When you’re a kid, you grow up hearing adults say, “Time sure does fly!” As a kid, I did not understand this. “What do you mean time flies?” It felt like an eternity in between each Christmas and each birthday. I did grasp the fact that time did pass more quickly when you were having fun. Spending 30 minutes on homework felt eternal, whereas playing with a friend for 30 minutes came and went in a blink of an eye. However, I could not have been more wrong. Time does fly by as you get older, which left me wondering: if the feeling of “time flying by” comes naturally with age, what does that mean when we’re old AND having fun? Will we blink and all of the sudden be 65 and telling our grandkids, “Life is too short”?
The reason I am bringing up this philosophical topic is because we have just wrapped up our fifth week and are in the middle of our last week here at HLK. Meredith was right when she said, “These six weeks will fly by!” It is a bittersweet moment because we, as a team, have become very close. We look forward to coming to work every day because who doesn’t want to spend all day with their friends working on a campaign? We have learned a lot over the last five weeks and we are here to tell you about our time at HLK and give advice to future Launchpad interns.
I asked my team to answer the following questions:
What was your favorite part about the internship? AND What is your favorite part about HLK?
What were some fascinating thing(s) you learned at HLK? AND/OR What has HLK taught you that can be applied later in your career?
If you could choose a different internship position that wasn’t you own, which would you chose and why?
What advice/tips do you have for future interns in your role?
Jeff - Media Strategist
My favorite part about the internship this summer was the new perspective I gained. I cannot look at a commercial, Facebook ad, or billboard the same way. My favorite part about HLK was the incredible atmosphere. Every day, walking into the building, you don’t feel like you are going to work. Everybody is approachable and has nuggets of gold to share with you (not literally, though that would be nice). I learned to work as part of a team that gets business done. It became abundantly clear that without proper communication, the entire team’s work would falter. You are only as strong as your weakest link. HLK taught me that work can and should be enjoyable. You should not spend your life doing something that you dread waking up for. If I could have any other positions I would become the Strategist so that I could dive even deeper into research. I’d love to study corporate and consumer behavior. Aaron did an excellent job, so I’d love to use the knowledge I learned by observing his work, and try to build off of it.
Tips for future interns:
Do not be scared to ask questions when you have no clue what you should be doing. Literally everyone around you is in a position where they have experience and knowledge to help you, and almost everybody would love to help you and see you improve. Also, make sure to keep your fellow interns in the loop on what you are doing. Solid communication will produce solid results. Lastly, make a list every day when you are about to leave work of what you want to accomplish the next day.
Aaron - Strategist
My favorite part about the internship is how truly hands-on the experience was. As the Strategist intern, I'm not an intern for the strategists; rather, I directly work with a team of five other interns on our own projects for our own clients, and the only coffee I fetch is my own. Thanks to this internship, I've learned about the ins and outs of working at a "full-service digital agency," and hope to apply my newfound knowledge at similar positions in the future. If I could choose a different internship position that wasn't my own, I'd enjoy being a part of creative — be it Art Director, Content Manager, or Copywriter. Watching their workflow was utterly mesmerizing, from animating strawberries on Photoshop to creating Facebook canvas ad mockups. I'd love the chance to practice my own creative production skills, which the team totally let me do by allowing me to create an intern hype video! I couldn't imagine my summer without HLK and all the memories (and, not to mention, the amazing work) us interns made as a team. I'm looking forward to presenting our final pitch this Thursday, although it'll certainly be a bittersweet end to a wonderful six weeks.
Tips for future interns:
Future interns: Get to know and trust your teammates — take the time to ask about their work, and use this internship as an opportunity to learn about each aspect of working for a client, from account managing to art directing. Attend additional meetings, and ask your mentor about everything (including where to find the best drinks in St. Louis!). For incoming Strategists/Researchers, I recommend implementing strategies upfront so as to maintain a clear focus throughout the project, integrating your research while presenting the creative in order to explain the campaign's effectiveness, and ingesting the coffee from the second floor instead of the third.
Laura - Content Manager
My favorite part about this internship was the overall feeling of being a part of a real agency. We were given real projects having to do with real clients. We had a control over the project creatively which allowed us to go outside the box with our ideas. My favorite part about HLK is the atmosphere. On my first day, I witnessed just how close everyone is to each other. Everyone was joking around yet everyone is very professional. It is the perfect mix of work and play, not to mention the fact that HLK is dog-friendly. Nothing brightens your day more than seeing a cute lil’ pup walking around your desk.
HLK has taught me more than I ever expected to learn thus far and that was within a five-week period I understand how to come up with a campaign from start to finish and how to present that campaign effectively. The feedback and guidance from our mentors was extremely helpful throughout every step of this internship. This internship also taught me how important it is to work as a team. You cannot get through this internship on your own, and I luckily had a wonderful team who became my friends within a day of meeting. This helped us deliver a campaign that we can be proud of. Every little detail that I learned and witnessed will help me in my future career. If I could have any other position, I think I would chose Art Director. That position allows for a lot of creative freedom which is amazing. Coming up with the overall look for a campaign is a stressful job but also a fun and rewarding one.
