Mission Control

I love to learn. I’m always seeking to absorb new information whether it is a newspaper article about recent stock market trends or chatting with my 13-year-old cousin about the pros and cons of Justin Beiber and One Direction. Turns out I’m a Belieber.

My zest for learning is why interning at HLK with their Launchpad program is a perfect fit for me.  The Launchpad program provides experiential learning within a market leading advertising agency. Each day I learn something new about advertising and then I am asked to apply that knowledge to our Launchpad projects.

My favorite aspect of Launchpad is our Mission Control. The Launchpad program places each intern with a mentor in his or her department, or as we call them, our Mission Control. The mentor-mentee piece of Launchpad creates a teacher-student dynamic that is more of a conversation and less of a lecture.  Our mentors offer guidance on our projects, bring us in to help on their projects and are always free to chat and dole out advice. 

As a strategy intern, my mentor is a seasoned strategist who may be one of the smartest people I have ever met, and I’m not just saying that to gain brownie points (but I’ll take them). She brings over 8 years of advertising and strategy experience, and is such a wealth of knowledge that I walk away from each of our 30 minute conversations feeling like I read a 300 page text book.

The role of strategy requires you to find all the pieces of the puzzle, put the puzzle together, and, then, question the puzzle to find what is missing. It is a role that can lead to dead ends, forks in the road, or get you completely lost in the middle of nowhere. While stitching together the strategy for On the Run (our first Launchpad project), I got a little lost trying to go in several directions at once. My first draft of the strategy was a jumbled mess trying to do too much. Luckily, my ‘Mission Control’ was there to ground me. She helped me narrow down a strategy that pinpointed the problem and exacted a solution. In that moment, my mentor taught me an important lesson of how to look at the entire puzzle without ignoring the individual pieces. For a guy like me, who tries to cram in as much information as possible, learning to hone in on the singular was a much needed lesson.

While the Launchpad program pairs each intern with a mentor, I can confidently say that everyone at HLK is a mentor. Everyone at HLK is willing to lend a helping hand and turn our questions into a learning experience.  In just 4 weeks, I have learned more about advertising and strategy than I did in 4 years of college. The Launchpad internship has definitely given me the tools to launch my career in marketing and advertising.