You’ve spent months revising your resume, submitting job applications, preparing for interviews, and are now finally on the other end of the recruiting tunnel with a marketing internship offer in hand. But as you look towards these crucial 10-12 weeks of your summer, how do you ensure you’re making the most of them?
That’s where Tom Hafen comes in. Hafen, Head of Marketing for Nestle Waters Growth Brands, came to speak to students at the Yale School of Management to discuss tips for succeeding in summer marketing internships and beyond. His advice brought together insights not just from Nestle, but also from companies like P&G, General Mills, and Nike, to give students a well-rounded view of what employers across the marketing spectrum look for in summer candidates.
One of the key points he emphasized during the discussion was that generating advocacy among future colleagues will be one of the strongest ways to ensure a full-time offer. Hafen broke this down further across three main traits desired in interns: energy (a drive for results), charm (someone who invites collaboration), and competence (possessing functional competence).
To supplement his advice, two second year leaders of SOM’s Marketing Club shared their own perspectives on how they turned their summer internships into full-time offers with Coca-Cola and Procter and Gamble. The key takeaways? Engage with your colleagues and the company in as many ways as you can throughout the summer – attend intern events, explore the city you’re in, take the time to get to know your fellow interns, meet with your cross-functional team members, and get to know future colleagues better over lunch or coffee.
From a logistical standpoint, some of the main recommendations were for interns to track their own progress throughout the summer to ensure their managers know what they have accomplished. This will also be helpful to have on-hand during regular check-ins or reviews that may happen periodically throughout the internship.
One of the biggest misconceptions that the speakers aimed to dispel was a single-minded emphasis on the summer project. Although most marketing interns are assigned to complete at least one project during their summer internship, Hafen warned that interns could become too narrowly focused on the project itself and miss the importance of networking, gaining early buy-in from colleagues, and understanding the true context of how their project relates to their company’s larger goals. With all the tips and recommendations, Hafen acknowledged it may sometimes feel like the internship is more like an extended 10-week interview process – another dive back into the recruiting pipeline. However, he assured that this experience is as much an opportunity for the company to evaluate its interns, as it is for interns to evaluate whether a company is truly the right fit for them. At the end of the day, the best employment matches need to work both ways.