The Media Internship Experience
An internship can be life changing. You gain hands-on experience in your desired field, you fall even more in love with the idea of what your career could be while also learning what you maybe don’t love about it as much, you meet and build relationships with leaders in the field, and gain colleagues who sometimes turn into friends.
Selecting what internship you want to pursue can be tricky, and feel overwhelming at times.
That is why we host an information session (register here) before the application deadline – so you can feel confident that the True Media internship is the right fit for you and your career goals.
We sat down with the intern class of Summer 2022, who all accepted offers with True Media, to talk about their experience, and how it set them up to grow their career in media.
- Tyler Lee – Currently a Media Strategy Associate in Minneapolis
- Gavin McDonald – Currently a Media Assistant in St. Louis
- Lukas Pierce – Currently a Media Assistant in Kansas City
Tell us a little about yourself – where did you go to school, what did you major in, what made you interested in a career in media?
TYLER: I majored in strategic communications and psychology at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. What really drove me to work in media was how data driven media work is. Although I might not love math, I feel like I am most successful when I am working with data that can inform my decisions, so I felt like the media was a great fit for me.
GAVIN: While writing this, I am a senior at Maryville University in St. Louis, graduating this semester with a BA in Business Administration and minor in Communication. I have always been drawn to media related work because my father works as a creative producer. I knew his field interested me, but wanted to do something of my own as well and Project Management at True Media looked like the perfect fit.
LUKAS: At the time of writing, I’m in my last semester at Truman State University for a BA in Public Communication, with a focus on Advertising and a minor in Linguistics. I first became interested in media through my involvement with our college radio station here on campus during my Freshman year. While I knew I wanted to major in Communication, doing that really helped narrow that focus for me. I especially love how opportunities in fields like this are able to utilize both my creative and analytical skill sets, which is why I chose to pursue it the way I did.
If you could sum up your internship experience with True Media in just one word – what would it be and why?
TYLER: “Comprehensive”. A lot of internships are hyper focused on one topic area. For someone who hasn’t worked in the agency space before, it can sometimes feel like a roll of the dice on whether or not you’ll like the role you sign up for, but with True Media’s program I got a comprehensive overview of a media agency as a whole, which allowed me to make more informed decisions about my career going forward, as I had experience working in every role.
GAVIN: “Explore” would be the word I use to describe my internship experience at True Media. From day one, interns are welcomed into True and everyone is excited to meet you. Over the course of the internship, you are encouraged to learn the basics of how each department works in hope that you find the place that best fits your skills and interests.
LUKAS: I think my ‘one word’ would probably be “Open”– and I mean that in just about every sense of the word. The internship program did a great job of letting us explore different avenues and roles so we could get a feel for where we would fit best once the program had concluded. The whole experience was really whatever we made of it. Each of the interns that I trained with brought a different set of strengths and we were able to explore areas that appealed to each of our skill sets; Along the way we could learn not just from our mentors, but from each other as well. Additionally, all of my mentors were very open to questions and made me feel welcomed from the get-go.
What was your favorite part of the internship experience?
TYLER: For me, I enjoyed being able to dive into all of the different aspects of media work. Going into the internship I had little experience with the agency space and what the actual day to day work of all the different roles truly were, so it was great to be able to come in week to week doing different types of work, which allowed me to find what I am truly passionate about.
GAVIN: My favorite part of the internship was being able to meet and work with so many people at True Media from all over the United States. It blew my mind how well I was able to get to know the other interns and people working at True through relationships created over video calls. Some of my favorite people I know live in other states or on the opposite side of my state and I believe this is pretty special.
LUKAS: My favorite aspect of the internship was the ability to explore aspects of Media that I hadn’t encountered in my coursework. Most of my coursework focused on the research and planning/strategy aspects of Media, but didn’t go into as much detail on things like measurement and reporting. Had I relied solely on my coursework, I wouldn’t have been able to get the entire picture in the way that a ‘hands-on’ situation can give.
How did you feel the internship prepared you to finish your degrees and start a full-time career?
TYLER: I would say that the internship prepared me to start my full-time career greatly. I think that it’s very common for individuals still in school to have a strong foundation of hard skills to build off of, but often I think students feel like they don’t have a true understanding of what their career will actually be like. The internship program helped me truly understand what that day to day looks like for many different roles, which not only helped me figure out what I wanted to do, but that understanding helps me better work both within and between the teams here at True Media, as I can look at any role and know what they do and how I can best set them up for success.
