On Monday, June 8th, I visited Dusseldorf, Germany and represented King & Mayr at the American Chamber of Commerce meeting. Many CEO’s from Europe and America were there. I met the CEO of Ford Europe as well as many other corporate leaders. After meeting with the leaders for about an hour, we sat down to a four course meal and listened to a panel of three speakers that discussed the T-TIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership). The discussion focused on why there might be objections to the new trade partnership and how it can be beneficial for Transatlantic commerce. Over all the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is designed to reduce red tape and legal barriers to trade between the United States and Europe. The law is similar to NAFTA. After the four course meal I was able to end the evening by securing a few contacts for the company. Over all it was interesting to represent a company on my own and see how Germans conduct formal business events.
When I think of a voluntary internship, I automatically notice the negative stigma that surrounds the concept, which I believe is triggered by either an inherent or capitalistic viewpoint that workers deserve wages, but after letting the initial feeling settle, I have found that the wealth one receives from work is not just monetary. Before I begin to divulge the personal benefits that I received, I do want to make a quick point from an investment standpoint.
For a person to live comfortably and pay his or her expenses, one must be employable or entrepreneurial; without one of those traits, a person will struggle to make ends meet financially. Thus, any experience that betters those attributes has a direct effect on the amount of income a person will make over his or her life. This perspective contributes to people’s decisions to attend universities and graduate programs, and many students spend tremendous sums of money for a college education. Statistically, graduates with a bachelor’s degree between the ages of 25-34 make 150% the median income of workers with only a high school diploma (National Center for Education Statistics 2011). Besides the obvious increase in salary, college students have the opportunity to learn how to think critically, develop their interpersonal and professional communication skills, establish a network of professionals, peers, and mentors, and personalize their experience with involvements in student organizations, semesters abroad, internships, and other opportunities. As such, I view an internship on a similar level as a college education, but in order to make what I believe to be a better point, I will compare a student completing a voluntary internship to a student doing research with a professor.
While some students have the good fortune of being offered a job to do research for a professor, others ask to research alongside a professor on a voluntary basis in order to increase their understanding of the field or because they want to publish. The emphasis on learning trumps the need for financial compensation, and from the experience, the students gain the ability to conduct research academically, more effective writing skills, and a deeper understanding of their chosen subject. The wealth of skills gained from the work should not be taken lightly, and from my perspective, I see them as adequate compensation for the work they perform. Although the professor and the university might receive financial or reputational benefits from the research, these indirect rewards from the student’s work could be taken as the cost of the apprenticeship. In the same light as students paying tuition to learn in the classroom, the fruits of their research could be viewed as the price they pay for all they knowledge and skills they acquire while working under a professor.
Now, as for what sparked my interest in the subject of voluntary internships, I interned at Silverman Sherliker Solicitors in London during my spring semester, and from my experience, I personally witnessed the various outcomes that can be gained from a voluntary internship. Before my first day, I was unsure of what to expect. I had never traveled internationally, yet I decided to go for five months to study and work. Besides expecting to gain a better appreciation and understanding of different cultures, I did not know what else I could reasonably anticipate. After six weeks of working in London, I had already noticed tremendous growth within myself. While I find it difficult to place on paper all that I have gained from my internship, I believe that I can show some of its value by recounting the various assignments that I undertook. Creating a weekly journal of significant moments during my internship has helped me critically reflect on my time with Silverman Sherliker especially when attempting to evaluate the learning outcomes.
While a comparison of my starting point to my ending point might provide a better academic model, I will analyze my internship from a teleological perspective because I believe it to be more fruitful in respect of learning outcomes. My first day, I immediately entered into an uncomfortable environment and was surprised by the organization’s response. When I arrived for my first day of work, I was greeted cordially by the receptionist; however, when I told her that I was there to begin my first day of my internship, she was unaware that anyone was starting that day. After about an hour, I was shown to the department where I would be working for the next twelve weeks, but the confusion showed me that no matter how clear I have communicated with someone, there are always unforeseen events that might arise. I also realized that it is important not to react impulsively in the workplace and that maintaining composure is a great trait to possess. Despite the initial surprise, the rest of my day went much more smoothly.
