I never thought I would be taking up an internship in Singapore. To me, that was a huge step. An even bigger step, however, was taking on a digital marketing agency internship even though I had no background in marketing.
By Emma Herft
University of Canberra, International Studies (National Security)
A marketing internship for a non-marketing student?
To facilitate our internship placement, we were asked by our university what our ideal internship in Singapore would be. As a student studying International Studies, my answer was anything but digital marketing. Needless to say, when I found out I was going to intern at Design Prodigy (DP), I felt extremely nervous.
I remember feeling very overwhelmed in my first day into the internship. Hearing about the other interns’ group projects, listening in on their discussions and watching them present their work to companies and clients only served to reinforce my nervousness. I was so in awe of how extensive their knowledge and ideas were, but I also kept thinking, how am I ever going to be able to understand and learn about all of this in my six short weeks at DP?
No relevant experience? No problem.
Having no background in marketing nor the multi-dimensional thinking that DP is centred around meant that there was a lot to wrap my head around and get used to. Yet the fast pace in DP only served to quicken my pace of learning. In fact, I was surprised at how much I learnt in such a short amount of time, not only about digital marketing but how to engage and communicate with different people and be more creative and critical in my thinking. I was constantly having to challenge the way I thought.
What surprised me though, was that most of the interns started off at DP like myself, with no background in marketing. The interns were all ‘polymaths’, a term that I had not heard of before. But as I began to familiarise with the company and their work, I came to understand why this idea of polymaths worked so well in DP and digital marketing.
Becoming a polymath
I began to use mental models and frameworks to flesh out ideas, make connections, and understand and process information, and I believe this has definitely deepened the way I think. To begin with, not being given much direction was also something that I found quite challenging at first. But as I got to work with the other interns, it became easier to adjust to this way of working.
One of the best parts of my internship was being able to work alongside the other interns. Not only was it great to have people to bounce ideas off but it was also great to have them challenge and stretch my thinking through their own input and ideas. This, I believe, has helped me to gain more confidence in putting forward my own ideas. The other great aspect of working so closely with the other interns was how this resulted in friendship bonds. Indeed, these newfound friends played a huge part in making my experience at DP so special.
My only regret in this whole internship? Six weeks was way too short – I merely scratched the surface of all that I could push myself to learn and discover.