Catherine Zhang is a senior in Medill studying journalism, marketing and business institutions.
Describe your summer internship.
As an account management intern for FCBx, the agency’s experiential marketing division, I spent my summer working on big Anheuser-Busch brands like Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Golden Light.
My internship has given me the ability to think strategically about how an experiential activation could give people a personal taste of a brand. Whether through Chipotle pop up shops at Lollapalooza or Corona-sponsored Electric Beach concerts at rooftop bars, I now see these events as a way to create relationships and connect with consumers.
In my ten weeks working here, I’ve been able to touch the before, during and after of events that my team plans and executes. I’ve gotten to work on presentations that I know our clients will see, as well as sit in on all of our calls with AB brand managers. That’s not a privilege that every internship allows, but I find that it heightens the stakes and urges me to double check my work and pay more attention to details.
Another thing I’ve appreciated about FCB’s internship program is the learning and development sessions that cover everything from presentation skills to PowerPoint skills. When a company sets aside time in our schedules to have these trainings, it makes me feel as though they are invested in me and my own professional development.
How did you learn about the opportunity? What resources were especially helpful in your internship search?
I never would have known about FCB if it weren’t for Northwestern Career Advancement’s marketing trek last summer, when I visited FCB’s New York office as well as a few other agencies. We heard from alums and other representatives, and I was intrigued by the agency’s roster of impressive clients and work.
Before I even got the internship, I remember hearing about FCB’s flat organization, meaning that you really can meet and interact with anyone there. And it’s true – I set up coffee chats with people in my office, people who were on different teams like Strategic Planning and Analytics, and even the CEO of FCB. Everyone was willing and happy to give me a moment of their time so that I could ask questions and learn more about the agency and their experiences.
What is one of the most impactful learning experiences you’ve had during your internship?
Probably the most stressful part of the internship was our week-long Think Tank, a hackathon of sorts. The interns were divided into teams and tasked with coming up with an innovative marketing strategy for a brand. In a matter of days, after many late nights and extra cups of coffee, we dissected the business problem and brainstormed an overarching concept as well as three activations to execute our ideas. After lots of constructive feedback from both account and creative managers, we presented our ideas to a panel of judges that consisted of the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Talent Officer, the Chief Strategy Officer and more. In the end, I got to know my group very well and better understood the comprehensive process of creating and pitching a marketing strategy.
What did you enjoy most about your internship experience?
Overall, I’ve loved interning at FCB because it feels like working at a small agency but with the resources of a large one. People never really stop brainstorming and there’s no rigid process to follow in the work, and you can actually get to know the wildly smart people who work here. Also, the coffee bar has the strongest cold brew I’ve ever had. Beyond our day-to-day work schedules, I’ve found that my team is truly caring and great to be around.
On the day of our office outing, the last thing I expected to happen as I was walked up the escalator in the John Hancock building was to trip, rip open my toe and have to cut the afternoon short. A few hours later, after getting 6 stitches in my toe, I was completely content with heading back home, but my manager Matt and my colleagues at FCBx convinced me to meet up with them at a tiki bar along the river and even called me an Uber. I loved being part of a team that knows how to both work hard and play hard.