“Hi, I’m Heidi. I’m the Analytics Intern at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness in New York. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
For two months, that was my identity. It was something I boasted to everyone I met for the first time, even people who were not from Publicis Health. I was so proud to have been selected out of all the candidates that applied for the position; and honestly, I had no idea what I was expecting. As a computer science major, I admittedly came in knowing nothing about the advertising world. In the first two weeks, I spoke to over fifty people on a one on one basis; many of whom were people who had specifically studied advertising or a similar field in school, while others were like me — people who simply stumbled upon it.
It was absolutely mesmerizing hearing about everyone’s story – where they came from, where they grew up, how they got to Publicis Health, and why they stayed. Talking to these people greatly revealed something about myself.
For a long time I considered myself to be an introvert despite being conversant with strangers and peers alike. I always joked that perhaps it was my undiscovered acting abilities that called upon the social character within.
It wasn’t until halfway through the internship that it hit me: I was never faking anything — I was a curious being who wanted to know about everything. Likewise, I also enjoyed explaining and demonstrating new things to people.
For example, one of the tasks I accomplished during my internship was writing a simple program that, for the sake of convenience, saved a lot of time for my team by automating a specific arduous, repetitive, manual process. While the process writing the code itself a was a fun, interesting, and challenging project, it was even more satisfying once I had it working and had presented it to my team. Demonstrating the code and program was very much like how the Analytics department explained their findings in client meetings. I loved that.
Another aspect that surprised myself was how much I enjoyed working on the Publicis Health’s Summer Intern Project for the Skin Cancer Foundation. Like the internship itself, I came into it with no prior experience. I, along with seven other interns, had to work on a cross-state, cross-agency campaign made from scratch for six weeks and pitch it to our client at the very end of it; something none of us had ever done before. Two of our team members were even in Chicago, meaning that the whole group wouldn’t see each other until the day of the pitch. Now, you may be thinking that that probably ended up in a huge disaster. Well, let me tell you now, it didn’t. Did we win? Well, no. Did we make the finals? Well, we didn’t make that either – BUT, I believe we were still the best group out there.
Why? Because we had chemistry. We were a group with a multitude of complementary skills — and we worked well together. We spoke every day of the work week, and sometimes over the weekend, for hours. We had vigor and determination. The day before the pitch, the “Chicagoans” flew into New York and we all decided to meet up and practice our pitch in their hotel rooms. The first time I saw them, it wasn’t seeing strangers for the first time, it was seeing two friends, two comrades- two people I’ve known for ages who had come back to visit after a long trip away. We stayed in that hotel room that night to practice as a close knit group of friends who were in it together.
Although we lost the pitch, we gained lasting friendships and an invaluable experience we’ll take with us well into our careers.
To my SSW family: thank you so much for giving me the most memorable Summer I’ve ever had. I learned so much in absolutely everything; the industry, the people, myself. I gained a new set of skillsets that I know will prove useful now and into the future. Even now I find myself analyzing every single advertisement I see on TV or online. I try to find their key insight; sometimes it’s easy and other times it’s mind boggling how the ad even got approved. I see a CTA and tell myself, “Ah! There it is!”
SSW has been an absolute wonderful experience and has really made me feel like an #internwithpurpose.
Till next time Saatchi!
Feel something. Do something.