Internships at huge fortune 500 companies and nationwide household names can be appealing to students interested in marketing and advertising. However, did you know that it is not uncommon to see larger companies outsource their marketing and advertising needs? Smaller advertising agencies offer a close work community, and frequently partner with big brand names. While I do see the appeal of starting your first professional experience at a nationally known company, a smaller advertising agency can be the perfect environment for students, especially if you’re interning for the first time. During my time at BURKE, I’ve discovered all the benefits a smaller advertising agency has to offer including networking possibilities, consistent opportunities for involvement, and diversity with the many hats you get to wear.
You might think more networking opportunities await at a large corporation, but as an intern it will be difficult to make personal connections with people outside your immediate interactions. At a smaller advertising agency, there are less people to meet and a greater opportunity to become familiar with everyone in the office. You may be one of few interns or maybe even the only one, so it will be much easier for people to remember you and make a connection. These connections will be excellent tools when it comes to receiving recommendations and seeking advice on your resume and portfolio. smaller advertising agencies also often partner with larger recognizable names. BURKE has worked with nationally known clients and currently has accounts with names such as, Anthony & Sylvan Pools and Food Lion.
At a smaller advertising agency, you are easily accessible as an intern. A common fear with pre-internship jitters is that you’ll end up being forgotten about in a busy corporate atmosphere, and won’t be assigned enough work to keep you busy. At a smaller agency, everybody knows who you are and knows you’re available to help with anything. They treat you as if you’re a part of the team, rather than using you to go on coffee runs. You’re also likely to be included in on meetings, whether it be between office staff or with visiting clients. The close-knit atmosphere of the agency ensures that you will be frequently included on professional projects and able to voice your ideas.
At a smaller advertising agency like BURKE, you get a feel for every different opportunity within your field of choice. BURKE considers themselves “the fuller service agency” for a reason, having a full in-house staff that can cater to every marketing need a client may want. Being at the bottom of the office hierarchy means you have a clear view upward, in every direction. Especially at an advertising agency, where there are many moving parts that each team works on individually, as well as collaboratively. For example, to create a responsive website, it takes the design team, web team, and account management team to pull it all together. The design team creates the web comps and any graphics or illustrations that may be included. The web team works the back and front-end development and coding aspect of the project. Lastly, the account management team allocates all moving parts and stays in contact with the client to make sure the scope of the project stays on track. Each team has their part, but the website wouldn’t be complete without all teams collaborating.
As a student who may not have a definite career path chosen yet, this is a great opportunity to become familiar with all the different departments that may exist at your agency such as graphic design, account services, photography, web development, social media management, and more.