One of my college goals was to land an internship at an advertising agency before I graduated. That’s why I am especially grateful to JWT INSIDE for having taken me under its wing this summer as their business development intern.

Like any new experience, I started my summer job with a familiar mix of excitement, nervousness and uncertainty. Although I’ve worked odd jobs throughout my whole life – and have been involved in pre-professional organizations all throughout college – this internship was my first time working in a fast-paced and competitive agency setting.

Fourteen fulfilling weeks later, I’ve been thoroughly exposed to the dynamic inner-workings of JWT INSIDE and realize that I still have so much more to learn. But I’m grateful for the connections I’ve made and the sharp minds I’ve been learning from at this agency, one of the very best in the industry.

So, what was interning at an ad agency like for a newbie?

Always busy. (And never once did I have to fetch coffee.)

From my first day to my last, I sat in on meetings ranging from creative to media strategy, worked on collaborative projects with other interns, and researched (lots of research!) potential new opportunities. JWT INSIDE’s work is largely focused on employer branding, so I can now recognize and articulate employment challenges that are specific to a prospective client or company. And I understand how media planning and tracking actually work.

In my business development role, I followed the up-and-down journey of gaining new clients from start to finish. I learned to use Keynote and I spent hours creating decks for prospecting purposes. I navigated marketing tracking software and used data to emphasize patterns and trends. In the conference room, I watched an executive team navigate its pitch process for a very large company and I was introduced to the complexities of creating successful campaigns for their clients.

Overall, working in advertising requires hard work, creativity, and a careful understanding of people.

Where will this experience take me?

As I leave JWT INSIDE and head back for one last semester of college, I have a newfound confidence about navigating my future. I better understand how to use my strengths and improve upon my weaknesses, and I realize how valuable it will be to build my public speaking skills (advertising requires excellent speakers!). Everything I learned at this agency can also be applied to a classroom setting, so I still have time to better my academic performance as well.

For anyone thinking about interning at an advertising agency, go for it. Work hard and stay curious. Ask questions. Ask LOTS of questions. Don’t be afraid or intimidated if you feel young and clueless; every professional was once in your shoes! And never forget that your perspective matters.

And speaking of questions, we’d love to hear any that you may have! Email: conversations@jwt.com

Makayla Hays works as the 2018 business development summer intern at JWT INSIDE’s Atlanta office. She is from Peachtree City, GA and studies mass communication and marketing at Georgia College and State University.