Hello hello.. This can be a “dear diary” moment for me. My name is Nil and this fall, I worked as a Data & Analyst intern for Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness. I am from Turkey and majoring in Data Analytics and Economics at a small liberal arts university called Denison in Granville, Ohio. 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. I admittedly came in knowing nothing about advertising, let alone anything about the pharmaceutical companies and how it really works in the United States (aka a country that I did not grow up in). Despite all the challenges, it was absolutely fascinating to learn about extraordinarily hard pharma terminology and how it is used in advertising. I will be forever grateful for the chance I have been given to apply my knowledge to real life projects in order to get concrete, tangible outcomes that will make healthcare more accessible across the country.
However, lets not forget that, my first very own real job experience was virtual. I can hear you saying… “A virtual internship? Really?”, YES. At first, it feels odd to start to work with people you do not know at all. However, that is not the challenge. There is little to no opportunity to hear about everyone’s story – where they came from, where they grew up, how they got to Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, and most importantly why they stayed. I find it a lot easier to hold these conversations on video chats with naturally social people than quieter individuals. Ironically, this is the case even in “real life”. Despite being an extrovert, I generally found these virtual interactions a lot more tiring than in-person interactions. However, this did not hold me back from being curious. I was a curious being who wanted to know everything about everything. Likewise, I also enjoyed explaining and demonstrating everything I know about everything to people.
Along with completing my senior research on Global Terrorism, taking advanced classes for both of my majors, and working as an intern, I worked on various projects with various clients at Saatchi & Saatchi. On top of that, I did my own project about COVID-19, where I collected extensive data on unemployment rate on a county level, and on demographic indicators within those counties like gender, race, and age. Throughout this project, I learned so much from my manager, Mackenzie Gray, and was pushed A LOT from my “academic knowledge zone” to take a step into vast and unknown world of SQL and coding. I was exposed to new data analytics tools like Adobe Analytics.
Interestingly, the most difficult part of my time with SSW was also the most rewarding time I had. And that was not being able to build that network with others at the firm, not just your immediate daily contacts but with the whole team itself. I think it’s important to build working relations with as many people as you can, but with a virtual internship, organic networking becomes difficult. And that is the most valuable lesson I learned during my internship.
Also, to anyone reading this blog here is rundown of things I learned from my 12 weeks long internship:
- Ask A LOT of questions, the more the merrier. (Literally)
- Own any project given to you, even if it is not.
I believe this was the hardest thing for me. Working under teacher supervision and homework guidance is different than working for the needs of a client. Sometimes, I was included into projects midway through or sometimes at the end to complete insights. Even the project is not yours from the beginning to end, OWN IT. I learn to adopt it. I learn to be flexible in my own plans and paths. I learn to bring new creative ideas to the table to have a clearer shot to the bigger picture.
- Confidence is the BEST medicine when you are starting anything new.
- Do not hesitate to go back to your work and polish it according to the given feedback.
- Take a moment to pat yourself on the back.
To my Saatchi & Saatchi family, thank you so much for giving me the most memorable Fall I have ever had and lighting a spark in my sucky 2020. I learned so much from the people, from the data and lastly from the industry. I gained a new set of skills and work ethics that I know will prove to be useful in my future.
Until next time, Saatchi!