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Learning on the Job

Madison Avenue Internships Offer Vital Experience for Communication Students

From left: Kerry Johnson, Patricia Alon, Maggie Drake-Koo, and Adam Verdino.
From left: Kerry Johnson, Patricia Alon, Maggie Drake-Koo, and Andrew Verdino.

Internships often represent a key component of students’ preparation for their first jobs—experiential learning opportunities, impossible to replicate in a classroom, that offer great insights into which fields might be the best fit for young professionals. The Career Center at Loyola University Maryland places great emphasis on helping students connect with internships at companies and in industries that interest them, frequently with the help of Loyola alumni, parents, and others with a vested interest in enhancing the value of the Loyola degree. 

People just like Bob Horvath, father of Kristin Horvath, ’12, who graduated with a communication degree and has already landed a job in media sales at ABC Family in New York City. Horvath, global chairman and CEO of advertising and marketing firm RAPP Worldwide, arranged for four current Loyola students to secure internships in the company’s New York headquarters this summer.

“My daughter had such a great experience at Loyola. She really loved it. I was eager to give other Loyola students a chance to get a foot in the door,” says Horvath, whose firm serves clients including Humana, Toyota, Pepsi, Virgin Atlantic, and Pfizer. “And at RAPP, we’re always looking for young adults to bring in. It’s great for them to gain the experience, and good for us to have new perspectives, to see how students in college see us through their eyes—either as a prospective place to work or an agency their future employers might partner with.” 

RAPP’s Loyola interns spent their summer working as a team to focus on two areas: internal communications across the RAPP North America network and external communications and exploring how RAPP would appear to companies considering hiring the firm for work in areas such as digital, social, analytic capabilities, and branding.

“The Loyola students have given us some great feedback on where our strengths and challenges lie, as well as things we should be changing. These students and their peers represent a new generation that will be driving consumer behavior, so we need to understand how they think, interact on social media, and learn about new products and brands,” Horvath says. “And I think it’s been great for the students to see how our business works, to understand our work environment, to learn to deal with client challenges, to work in teams, and to solve challenges.”

All four students report that their summer at RAPP has been exciting, challenging, and rewarding.

“I always knew I wanted to work in this industry, but I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do,” says Patricia Alon, ’13, a communication major from Cresskill, N.J., whose primary project this summer focused on creating a theme and content to drive the agency’s Facebook timeline, as well as working with the human resources department on new employee recruiting materials. “RAPP appealed to me because it was a global agency that really understands its consumers and brands and the culture that surrounds them. From the first day of our internship, we have had the opportunity to meet a lot of very important people in the company, which I know is very rare for many internship programs. It is also great that we are creating a lot of tangible output. It makes me proud of the hard work and effort I put into my projects.”

Andrew Verdino, ’14, a marketing major from Stirling, N.J., who worked with Alon on the social media and HR projects, also appreciated the opportunity to contribute to projects alongside agency employees. “This was a program where our output was valued and could actually make a difference,” he says. “I feel I have a better idea of how an agency works and will be more prepared for my next internship, as well as future career opportunities.” 

Kerry Johnson, ’13, a communication major from Mohegan Lake, N.Y., spent a great deal of time writing for the company’s internal and external platforms. “RAPP gave me the opportunity to work with high-level employees who have a lot of experience,” she says. “It's a really great opportunity to see how they operate on a day-to-day basis and understand what they have done that got them to their position. Also, it was clearly laid out that I would be trusted with my own projects and have my work shown just as any other employee's would be.”

The internship opportunity at RAPP offered a special appeal for Maggie Drake-Koo, ’12, of Somers, N.Y., who earned her communication degree from Loyola this past spring. 

“I wanted to get an internship so that I could have more ‘real world’ experience and a better idea of what I want to do with my career. After this internship ends I'm going to begin the job search,” she says. “I’ve been writing articles and blog posts that are going to be featured on the new RAPPUSA.com website, working with HR on internal communications and recruiting materials, and with a team to completely redo the company’s Facebook page. The most rewarding part of this experience has been the opportunity to work alongside the C-suite executives to get high-level corporate exposure. Advertising agencies are made up of several different types of teams—project management, strategy, creative, and so on. The internship allows us to see what each team does and how we could potentially fit into one of them and allows us to get insight into what field we would want to further our studies. I know that I want to go to graduate school in the near future and I want to make sure that I go for a degree that I am fully interested and invested in.”

Each year, Loyola looks to alumni and parents to help create internship opportunities for current Loyola students through a program called the Internship Challenge. Internships can be paid or unpaid, in any region of the country, in any field, and suitable for students of any major. For more information on the Internship Challenge or to submit an internship opportunity, click here.

AUGUST 2012

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