Looking for a marketing internship? Here’s what they don’t teach at uni

By HGB , Aug 1 2017
Ben ‘the intern’ shares what he’s learnt about the world of marketing while working at HGB during A Semester 2016.

I have been a marketing intern at HGB for over six weeks now and have already learnt a lot. Much of what I have picked up I hadn’t been taught at uni.

So, I thought I would share a couple of impressions from the past six weeks of what you can only learn when working in the industry.

Speed of the industry

One of the first things I noticed, and had to adapt to quickly, was the pace of the working environment. This was due to the different projects for different clients. There is always a lot of work that needs to be done and all have deadlines within a short period of time. It’s a bit like sport. When you start to play at a higher level, you can be told how fast it is but you don’t realise just how fast until you experience it yourself.

This means, unlike with assignments and group work at university, there is no time to put off work until you have a rough idea of what you are going to do. Rather, you have to get straight into it. For me personally, I normally leave uni assignments to the last minute, so my approach needed to change.

At HGB, once I have been briefed on the work, for example changing content on a website or researching a blog post, I have a short period of time to understand what I need to do before getting straight into it.

Once I adapted and got used to the pace of the environment, things started to get easier. You just have to make sure the speed at which you work doesn’t mean you compromise on the quality of work you are producing.

Marketing theories and concepts

Even though it is important to learn all the theories and concepts they teach for marketing at university, a major impression I have gathered over the last six weeks is, most of them are irrelevant. What I mean by this is, some theories we don’t even use or the process in which we do things is not as complicated as some theories suggest it should be.

As an example, in one of my papers I learnt the B.A.S.I.C marketing strategy. This is made up of five stages: the business customising phase, analysing phase, strategising phase, implementing phase and the final controlling phase. When I learnt this it was under the assumption that all businesses use this structure, but this was not the case at HGB. They use fewer steps but have a greater outcome.

The University of Waikato has given me a great understanding of many marketing concepts and theories but some I have yet to use. I am not saying don’t learn the concepts and theories but rather to be aware that not all will get used in the project you’re working on.

So far I have only mentioned concepts that I haven’t used, but there are concepts I have learnt that have been useful during my time at HGB. Earlier this year, I was taking a paper on digital marketing. One concept we learnt about was SEO. I have been able to put this to use while working on a number of different client websites for HGB.

Top tip

During my first six weeks here at HGB, the key thing I have picked up is the importance of being open minded about learning new and different aspects of marketing. Although theories and concepts are useful to know, there is still so much to learn in the industry.

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