Ireland Internship at Connector.ie

STEP Reflection Post

Victoria Cartagena

 

1) For my STEP Signature Project I traveled to Dublin, Ireland for the Fisher Internship Program for June and July. I was a Digital Marketing Intern at Connector.ie which was an innovation studio and marketing agency. My duties included community management, campaign creation, public relations, data collection, and technology consulting!

2) While I was living in Europe for the two months of my internship, my understanding of running a business shifted. My goal of my internship was to work at a small company to gain exposure to small business entrepreneurship. The company I worked for was only a company of 12 people, yet they have been around for almost 10 years while acquiring and keeping some major clients like Volkswagen, Huawei Mobile, Greyhound, Clickandgo, and Benecol. I always thought of business as serious with minimal social interaction during work hours. However, Irish companies take a true interest in employee engagement and encourage friendship. Our office space was one huge table with everyone in the company, even one of my bosses who was Chief of Design. As an intern, I sat next to him and was able to ask direct questions about marketing and design which really helped me understand some of Connector’s business decisions.

3) Besides the work I was assigned, the most rewarding experience I had at Connector was getting to know my co-workers and CEO. When I walked in on my first day, I was very nervous. I was the only American in the office and I didn’t know what stereotypes or assumptions I was walking into. However, getting to know all my coworkers really changed my perspective of working abroad. They had many questions about things like Walmart (a true phenomenon by their standards) but respected my background as an Ohio State business student. I worked with many Brazilians and people from Ireland that dreamed of working or studying in America, and that really opened my eyes to the fact I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be at a school as amazing as OSU. Talking about my home to my co-workers truly made me realize I need to take full advantage of everything offered and never take it for granted! Also, personally getting to know my CEO allowed me to ask him personal questions about how he started his business and he was able to give me great advice about entrepreneurship that you wouldn’t hear from studying business in a classroom.

Activities that was transformative at work was my campaign pitch to L’Oreal, my presentation to the board of directors of a major Irish car company, and dealing with the social media backlash of Connector’s Bin of Old Behaviours. On my second day as an intern, I was invited to a brainstorm meeting for a revamp campaign creation for L’Oreal. They wanted to remake an old campaign to a new slogan “you’re worth it”. I pitched an idea of the idea of a mother and daughter doing makeup together with the slogan “share the moment, it’s worth it” which was voted the top idea! Our designers created prototypes to show to the company and I was able to sit in on the meeting to discuss which of three ideas presented was the best. The second activity was when my boss asked me to gather information about competitors of a Irish car company. I researched the number of followers they had on each social media page, the tone of the company, what was their most popular post styles, and how active they are with employee engagement. I presented my findings to the board of directors who said I did a great job, which was such a memorable moment for me! The last and most eye-opening activity was when Connector launched a website called Bin of Old Behaviours. It was a software that searched for homophobic slurs in your Twitter account to allow the user to “bin” the old tweet while posting an apology tweet acknowledging the old behavior. I worked for a week to research gay journalists to help promote the website. Once we released the website and sent out a press release, we waited for support. The next day, we checked the Connector Twitter to see hundreds of tweets of backlash. Connector was dedicated to crisis management that day, which was bad but awesome to witness! I helped create an excel sheet with all the tweets, their tone, the group they were in (for example: religious hater), and the whole team helped type responses to each one! I’ll never forget that experience, because I was there from the beginning to the sad end when we decided to stop promoting the website.

I have a personal goal of becoming an Instagram influencer for promotion and advertising. As a marketing major, I’ve always had an interest in influencer strategy. I was able to directly help and consult with various technological advancements that Connector was developing. One of them was called Influencer Checker. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in a long time. It is a website that gives statistics, predictions, and summaries of Instagram influencers for companies to pick which ones have the right reputation and aesthetic they are searching for. Marketing managers usually need to comb through hundreds of influencers, check their captions and likes, which takes up a lot of time. This website does that just by typing in a username. That was truly a transformational experience to be a part of being I want to try to be an influencer one day. I was also able to do small-scale modeling for major companies like Huawei and Vitropics.

4) I believe this experience was life changing for the fact I was thrown into adult, working life abroad. As a financially dependent student, I never have experienced working full-time. I also have never lived outside the country. Combining both was terrifying for me at first, even though I have traveled a great deal. I set a goal for myself to prepare lunch every day and learn how to meal prep, which I can now proudly say I’m very comfortable with. I had another personal goal of maintaining my weight as well and took advantage of the gym right near my dorm. As for my academic goals, I took notes of key aspects I learned that related to my schoolwork. I was able to sit next to our Chief of Design who, whenever I had a question about business or marketing, would answer it in full detail. One of the most memorable things I learned was how to cater a social media message to a certain audience. I’ll use what I learned to enhance my future career as a marketing manager in the future. I also enjoyed this experience a lot because it made me realize I don’t want to do social media account management as a career. Without this experience, I might not have realized that until it was too late, so thank you STEP for allowing me to explore the beautiful country of Ireland and work for an amazing company I’ll never forget!