisor and team’s projects easier by providing them any assistance they may need.

“Every day as a Brand Communications Intern at Southwest Airlines is different,” La Sala said. “No matter what, I know that I will walk into the office every day to a welcoming team that strives to make sure that I have the best internship experience possible. This is my fourth internship, and I definitely could not say that about all my past experiences.”

La Sala has especially enjoyed the culture at Southwest Airlines, where she feels like part of the team and not just an intern.

“Every employee at Southwest Airlines is treated like an equal, including interns,” La Sala said. “When I was working at the Chicago Airport for WOW! The Customer Day last month, my team consisted of two full time employees as well as the Senior Director of Marketing, whom made a point to ask me my name and have a conversation with me. It is important to be nice to everyone because at Southwest Airlines you really never know if you’re talking to an entry level employee or the VP of marketing.”

So far, La Sala’s favorite memory was being flown to Chicago for Southwest’s “WOW! The Customer Day,” part of Southwest’s YES Activation. She was part of a team that gave away prizes to customers, including Rapid Reward vouchers, drink coupons, gift cards from Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts.

“For the whole day we interacted with Southwest Airlines customers by playing gate games,” La Sala said. “At one point we had a rock, paper, scissors tournament with eight different people! It was just a really awesome feeling handing out free gifts to our customers just because we love them. Southwest Airline’s culture is one of the most important parts about their company and it was nice to go out into the field and show that to people first hand. It was also very cool meeting the CEO of Southwest Airlines, Gary Kelly, when walking through the MDW airport later in the day!”

As Southwest Airlines is a major company, La Sala has found herself working on advertising campaigns that she had previously learned about in her advertising classes at SMU.

“It is super rewarding learning about certain things in a classroom and then coming to work at one of the best companies in the world to see it all play out,” La Sala said. “This internship has taught me to think on my feet. You always need to have your notepad ready, to prepare for the next task. You always want to be prepared. I bring my notebook with me to every meeting!”

Although she is only part of the way through her internship, La Sala is already advocating for Southwest, encouraging other students to apply.

“Interning at Southwest Airlines is worth the hype,” La Sala said. “I could not have asked for a more amazing company to work for. If any other SMU students are thinking about applying to intern or work at Southwest Airlines, do it! It will be a great experience, no matter what the outcome is!”

TAI Student Tanner Thompson Shares Experience Interning at The Richards Group

Being an advertising student in Dallas, one tends to hear about local agencies a lot. Luckily Dallas is full of great agencies, many of which offer intern positions that provide valuable real world experience. This summer, TAI Creative student Tanner Thompson had the opportunity to work as an Art Director Intern at The Richards Group.

As with most jobs, Thompson applied online, sent in his resume and portfolio, had a phone interview, and finally an in-person interview, where he was offered the job. But Thompson soon learned that this position was not like any other job.

Thompson and a group of interns.
Thompson and a group of interns.

“What’s so fun about being in advertising is that there isn’t a ‘typical day on the job,’” Thompson said. “Every day you get to do something different. I know that’s a cop out though, so I will say that a lot of my time was spent concepting ideas for campaigns, ads, layouts, website content, and the like, as well as doing tons of art direction and layouts for a bunch of different brands.”

Thompson worked on many different brands throughout his internship, including Chick Fil A, The Home Depot, Eyeglass World/Oakley, KeyBank, The Main Event, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Schwab Advisor Services, AAA and Shamrock Farms. But his main clients were TXU Energy and South University.

“My favorite client to work on was Chick Fil A,” Thompson said. “The ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ cows have social media pages, and my copywriter and I came up with all the stuff the cows posted for the month of August, which was a ton of fun. I also go to do some in-house work for the agency. I designed the Snapchat Geofiler for the entire agency, which was a blast.”

As much fun as Thompson’s client work was, his favorite memory involved a task given to Thompson and six other interns finding a creative way to remind fellow employees to get their food out of the fridge on Fridays. They came up with a concept of someone in a giant sandwich costume, called “The Stanwhich” walking around the agency to remind everyone to get their food.

Thompson and other interns walking around with "The Stanwich."
Thompson and other interns walking around with “The Stanwich.”

“We needed to get Stan’s permission to not only let us have a giant sandwich walk around the office every Friday which, as you could imagine, may be a bit distracting, but we also had to get his permission to use his likeness with the name ‘The Stanwich.’” Thompson said. “This meant we [had] to present our idea to Stan. No intern groups had ever presented creative work directly to Stan before, and as honored as we all were, we were also pretty nervous. The full-timers that were helping us with the project were super pumped that we would get to present to Stan, but also warned us that he may kill one or two aspects of the idea. We went into the presentation fully expecting to come out with a few bumps and bruises, but instead he ended up loving our entire idea and we got the ‘go ahead.’ The moment right after Stan walked out of the room, we all stood there for a second, silent, and then just exploded with happiness. Nobody could believe that we had just gotten the Stan Richards to let us have a sandwich walk around the office on a weekly basis. Everybody was jumping around, high-fiving and just laughing like crazy. The stress of the presentation was gone, and it couldn’t have gone better!”