My first day I only accomplished four tasks, and as I reflect on my journal that day, I feel like it is almost laughable because by the end of my internship, I could have finished all those tasks in less than two hours. Such a drastic change in efficiency reveals that experience matters, and it also points to my strategic thinking style and my Belbin’s team role of resource investigator because over time, I looked for and found ways to accomplish more. As a research investigator, I responded to the challenge of embracing the new culture around me and took a studious approach to my job in order to find ways to better the work that I was producing. I improved greatly during my employment because I was able to find ways to solve the challenges that I faced and did not allow an obstacle to get the best of me. I learned to research solutions and complete projects by myself; while my boss was right next to me, he was inundated with work, so I found it best to be able to apply my past experiences and not bother him with a deluge of questions.
During the first few weeks, I did a lot of copying, couriering, acting as a receptionist, researching legal rules for my boss, and chasing information from the court or our clients. While I was happy to do those tasks, evaluating them shows me that they were all fairly administrative in nature; however, I actually learned a decent amount from them because I would always look for ways to make more out of those activities. For instance, I analyzed and read what I copied, and serving as a receptionist and communicating with the courts and clients helped me practice my professionalism and communication skills. The legal research gave me insight into what the British Civil Procedure rules looked like, but I discovered later that my boss could do that task in five minutes. From his example, I also greatly shortened the time it took me, and as a result, I was able to use my research and apply it to cases.
Improvement as an intern is the key to a quality experience. This lesson was critical for me; when I improved my ability to complete tasks, I was given more legitimate assignments. I moved from the mundane work to the real work that my boss was doing, and from it, I started to really understand British Civil Procedure. I would never have been able to learn as much as I did and complete all the projects that I was given if it were not for my improvement during my twelve weeks there.
After finding an opportunity, I made sure to capitalize on it, which revealed to me the other tool necessary for making the most of a voluntary internship. At the beginning, I did not have many chances to stand out or prove my abilities to my boss, so I actively looked for ways to prove my worth and set myself apart from other interns. My window of opportunity presented itself when I saw my boss stressing about his workload, so I offered my assistance and began working on the disclosure stage for two separate cases. After three full days of working on it, I amassed an index of documents and a summary for the 2500 page case. While it was an overwhelming task, I was able to complete it by the deadline and show my boss that I was up for the challenge. After that week, I noticed a drastic change in the amount of quality work that I was given, and I know the change was directly related to seizing the opportunity that was in front of me.
Making the most of an opportunity and improving each week are the two lessons that will always stay with me from my internship. By following these two lessons, I gained so much more insight into the British legal system, and I will continue to follow them throughout my career. In conclusion, I would like to reconnect my personal experience with that of a student doing research for a professor. As can be seen by my experience, I improved greatly from it. I am now a stronger writer, a more effective communicator, a more efficient and skilled researcher, a student of both the American and British legal systems, and a more experienced global worker. In addition, I had the opportunity to observe solicitors interact with clients and see how legal professionals approached their work each day, and from my experience, I am even more confident that I want to attend law school after graduating from the University of Louisville. While it would have been nice to be paid for the tasks that I performed, the skills and knowledge I received are much more important to me, and I see them as adequate compensation for my time at Silverman Sherliker.
After 20 hours of flight, I finally made it to the sunny Dubai. While home may be icy with delays and cancellations, I’ve been making my way to the great outdoors. I spent my first few days here settling in and checking out the area before my internship began.
I went to the infamous Dubai Mall, which is the largest shopping mall in the world! It seems to be a shopping festival, and many of the shops are 50% off. Too bad I am only window shopping 🙁 . On the outside of Dubai Mall there is a walk with the Dubai Fountains which are a larger version of the fountains in Vegas. They are amazing!! They are also shooting up into the sky in front of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It is huge!! I want to book this weekend to go to the top of it as they have an observatory. Oh and I had lunch at Texas Roadhouse haha, who would have thought I’d get to enjoy steak and cinnamon buttered rolls here!
