Most intern programs are equivalent to entry-level day care. The kids push some papers around, sit in the back row of a few meetings, make copies, get people coffee … but never get any traction.
Here, it’s a little more like boot camp.
Our interns grow up fast. They arrive as advertising hopefuls, a lot of them uncertain whether this industry is even right for them. They leave as pitch-tested, steely-eyed professionals who can run with the best.
It all starts with selecting only the top candidates from the hundreds of applications we receive. This year, we picked 35 young men and women from colleges from all around the country – Ivy Leaguers, kids who attend state universities, and everything in between. What they all have in common is a passion for learning about advertising.
From minute one, we immerse these kids in our business. There is no busy work. We introduce them to the real world of advertising. We force them to think for themselves and adapt quickly. And we push them way beyond their comfort zone.
As they rotate through all of the major divisions in the agency, they must learn to be resourceful, innovative, and emotionally intelligent in working with the only inventory a business solutions firm really has: people.
Because we believe that outcome always trumps output, our interns don’t just learn about the theory behind digital, creative, and media applications. They learn how to use and measure those tactics through a fine-tuned ROI lens. From Pinterest to TV ads, from cool micro sites to full-scale retail events, everything gets judged against one question: How does it pay out?
Here’s my favorite part of the whole advertising internship program. Teams of five interns are assigned a project at the beginning of the summer. This year it’s Papa John’s Pizza. The interns have to drive trial and loyalty within the college segment with a $1.5 million budget. The one thing we want to know: How will they make it pay out?
To answer that, they have to use the practical experiences they gain during their rotation to develop a set of unique, ownable and executable strategies, media plans and creative executions. Then they make a real pitch.
The interns present their ideas to a panel of Agency and Client executives who judge the final presentations and choose a winning team that receives a $5,000 prize. In years past, team members have even been retained while still in school to execute parts of their winning pitch!
Think about it. These are 18-20 year-olds taking part in a real agency review, presenting directly to Papa John’s Chief Marketing Officer, Andrew Varga. That’s the big time.
I believe our intern program, planned and run by Cliff Courtney (Chief Strategy Officer) and Carmen Marston (EVP,HR), is the very best in our industry. Our “trial by fire” system for learning produces kids who are ready to make an impact, not just fill an entry-level opening.
Should we consider you or someone in your family for next year’s internship program? Tell me why. It’s my blog, but your voice. I want to hear you.