GAVIN: I would say the internship has helped me better allocate my priorities, both professionally and academically. One obvious way the internship has helped me prepare to finish my degree is earning credit at my university for the internship. Professionally, I have been able to make lots of connections with people in the industry and grow my network, which has helped give me a jump start on my full-time career.
LUKAS: I would definitely say that it has helped me, both in the academic and the professional spheres. It’s given me a level of practical experience that I feel like many of my classmates are lacking. Additionally, having a bit of that real-world experience has made it much easier to think of ways in which my coursework can be applied in a more concrete way. My coursework feels a lot less like abstract theory, but instead a set of tools that I already understand that situations in which they can be utilized.
What department were you hired into, and what drew you to that department?
TYLER: I eventually ended up working in the Performance Media department, which was an area that I never thought I would have an interest in back when I was in college. For me, it was the perfect combination of data driven decision making and creative freedom. Most work in performance media has best practices but no exact “right way” so it’s become a place that I feel like I can thrive in, and I don’t think I would’ve started my career in performance media if it wasn’t for the diverse experiences presented in the intern program.
GAVIN: I was hired, and am currently working in, the Project Management department. Early on in the internship I felt a strong pull to the work Project Managers do at True Media. This meant that in addition to my continued learning and diving into the other departments, I was able to take a look at what real client work looks like for the Project Managers and help them in any way that I could.
LUKAS: I am currently working part-time in the Activation Strategy department. At the conclusion of my internship, I found that I was torn between a couple different possible positions within True Media. The Activation Strategy, Campaign Operations, & Project Management teams all had different aspects that I felt I could excel at and a few that I still was a bit hesitant about. Ultimately, I was offered a position in the Activation Strategy department, and it has been a great experience so far.
Aside from the client work you do, what do you enjoy about the culture and people of True Media?
TYLER: The team at True Media is by far the best group of people that I have worked with. I think that we have a great group of people that make work much more enjoyable. For me the team can make or break my work experience and the team at True is amazing.
GAVIN: For me, the people at True Media are one of my favorite parts of working here. I have met many people that I consider to be friends now, which makes coming to work or joining a call an enjoyable experience that I can look forward to. I enjoy the work I do at True Media, and the people here are the cherry on top.
LUKAS: I’d have to say that the people at True Media are one of my favorite parts of the job. My coworkers are all very friendly, and I feel that we work together well, which is something that I consider the most important part of a workplace environment.
What makes you most excited for your career here at True Media?
TYLER: What’s most exciting to me about working at True Media is that the future of the company seems promising and exciting. Right now we are growing both internally with new employees joining the team and externally with new and exciting clients joining us. True doesn’t feel stagnant, it feels like it’s moving in a great direction.
GAVIN: One of the most exciting parts about my future at True Media is the direction the company is headed. I feel lucky that I have been able to get in at True early because every day we are growing with new amazing people and clients. I am excited for the ride and cannot wait to see how far this company will go.
LUKAS: I think the most exciting part of working at True Media is the changes that come with each day. Given the ever evolving nature of the advertising industry, there’s always new situations to figure out and new challenges to adapt to. It keeps every day fresh and interesting. Each new client that I work with has their own asks, eccentricities, and nuances that allow me to continually learn and grow my skill set and knowledge.
What advice would you give to students considering applying for an internship with True?
TYLER: I think the advice I would give students who are applying for internships as a whole, is to first evaluate what you want to get out of your internship. Some people are dead set on what type of work they want to do and they’re gonna find work in that field, but for many they might be unsure about what type of work they truly want to do within the agency space. That was the position I found myself in last year, and I wanted to get some direction out of my internship and a program like the one at True Media helped me understand the ins and outs of the agency space and find where I best fit in it.
GAVIN: My best advice for students who are considering applying for an internship with True is to keep an open mind. The best part of the internship is the exposure to all of the different departments. I recommend coming in on day one ready to learn Media and try to get the most of you can out of the internship. Everyone is here to help you!
LUKAS: The best advice that I could give to anyone who is interested in applying for this position is to not sell yourself short. More specifically, don’t let yourself get caught up in the idea that you’re not experienced yet. The whole point of an internship is to learn and to gain experience. If you don’t put yourself out there, you’ll never get the chance to see what you can do.