Spoiler alert: this won’t be a story about my first internship experience, awkward introductions to adulthood, initial interactions to CEO and HR encounters or some failed attempt to make it to work on time. At the age of 27, I was already familiar with the ups and downs of growing up and the job market. Instead, I’d like to share with you a different perspective on my experience working as an Account Management Intern at Guerrilla.
What makes me similar to those starting out is that when I nailed this internship in 2017, I was finishing my Masters in Marketing at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). So bear with me you busy people — I know what it’s like to submit an assignment just before midnight and still have ironing and lunch packing on your to-do list! What got me into QUT in the first place was an ambition to compliment my public relations studies, previous agency experience and to get prepared for my kick-start career in digital marketing. And you know how one thing seems to lead to another? QUT led to Guerrilla!
I first heard about Guerrilla through QUT’s career mentor program, where I was lucky enough to be allocated as a mentee of Anna Kertesz, the Managing Director of Guerrilla. As I was looking for some hands-on experience in digital marketing, my mentorship matching came in handy! After a couple of meetings and discussions about my career goals and development opportunities, Anna offered me a placement at Guerrilla as an Account Management Intern. How pumped was I? I guess the fact that I wasn’t even frightened of the Brisbane-Gold Coast morning commutes says a lot.
Many graduates feel scared of internships because somehow they believe that they’ll be exposed to pitching agency-wide presentations, taking part in client meetings or tested somehow. Yes, you’re most likely to jump on the roller coaster of feelings during your first few days. But let me calm you down — the tasks are more like reading the Agency Handbook and other documents, making your way around all the systems and tools the agency uses, trying to memorise all co-worker’s names and learning how to use that fancy coffee machine. I’m not saying there’s no room to make some fun of yourself in this part, but honestly, if you’ve managed to get through high school and uni, you’re gonna be fine.
Although the digital industry specifics have been valuable, the most valuable takeaway so far has been to see how complicated projects (some big client names here!) can be managed with ease and speed.
As I’ve been shadowing the Account Managers in their daily WIP meetings and weekly client updates, I’ve had the chance to see how fast things move in an agency environment, and how crucial the role of an Account Manager is. Preparing quotes, approving jobs, writing briefs, allocating tasks, defining timelines, updating WIP spreadsheets is just a small part of what needs to be done to keep track of all the projects and deliver exceptional results for clients.
People might call them Account Managers, but it’s real super-humans we’re talking here! And if you have enough ambition and eagerness to learn, you can become one too!
Putting professionalism and a wide variety of skills aside, I’ve also learned that the agency environment can be much more relaxed than I could ever expect. Open space vibe, music, freshly brewed coffee, never-ending snacks and the occasional doggy visit makes even the busiest days quickly go by, with a smile on my face. Sharing passion, respect, grit and fun within office walls and bonding closer with every new challenge is what Guerrilla’s everyday life is all about.
To sum up, standing in an intern’s shoes is all about learning — and that’s what indeed happened during my six weeks in this role! There was a new thing to learn, ask, or Google at Guerrilla each day. And you know what the best part was? No copying or coffee making involved!
So, if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon an internship opportunity like this, grab it with both hands and be ready to observe and absorb everything you can. The time can pass very quickly, but if you do it right, that might be enough for your next big career move.