Through all of these incredible opportunities, Thompson learned valuable lessons about The Richards Group, advertising, and working as an intern.

“I learned more than I could possibly [share], but I’ll try and hit the highlights,” Thompson said. “Unless someone asks, you’re not an intern. Say yes to everything. Nobody wants you to fail, so don’t. Outdoor billboards should never have more than eight words on them. ‘Make the logo bigger.’ Don’t overuse the intern excuse, but don’t underuse it either. Presentations are only scary if you’re unprepared. People are always late to meetings; that doesn’t mean you can be too. Stan Richards is the man. Make friends with everyone. Don’t forget your key card; everyone likes to laugh at the intern stuck in the stairwell.”

Thompson with another group of interns.
Thompson with another group of interns.

As Thompson’s internship provided him with many valuable takeaways, the most important thing he learned was about his future.

“[This internship] showed me that I’m on the right path,” Thompson said. “I had a blast going to work everyday this summer. In part because of the people, as well as the work.”

TAI Student Samantha Butz Shares Experience Interning with Weller Media Agency in NYC

Many people in the advertising industry will never experience being a part of creating the new culture at a brand new agency or location. But this summer, TAI Creative student Samantha Butz had this opportunity while interning for Weller Media Agency at their new office in New York City.

One of the walls inside the New York office at Weller Media Agency.
One of the walls inside the New York office at Weller Media Agency.

Weller Media Agency is a digital creative agency headquartered in London that focuses on “connecting brands, talent and audiences”. A year ago, they crossed the pond and opened a new office in New York City (NYC). The opportunity to work alongside major musicians and record labels while simultaneously building and agency created a unique experience for Butz.

“I initially contacted the London office because my other advertising friend had interned with them through SMU the previous summer,” Butz said. “[But] since I couldn’t get a work visa, they offered me a position at their NYC office.”

Butz was hired as a creative intern, and worked with the digital team on different musician’s collateral. Her clients included BØRNS, Zella Day, Vevo, and several other artists.

“The days would fluctuate depending on what was happening in the client’s lives,” Butz said, “so, if one musician was planning on releasing a single, we would focus on that client for the majority of the day to create content for them. Content could be anything from a promotional clip of their music video, a gif from a picture of them, or a poster design from a concert picture. My favorite memory was when my design was chosen for BØRNS’ social media campaign. It was crazy to see my designs on his Facebook page!”

Because the NYC office is so new, there were usually only six people working there on a given day. But this provided Butz the unique opportunity to work directly with the Digital Creative Designer, Senior Digital Strategist, and Head of Digital Marketing and Communications. She also got to help out the London office, working with the Senior Designer and Director of Creative Services in the UK.

Butz enjoying New York City.
Butz enjoying New York City.

“This internship was a great experience for me because it gave me an opportunity to explore a different segment of the industry,” Butz said. “Almost all of my projects were digitally driven which is something I hadn’t had a lot of previous experience with. The internship affirmed that I am interested in a creative career with clients that I’m passionate about.”

Throughout her internship, Butz worked directly on many client projects. She learned a lot about working with various types of clients, how a small but growing agency operates, and how to apply skills she’s developed through her advertising classes.

“I learned a lot of technical skills while also learning a lot about client-designer relationships,” Butz said. “Since a lot of our clients were musicians, they were very particular about all aspects of their band or identity. I had to learn how to absorb a brand’s aesthetic in my designs yet produce new and creative content. The creative skills [I learned in my advertising classes], ideation, brainstorming, concepting, and executing, all came into play during my internship.”

Butz in the Ice Cream Museum in New York.
Butz in the Ice Cream Museum in New York.

Butz also gained valuable life experience, learning what it’s like to live in a big city by herself for an extended period of time.

“More than anything, I learned a ton by just living in New York City by myself for a summer!” Butz said. “It’s a totally different lifestyle than in Dallas, or any other place I’ve visited, and I think it’s a great learning experience for anyone. One of my favorite experiences of the summer was being able to visit the Museum of Ice Cream, the art project that was open for a month. Something I loved about NY was the spontaneity and the ideas there; there are so many people with so many different and amazing ideas, you’re constantly seeing or learning something new every day.”

TAI Student Idara Akpan Shares Experience Interning With Razorfish Health

Akpan in the Razorfish Health Office.
Akpan in the Razorfish Health Office.

Many advertising students dream of working in Chicago or New York City, but competition is fierce and many never get the opportunity. This summer TAI Creative Advertising student Idara Akpan took the chance and applied to work in New York City as an intern for Razorfish Health, part of the Publicis Health network.

Akpan applied online, and was then asked to conduct a video interview. The company sent her questions, and she answered them in a short video. She then went through two rounds of phone interviews, including a final interview with the Senior Creative Director.

Working as a copywriting intern, Akpan had the opportunity to participate hands-on on several client projects.

“I created taglines, concepts, and ideas for the Purdue [Pharma] franchise,” Akpan said. “I created guidelines to help with consistency between brands in the Purdue franchise, created and concepted Razorfish Health in-house promotion, and participated in a Publicis Health internship-wide project to create a campaign, Apple Watch app, and phone app for a seasonal allergy OTC product.”

