“Innovate or die.” It’s one of the core principles we bring to our client services at Schifino Lee, and one that guides many other ways our agency works. This includes our internship program that throughout the year gives aspiring advertising professionals the opportunity to gain experience with the latest innovations and best practices we provide to clients. It also includes an opportunity for us to learn from the next generation and stay on top of the latest innovations with the Gen Z crowd, whether it’s the newest fads on TikTok, the coolest new series on Netflix, or the next breakout artists on iTunes. It’s innovation sharing that’s a win-win for interns and for us.
This summer, we continued our program with three interns: Mia Blumenthal, strategic communications and media analytics major, Elon University; Bailly Gray, advertising major, University of Florida; and Kat Rodriguez, media and communications major, Florida State University. In this post, they reflect on their experiences in the questions and answers below. We invite you take a read to discover more about the spirit of innovation that guides our agency. And if you or someone you know would be interested in an internship with us, we invite you to apply on our Work With Us webpage under Internship Opportunities. We promise your time with us will be innovative.
Reason you were interested in an internship at an ad agency this summer?
Kat: As an incoming junior this year, I’ll be going fully into my major, communications. Before I start these classes, I wanted to better understand the industry I aspire to be a part of when I finish college. I also know that communications can be broad and offer many different types of job opportunities, so I thought it would be beneficial to immerse myself in an advertising agency this summer to better understand the diverse services and clients of an agency. Plus, I currently plan to work for an agency like Schifino Lee after college, so the opportunity to intern here aligned perfectly for my future career goals.
Bailly: Since I’m pursuing a bachelor’s degree in advertising with a specialty in advertising agency work, I decided interning at an ad agency would be the best first step for me. What especially attracted me to an ad agency environment and Schifino Lee was the opportunity to openly collaborate with people from all parts of the agency and contribute in a number of ways. In my internship here this summer, this included everything from helping complete a research report, measuring and researching social media analytics for media buying, and taking photos and editing videos. I learned so much through these projects and felt that my help actually mattered.
Mia: I wanted to learn from an experienced group of professionals in a close-knit, collaborative agency environment where I would have the opportunity to gain direct hands-on experience. I also was impressed by Schifino Lee’s history as a Tampa agency with deep roots in the area and a continuing commitment to serve businesses and the community in my hometown.
Single most rewarding accomplishment in your internship this summer?
Bailly: It was extremely rewarding to see my actual work published in news articles and posted on our social media platforms. One project in particular that stands out is my work for my client The Henry, a new purpose-built private student residence that is opening this summer. I was responsible for going on-site and capturing its beautiful exterior, which is highlighted by a just-completed public artwork called DOTS, a sculpture that spans the first five floors of the new 23-floor building with a 45-foot-tall by 113-foot-wide design. I tried to capture not only all the vibrant colors of the art but also the multiple angles at which the light hit the art work, to get its full effect in the photos. It was such an amazing experience to be shown later that my photos had been sent to hundreds of news media outlets and published in several articles!
Mia: My most rewarding project was an orange juice research report I completed for one client. This report applied some of the research, analysis, and planning skills I learned at school and directly correlated to real-world work that was presented to a client. I truly felt I had applied my college education and had done work with a purpose.
Kat: It wasn’t one project exactly, but figuring out how to do things I didn’t know how to do or didn’t even know existed before starting them. I’m mostly proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone and allowing myself to be challenged and learn a lot.
Advice would you give other advertising majors just beginning an internship?
Bailly: It’s much easier to take your first plunge into the professional world than you may think. If you make it your priority to get to know the other interns and professionals in the office and do your best to assimilate yourself into the company’s culture, you will feel like you fit in in no time. Also, keep in mind you learn everything by trial and error. Failure is not something to run and hide from, but something you can use to learn from. You oftentimes won’t get something completely right the first time, and this is why an internship is made for you to learn and grow from. Ideally, you can use it to discover the best fit for you and your career path.
Kat: Have an open mind, and try to be a sponge. It’s OK to be confident in some of your abilities, but it’s more important to realize there’s a lot to learn and to be patient and open-minded in mastering new things.
Mia: Always say yes! The more opportunities you accept with an open mind, the more you will learn and grow.
Favorite part about working at Schifino Lee this summer?
Mia: The collaboration and camaraderie! Everyone is working toward the same goals and having fun doing it. One of my best experiences was being able to sit in on a full client meeting where I could watch the collaboration take place and even be encouraged to join in it. The meetings were definitely where I learned the most and enjoyed the experiences of interactions with the staff.
Kat: Getting out of the office and seeing our work come to life. For example, going to Alessi Foods, one of our clients, and seeing how a commercial is made was amazing, especially since I also was able to try some of the delicious foods being prepared during the shoot! Another favorite moment was getting a tour of The Henry, another client, which is a new purpose-built student residence opening in downtown Tampa this summer. I was able to see all the research, planning, and content creation we worked on come to life, and I was able to meet our client contacts face to face, which was extremely rewarding and memorable.
Bailly: I loved it that the other interns and I were encouraged to work in person in the office. Not many other internships were offering that opportunity this summer, and I found it to be a real advantage in giving me true ad agency experience. I loved how open and welcoming everyone in the office was and how willing they were to include us in meetings, production shoots, and collaborations on work where they would actually use our help with their projects. Working at Schifino Lee gave me an opportunity this summer to not only work side-by-side with seasoned professionals in the industry, but to create work I can be proud of for years to come.
If you or someone you know would be interested in an internship with us, we invite you to apply on our Work With Us webpage under Internship Opportunities.