Tips for future interns:
Ask questions! If you have any questions, big or small, ask your mentor. That is what they are here for and their advice is always helpful.
Be confident! I can’t stress this enough. Be proud of your work. You’ve spent endless hours working on this project and it’s important that you show that in your delivery.
Don’t procrastinate! It is important to get your work done early so you can have it reviewed by your mentor. This way, they can help you make tweaks before the presentation.
Have fun! You have many responsibilities and tasks in this internship but that does not mean it is all work and no play. Go out to lunch with your team — it allows you to de-stress as well as bond with your team members.
Shelby - Account Manager
My favorite part about this internship was the free range we had creatively. It was nice to be given a project and being told to run with it and the only thing that could limit us was our imaginations. My favorite part about HLK itself was easily the people. Everyone was polite and willing to help us out. I never felt that I couldn’t go and ask someone for assistance. Everyone made me feel very comfortable at work, and there was never a morning where I wasn’t excited to wake up and go to my internship! Loving what you do and where you work makes a world of difference. I think the biggest thing HLK has taught me is how the advertising industry works as a whole. There is so much more to it than the finished creative product that the public sees. It takes a whole team to create an advertising campaign and without everyone, it wouldn’t run smoothly! If I had to choose a different position, I would probably try the Content Manager position. I found what Laura did — mocking up social media pages — really neat. Also, being able to pretty much change a client's look by revamping their social media pages was fascinating to me!
Tips for future interns:
Trust yourself. You were selected to serve in this role for a reason. Get close with your teammates because you will spend nearly every day with them for the next six weeks. As for the future Account Manager, there is so much to learn, so never be afraid to ask your mentor for clarification or advice. Also, you do really become like “the mom” of the group. Sometimes you have to be your team’s parent before you can be their friend, because at the end of the day, you only have three weeks to work on a project so sticking to a timeline is crucial!
Irina - Art Director
Probably the most important thing that I have learned at HLK is the value of the idea. As a communication design major, I focus a lot on the making; it is nice to see things come to life, digitally or in print. And at HLK, I learned that it is not as important to be able to produce all the pieces of the campaign (which in fact is not even feasible) as it is to set in motion the best idea possible — the one that will keep expanding and will have the potential to take the creative team to the unexpected new levels.
So don’t stress about the getting part of the work done and just make sure to show up on time and in the right place. I feel that almost everything you will read about the internship goes out of the window with the adrenalin rush of the first Monday, but just in case, here are some select rules that can help you survive the first few days at HLK Land:
Tips for future interns:
First of all, congratulations! HLK is a great place to spend your summer, meet new friends, learn a lot about the industry and even make some money!! Working on two projects, with definite start and finish dates, will make the six weeks fly by. If you are like me, you will certainly have the nauseating feeling the first couple of days, afraid that you don’t have what it takes. You do! The timeframes are totally manageable and you have your mentor if you need help. Having a specific person who is responsible for your success in the program is probably my most favorite part about the internship. It is a very trusting and nurturing relationship that basically takes care of all the uncertainties or fears. It is also a great way to learn about the industry and help you determine your first career steps. I was very lucky to have senior art director Chad Stierwalt as my mentor. No matter how busy he was, I could always count on his help and input. It was fascinating to learn that not only is your mentor "on your side" but also the rest of the HLK team is and they are rooting for your success." I was possibly the most nervous out of my team members during our first pitch, but then one of the designers told me that everyone in the audience was there to see us succeed. This really changed my perspective and I no longer felt afraid to fail. This is very different compared to the school environment that can get competitive at times — and is my favorite part about the feel of the team here.
RULE #1 CARDIO
HLK is a big place with a lot of stairs to climb. Stay in shape.
RULE #17 DON’T BE A HERO
It’s a team effort. During our school career we are so used to doing it all, but here your team is by your side. You might be surprised that your Strategist is actually very clever with puns and your Account Manager is a hand model…
RULE #22 WHEN IN DOUBT KNOW YOUR WAY OUT (TO WHERE YOUR MENTOR IS)
We would be totally lost without the help of our mentors. Don’t forget to ask your mentor about assets and images you might need. And beyond! There is so much talent around you to help you figure out any program or help you with pretty much any task.
RULE #32 ENJOY THE LITTLE THINGS
… and I don’t just mean the puppies! From fantastic downtown views and relaxed dress code to free fruit and comfy couches, there are many little things to miss after the internship is over. Enjoy it! Responsibly. :)
Rachel - Copywriter
My favorite part about HLK is the strong bonds of teamwork and the awesome, interesting staff with their dogs and stories. And the learning part that can be applied to life is the improv session we had. It helped strengthen adaptation and creative skills while boosting confidence.
Tips for future interns:
Congrats on being the new intern team's Copywriter. Make sure to "use your words" since the others will rely on you for said words and that's basically your job for the next few weeks. Don't fret none though fellow wordsmith — you will have a ton of fun while learning the ways of the industry. I enjoyed our campaigns, my team, getting to be the writer of copy, the staff at HLK, the overall atmosphere and experience of the short session immensely. My teammates went from strangers to friends before a week was up and now HLK feels like a second home to me. I'm sure you will experience similar things and yet have your own adventure. Good luck and have fun!