Akpan and a team of fellow interns.
Akpan (far right) and a team of fellow interns.

A typical day on the job included a status meeting regarding all the clients, in which people from the account, strategy, tech, and creative departments would all give updates. Then Akpan would check in with her manager to start working on taglines, brainstorm, or produce copy for the Purdue franchise websites.

“I mostly worked with the creative team, both art directors and other writers,” Akpan said. “I also worked with other interns around the Publicis Healthcare Group Communications network. My favorite memory was staying late for a brainstorming session. It was great to be swapping different ideas next to the Group Creative Director!”

Brainstorming became a big part of Akpan’s internship, and she attributes her brainstorming skills to her advertising classes.

Akpan in the streets of New York City.

“[The biggest skill that I had going into the internship was knowing how to] brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm!” Akpan said. “No idea is a bad idea. Put everything – and I mean everything – on the table.”

Her internship also provided a glimpse into what a career in creative advertising is like.

“The internship gave me a better insight on a different side of the industry,” Akpan said. “It was awesome to be in NYC and truly see how each of the departments work together to reach their goal. It also showed me how competitive it is to be a creative in NYC! There are so many creatives, you have to work extra hard to stand out.”

TAI Student Jackson Foley Shares His Experience Interning at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Rarely do students get the chance to work everyday on the set of one of their favorite television shows. But this summer TAI Creative Advertising student Jackson Foley had that opportunity. Foley worked as a Production Intern at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Like many other internships, Foley applied for this position online, through the CBS intern portal. Once he was chosen as a possible candidate for the job, he flew up to New York twice to interview.

“I learned in the process when applying for any job in creative production,” Foley said, “you will always be told when [and] if you got the job on the very last possible day they can tell you. In my case, that was the beginning of May, which gave me two weeks to find a place to live and move everything up there.”

Foley on the set of "The Late Show"
Foley on the set of “The Late Show”

A typical day on the job, if there really was one, involved arriving at the studio at 9am to coordinate with productions managers on the schedule for the day and prepare all the necessary papers and memos for the morning product meeting. After the meeting, Foley would work as a talent assistant or help with a digital shoot for the cold-open until 2pm. Then he would coordinate the progress of the script and print a finalized version for the rehearsal, along with a shot list. He would then run the shot lists to each camera and production staff, and deliver scripts to Stephen Colbert and the executive producers. At 3pm, he would watch rehearsal and then work on production tasks until 4pm, when he would run scripts again—now with the live audience in the theater. Foley would watch the show to make sure nothing in the script was incorrect or troublesome, and then work on digital shoots until 9pm.

“I worked predominately with the production side of the show, so stage managers, production coordinators, show runners and producers,” Foley said. “[Essentially] if the writers are the brain of a TV show, the script manager/runner is the nervous system that delivers the messages to each person that works on the show. Each day I mainly worked as a script manager or digital production assistant.”

Aside from running the scripts every day, Foley had a few more personal interactions with Stephen Colbert throughout the internship.

Foley standing in for a sketch on the show.
Foley standing in for a sketch on the show.

“I was a stand in for a sketch between Stephen and Bryan Cranston, where they acted like villains from a 1920s movie,” Foley said, “and got to speak with him briefly while the set was being finalized. At the end of the internship, he held a ‘seminar’ in a small room for around an hour where we could ask him anything we wanted to know, and he was honestly one of the smartest yet nicest people I’ve ever had the privilege to talk to.”

Foley’s favorite memories from his internship include special live shows “The Late Show” did during both political conventions this summer. Through this internship he realized something very important about his future career aspirations.

“Getting to see how each night came together was extremely satisfying,” Foley said. “From getting to see the writers bring in an actor look-alike for Melania Trump for the Republican Convention, to meeting and talking with John Stewart during the Democratic Convention. Working with ‘The Late [Show]’ really helped me discover my love for working at a place where each day is something entirely different from the day before, as well as how much I want to work in an industry that makes content people can laugh at and ultimately connect with.”

Foley attributes a lot of his internship success to skills he learned in his Advertising courses.

“Understanding how media buying and partnerships work was an incredibly helpful skill for helping set up a partnership between the show and Giphy,” Foley said. “Also, knowing how to layout information in an easy-to-understand [and] aesthetically pleasing way helped me get noticed while making posters/documents internally for the show, which led to a couple of conversations that got me more important [and] interesting jobs.”

Foley also learned some incredibly important lessons that serve as good advice to anyone working in a new position.

Foley with his fellow interns at "The Late Show"
Foley with his fellow interns at “The Late Show”

“In all honesty, what I learned the most from the internship is to always be up for ‘boring’ or ‘uninteresting’ jobs,” Foley said. “I was one of fourteen interns, half of which went to Ivy League schools, the other half being those with actual production experience, and the best way I became noticed was by doing the tasks that most didn’t clamor to have. Through that, I was given more and more jobs with increased importance, like costume runs or script deliveries, and eventually served as an interim writer’s assistant during the Live Shows. To make it short: Want to be noticed in a pool of talented [and] interesting people? Be proactive, even when you don’t have to be.”