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Lessons Learned, An Intern’s Summer Experience

Throughout the past two months, I have had the privilege of being an intern at Access. I can say that I have learned quite a bit about different aspects of the advertising industry and advertising companies themselves. Below are some of the highlights of my internship, and some insight into what I have gained from this experience.

Let’s back up to October of my sophomore year at UVA when everyone seemed to be already lining up internships for that summer. *Cue me scrambling to find one as well. *

I have had an interest in media for a long time and have gained a bit of experience through my schooling, various clubs and an internship. While this is great, I still had not chosen a media path that I would like to specialize in for my career. My main goal for the internship coming in was to gain more experience and hopefully figure out more about what I would like to do. While this is frustrating for me that I haven’t made up my mind, I also realize that it is difficult for possible internship employers because they don’t know quite where to stick me. Access was unlike this. They rolled with my indecision and were able to provide a wide range of different media experiences to allow me to get a feel for what I might like and what I might not like. I found it especially helpful to get a taste of everything from video production, to creating pitches for different companies of varying specialties, to attending meetings and see the business side of advertising.

I discovered that I really appreciated seeing the video production best. I came in knowing that I liked video production and had some experience with it, but I found it fascinating to be on video shoots for different companies. The video shoots I had normally been on were either productions that I had come up with for different school projects or were pretty standard interviews. I really enjoyed seeing the different video equipment and how a commercial like that would normally run. I also enjoyed editing clips from different interviews and splicing the proper clips together for the Roanoke Advertising History Project.

Creating pitches for different companies was really interesting to me as well. I really appreciated being involved in the meetings to discuss the pitches. It was a great learning experience for me, because I would think that something I had created could work for the company, but go to the meetings, hear other pitches and say to myself, “oh, yeah, mine really isn’t all that good in comparison.” I feel like my creative skills have improved from that and I am able to better interpret what a company would like from the pitch. I also learned the importance of an occasional “sacrificial lamb.”

Meeting with different companies and seeing how Access would try to pitch different products was also a great learning experience. It gave me a look into the business side of marketing, which I have not had too much experience with. I am attending a business institute in the fall to heighten these skills. I do not think I would have looked at the institute as seriously if I did not have this experience and did not have Mr. Marcum’s advice to take a few business classes while at school to make myself better at the industry and more attractive to possible future employers.

It was beneficial to me to work with different companies and use various tools to complete a project. Before the internship, I had not heard of Audiosocket, Musicbakery, and had only used Getty Images a few times (who knew they had videos too?!). Working with a range of companies that had different expectations for their products expanded my creative skills. Obviously, I knew that a hospital would want a different advertising tone than a choir, but I thought it was great exposure to put those skills to practice.  

Overall, one of the greatest parts of the internship was Access’s atmosphere in general. Everyone is incredibly nice and helpful. You can tell that everyone likes their jobs and works really well together, which I think says a lot about a company. I am especially grateful for this opportunity. Coming in as a 20-year-old intern with only some experience and a knack for asking a lot of questions, I was taken seriously from day one. From Rachel helping me get an interview with Access in the first place, to Misty helping me break into Todd’s computer when he was in a meeting, to Melissa helping me avoid a parking ticket when I parked in front of the fire hydrant, to Trina positively greeting me everyday, to Chris’s jokes at meetings, Tony’s matter-of-fact attitude, and Todd’s guidance, patience, life advice and movie recommendations, thank you to everyone at Access, I truly appreciate it.



Author Michelle Hedrick is a third year at UVA and is majoring in American Studies and Media Studies. Throughout the summer Michelle assisted Todd with various projects, including the production of the Roanoke Advertising History Project. 

Topics: Agency Life