Mar 24, 2017

The Intern’s Perspective: have all those years in school prepared me for the real world?

computer desk with keyboard, note pad, coffee and business card

We choose to attend college or university in hopes of fine tuning our skills and interests to then lead us to a fulfilling career. For this reason, I decided to enroll at Mohawk College in the Advertising and Marketing Communications Management Program – an advanced diploma with a final seven week internship. We studied advertising techniques, strategies, and fundamentals, and experienced an agency prep class working with real clients, for it to all come together to prepare us for our internships, until finally, we are ready to step out into the real world.


But the million-dollar question is: has college really prepared me for thriving in the real world? Here are the three key lessons I learned while at Mohawk which I am currently applying in my internship.


Clear communication is essential.

This goes for every industry, especially in advertising. You are dealing with real clients and real money to get real results. Whether you are pitching new business, an idea, the finished logo, or relaying information from the client to your team, it needs to be clear and concise or else important information can get lost.


Be ready to learn and you will.

While the real world is much different than school, post-secondary tries to make assignments, projects, and interactions similar to what you’d experience in the real world, but you don’t exactly get the perfect experience until you’re actually there, in an agency. I know I need to be open to learning whatever I can and as quickly as I can. This will give me the best chance at improving my skills to become the ideal candidate for any job I apply to.


You’ll never be bored in an agency.

‘Working in an agency is fast-paced”, that’s what we were told in school and they weren’t wrong. Status meetings, deadlines, adjustments, the whole nine yards, it’s much more evident once you get into a real agency. You have little to no wiggle room for mistakes, although be sure to learn and improve from all mistakes regardless of the outcome.


So, am I actually prepared to make it out there?

Since I know there is so much more to learn, I should say no. But I’m going to say college prepared me the most that it could. College has taught me crucial skills like critical thinking, adaptability, entrepreneurialism, and writing skills that will take me far, but working in real agency life is giving me the experience that a classroom never could. I do know though it’s the combination of both that will help me conquer whatever I choose to take on.


Until next time,
Logan James