Feeling the Passion

This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Ha Tran, COL ’19.

Ha TranThis summer, I spent my time interning at a full-service advertisement agency in Washington, D.C. whose focus areas include political campaigns, issue communications, and corporate social impact. I was initially attracted to apply for GMMB because of their focus on creating positive social change and their long history of electing progressive candidates, including Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela. I was placed in the media team, and my most of my days were spent tracking competitive spending by (conservative) rival candidates across the country. My races were mostly gubernatorial races, but I also had some Senate races. It was illuminating to see how much the campaigns were spending on ads and helped me understand the scale on which political campaigns exist in America.

Compared to the last agency I was an intern for, GMMB felt huge. Two summer ago, I interned at a boutique digital marketing agency with around 10 employees. GMMB had over 200. I felt like a small fish in a big pond on my first day walking around unfamiliar faces, and it didn’t help that I started a week later than all the other interns. However, my nerves were quickly dispelled once I realized how warm and nice the office culture was. Everyone I met was incredibly helpful, and it didn’t take long for me to feel up to speed with training for my job. The larger size of GMMB also meant that my internship program had more structure to it. Interns had the pleasure of attending informational sessions that taught us how other teams within the agency functioned which broadened our understanding of how GMMB worked, along with informational lectures by public figures working in progressive spaces such as immigration reform and LGBT rights. We also worked a collective intern project which was to be presented to the whole company at the end of our internship, and it proved to be an invaluable experience. My team’s prompt was to create a campaign that would elect officials passionate about common sense gun reform in key swing states.

My favorite part of working at GMMB was meeting so many people who were passionate about their jobs. Though it wasn’t always clear how your work directly translated to positive change, I think that everyone at GMMB internalized the ethos of GMMB and that helped everyone feel the passion for their work. I want to thank Career Services for helping me pursue this opportunity! Their support helped me pay for housing and food during my time in D.C., and I was able to focus on my work without stressing about finances. Thank you helping develop my career!

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