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How to Avoid a Bad Marketing Internship

June 11, 2021

Mistakes and I are friends.

Perfection and I are not.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve made mistakes.

Growth doesn’t come from perfection. Growth comes from mistakes. The best learning happens the moments after a mistake occurs.

One of the biggest mistakes that I have made was with our Junior Residency Program. Symposia is a team of teachers. We’re obsessed with empowering our team and our clients to be ahead of the curve in their understanding of marketing.

Teaching is hard without clear expectations. Teaching is hard without clear leadership.

Last fall, we had an intern who was excited to learn. I forgot she was available. If you asked her what her job description was, she wouldn’t have been able to answer that. Rough, I know.

This was the epitome of poor leadership.

The lesson after this mistake? I shouldn’t be in charge of interns, and structure is so important.

Because of this experience, we reimagined our internships. The result: a badass, organized Junior Residency. All from a hot-mess mistake.

We still don’t have it all figured out. That’s a euphemism for we’re still getting our shit together. I mean, COVID-19 kinda threw a wrench in our pretty Junior Residency Program plans.

Since COVID, we have become a virtual team. We’ve learned that technology doesn’t solve problems.

People do.

Residents do.

We still face challenges with our Marketing Residency Program. We live in tension between giving our residents valuable work, and giving them work that aligns with what their schools, colleges, and universities say the real world is like.

We want our residents to gain hands-on experience. We want them to grow with us.

We’re all on a long journey of growth. As you begin your journey in internship land, here’s what you should look for:

  • Companies who want you to learn and grow alongside them.
  • People who listen well.
  • Leaders who humbly admit to their mistakes.

Your internship experience should help make you a better marketer, designer, salesperson, learner, and teammate. Spend time with a company who is willing to give you that experience.

Want to learn more about what this looks like? Check the guidelines of our Residency Program.