O University: 4 Lessons Oden Taught Me That College Never Could
Hi there. My name is McKenzie Brower, and I am graduating from Christian Brothers University (CBU) with a degree in English for Corporate Communications. I am wrapping up my last few weeks as the Marketing Intern here at Oden, and I cannot think of a better way to have spent my final few months as a college student. As I reflect on my time here, I am struck with the many valuable lessons I have learned. Internships are great like that: They bring to life the discussions and education you have had in a classroom setting. Here are four of the many lessons Oden has taught me that college never really could.
- Communication actually is key after all. Obviously by the title of my degree, I’ve spent four years studying communication in the classroom—writing, communication theory, and rhetoric. But there is something so much more enriching to see it action. Excellent communication between clients and agencies is the key to making the relationship successful. Whether the client is looking for an outside opinion or wants the agency to work as an extension of their team, if communication is lacking, the project will not reach its potential. In my opinion, communication is the most important thing here at Oden. The agency and client must work together to get a clear picture of the goals of each and every project, and if the account managers, artists, copywriters, or developers cannot communicate in an effective and comprehensive way, you lose the magic. Whether or not I end up on the client or agency side, there is no denying that recognizing and mastering successful communication will be one of the my most valuable attributes.
- Research—it just never stops. It’s not like I thought I would get away from it when I graduated, but I had not really given as much thought to the importance of constant reading, research, and learning. Marketing is changing rapidly; with technology and generational shifts, there are newer and more effective ways to reach target audiences. An Odenite put it like this: If you don’t ride the first wave, you at least need to ride the second. If not, you’ll get left behind. I think that will stick with me forever. You cannot survive this industry unless you keep up. I also learned, though, that it’s not necessary to be an expert in every area, but at least be able to talk about rising trends. Learning to do meaningful research as well as benchmarking is something I will take with me. College might be over for me, but it is abundantly clear that there will never be a time to stop growing and learning.
- Paper isn’t dead. “A blank sheet of paper is endless possibilities.” –Michael Scott. How fitting is it that that quote is from the episode where they are trying to find an intern? I feel the need to quote The Office, not just because I recently ended round two of binge-watching it, but because I have been raised digitally. I usually take all my notes on my laptop and spend way too much time on social media, and I rarely think to write things down when I should. I went into this internship thinking I would only use a computer and only focus on digital aspects of the business. While digital marketing, website organization, and social media have been my focus, I have never been more in love with paper as I am now. Print ads, flyers, and brochures are very much still alive and kicking. I have learned about the back and forth of printing colors as well as the intricacies that come with physical event invitation design. Now I prepare every day with a long written to-do list and take as many notes as I possibly can. I’ve gotten really attached to my notebooks while I have been here, and now I cannot fathom a life without my tangible checklist. When it comes to my personal feelings toward paper or the direction of the marketing world, it is important to know that, yes, the world is digital, but there is still so much value in a piece of paper. I am starting to believe that it will never go away.
- Lastly, people are so awesome. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to leave college without feeling at least a little jaded and a tiny bit suspicious of everyone and everything, but I have been in awe of the people I have gotten a chance to know through this experience. From artists, to developers, to marketers—all have a willingness to open up and teach me about their roles. From the CEO to the newest hire, everyone has been more than willing to help me along my way. I was never once left to feel that my questions and input were unanswered or unheard. Building relationships with Odenites of numerous talents and roles has been the most exciting and enriching thing to come from this semester (well, maybe second to graduating). Learning from everyone here has made me realize the importance of finding something I am really great at and making a career out of it. Having a specialty, an expertise in something, is going to be my goal as I discover myself professionally in the coming years.
All in all, it’s been an amazing ride. My internship was always exciting, and I never knew what to expect when I walked in the door each day. I am so appreciative to everyone who taught me the ropes of agency life. I can’t wait to take what I have learned to my next adventure.