The diary of a media agency intern

Hi there, I’m Matthew, The Internet Works’ intern. I’m just putting the finishing touches to this, my first diary entry, on a Friday after attending a traditional ‘media Thursday’ last night – boozing and schmoozing at a Carat drinks do. But I felt fine this morning – which is one of the reasons I think I got this gig!

On the other hand, I reckon I got hired because of my name. There were two Johns in the office and only one Matt before I arrived to balance things out.

It was the shortest interview ever: with what I assume are some typical media agency questions like how much alcohol I can handle on a Thursday and come in fresh on Friday. The less typical part was to fly a virtual reality plane in the Red Bull Air Race computer game, which is one of the sales projects the company is working on with the game’s publisher. And my interview was pretty much done… That’s just agency life in London – well I thought it was a breeze until I had to go to my first media agency party, thanks to Cloth Court media agency. It was an eye opener and I felt considerably worse than I do today – so you can see I’m learning fast.

In terms of employability skills, the nerdy bit I suppose is that this one-year internship with TIW is part of my Business, Management and Marketing degree at Aston University Business School. The more important bit for Chris (my CEO) I think is that I can handle banter and crack a lot of bad jokes. And for Kelvin (the sales director) I think it’s that I love to listen to “Absolute 80s – The UK’s only 80s radio station” – although, I wasn’t even planned for existence back in that decade. Apparently that will do for a bizdev/sales support role.

Even without the office radio arguments, banter and media drinks, it is absolutely a great work placement. I am learning sooo much. From day-two I got to sit in on meetings with chief execs of massive publishers and get to go to sales meetings and see how the veteran sales guys kill it. I have a wide selection of mentors in the office always sharing their experience with me on how to open, present, tackle objections and close. ABC.

Personal development-wise, one of the biggest things for me has been learning Cockney. “Have a butcher’s before you cross, mate!!” John shouts to me as we cross the road to grab lunch. Have a what? – as a young chap with a Slavic accent like a Bond villain I was totally oblivious to Cockney banter. But as I was going up the apples, gobbling on my dog, my mate John took the mickey out of me about my dapper shirt, and then I had revelation – I think I actually get it now.

On a more serious note, the best bit about working is that it teaches you real skills. While university education it is awesome in terms of strategic thinking, work offers a hands-on approach on how the magic happens that you could never get in the lecture theatre.

On a day-to-day basis, you understand how important it is for clients to keep them in the loop with regular reporting but also to utilise your time efficiently so you can go and sell more advertising on their behalf. It is a fine balance that you don’t really learn in uni.

I also understand more than ever that, whether you have a diploma or not, you are a goner without proper communication skills because cooperation is so crucial. For example, I love the fact we have an open floor plan because I can easily chat to anyone in the team about issues we are trying to solve (and I’ve found that it’s a team, a bit like Marvel’s Avengers, where each member has a special superpower and so I can hopefully absorb a bit from each one – I think this will be the focus of my next diary entry).

55/38/7. The golden ratio of human communication – body language, tone of voice, meaning of words. These are the weights each of these hold in every interaction.

Having done numerous presentations before, I am quite fluent in body language (and no, this is not my typical pickup line). But now having to do cold calls and emails, I feel I am mastering the power of tonality and language.

Without wanting to sound too cheesy, this is the best year of uni in terms of learning!

Watch this space for entry number-two in the diary of a media agency intern…

Comments are closed.