With a pandemic hitting right in the middle of internship season in 2020, everyone at the Brandcenter was thrown a huge curveball. Some internships went virtual, but many were canceled altogether.
I was lucky — not only did my internship at The Escape Pod in Chicago, IL not get canceled, but I was able to experience it both virtually and in-person. What I learned in my internship search is that Brandcenter gives you all the resources and experience you need, but it’s ultimately up to you to land the position. Here’s how it worked out for me.
I started my internship search in January 2020 right when I got back from winter break. I updated my portfolio and my resume. I had professors at Brandcenter and people in the industry review all of my materials before sending in applications. That’s one thing to really take advantage of at Brandcenter: the professionals both at the program and the Brandcenter industry connections are more than willing to help you make your portfolio and resume as solid as possible.
I knew I wanted to find an internship outside of Richmond and was constantly checking the internship board that the Brandcenter set up for us. I ended up applying to 15+ internships through the job board. I also talked with the second years who had interned at the places I was applying to to get their views on what it was like to work there.
Things seemed to be going well, but then the pandemic hit. I didn’t know what was going to happen but kept in contact with every place I had interviewed with. I ended up getting an offer from The Escape Pod in late March/early April. I accepted the offer not knowing what the internship was going to look like, but Brandcenter teaches us to be adaptable to any situation, so I knew I could handle the work and structure that a pandemic internship could entail.
My mentor at The Escape Pod, Tyler Moore, is a Brandcenter alum, so he knew the potential and skills I had going into the internship. That allowed me to dive right into the work with no hesitation. The Brandcenter curriculum I had been taught up to this point allowed me to feel comfortable taking on various tasks and projects. It gave me a baseline understanding of everything going on at the agency, which meant I could learn and pick up things quickly.
Perhaps the most important skill I’ve learned at Brandcenter that I put into practice at my internship is how to be open to criticism and feedback. How to be ok with failure and having to start from scratch. It’s never easy to admit when something just isn’t working, but it’s critical to the growth process and finding the best solution. Thanks to Brandcenter, I understand that process and have grown so much this summer and last year because of it.
Cat Marsh (ST, 2021)