So far, I am enjoying life in the sunny Dubai and my internship has been going well as I have been settling in this first week and getting to know the people and tasks. I hope to have more adventures to share as I go on and post pictures as well. I would like to explore some of the surrounding Emirates on the weekends!
Until next time,
This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Spring Bling in West Palm Beach, FL. My department did not go so I worked with a lady from our Specials department. The first assignment I had to undergo was handing out premiums to the audience which were “Spring Bling” tatoos. My next assignment for the day was assisting with the models. Yes, all the lovely young people you see on stage at Spring Bling are actually models. Once the models went on stage I was done for the day so I was thrilled to sit back, relax and enjoy the show from backstage. I met all of the artist as they came through and most of them were actually friendly. I went home exhausted and was sunburned for the first time in my life!
The next day I arrived early in the morning because I volunteered to help with the prodution of the show. Babysitting models was fun and all but I felt as if I could contribute more. The producer called my boss to see if I could work with him the entire day but she declined. Apparently, the person I had worked with the previous day specifically requested to have me back because I was a good worker. So I was honored to be remembered but also a little upset because I had to turn down a better job.
My task this day was to help set up the props for the game shows/contests that would be taking place. It was a little cloudy and there were scattered showers throughout the day but the show must go on. All in all, it was a great experience and I would volunteer to work it every year! *though I hope they remember me and will offer to pay me to come back 🙂
This trip I did not make the same mistakes as I did at Rip the Runway. I was networking and met a lot of great people. Aside from artists, I met producers, photograhers, models, dj’s ect and tried to get as much contact information as possible.
After the show BET throws a Wrap Party for its staff. Rick Ross, a rapper from Florida, came through and partied with us for a portion of the night. After that I ran into Q45, BET personality and DJ who hosted Rap City, at a restuarant and got to hang out with him and his friends.Â
For now, its back to the office. We are working on one of our biggest advertising campaigns of the year, “Upfront”. Upfront is an event where we show advertisers a preview of the shows we will have coming out and try to get them to commit to buying advertising time upfront. I will keep you posted on how that goes!
The photos are from me on the set, behind the scenes and Rick Ross at the Wrap Party.
After this internship is completed I will have only one semester left at UofL. It’s hard to believe that I will finally be graduating. It seems like just yesterday I was moving into Kurz Hall my freshman year. Graduating is such an honor and landmark event in my life because I will be the first in my family to graduate from college. Coming into the University of Louisville I never imagined that I would be interning at BET by my senior year. Life is all about what you make of it. Neither of my parents graduated from high school but it was important to me to have a bigger vision for myself. BET did not come to UofL and to recruit students. I found BET and sent in my application. UofL gives you the opportunity to complete an internship for college credit and it is up to you to take advantage of that opportunity.
I was up until all hours of the morning last night stressed because the realization finally sunk in that I only have one semester left and then it’s off into the real world of work or possibly grad school. What do I want to do? A recurring theme in all my thoughts was fashion. Do I want to attend a design school? Work for a fashion magazine? Retail? Open a boutique? Become a celebrity stylist? I don’t know but I don’t have all the time in the world to figure it out. While here at BET I had the opportunity to attend an excluisve BET afterparty after Rip the Runway. At the after party I met Korto Momolu, runner up fashion designer on the show Project Runway. She has since been featured at NY Fashion Week and Rip the Runway of course. Korto would have been a great contact to have in the future but did I think to give her a business card? NO! Please, please, pleaseeee- I can’t stress this enough. Take advantage of the resources on campus, especially the Ulmer Career Center. Eileen Davis is a great person to know and the staff there has workshops on networking, building your resume, mock interviews ect.Â
So at this little exclusive party I was sitting right next to the cast of Harlem Heights, a new reality showÂ on BET. All the while I’m thinking, “They just give anybody a show now.” AfterÂ watching the first show I find out that one of the girls in the cast is a designer for Victoria’s Secret Pink.Â Another great contact that I lost along the way. But! I’m learning from my mistakes which is theÂ important part and at Spring Bling, which I will be attendingÂ March 28&29,Â I will not make these same mistakes.Â So hopefully I will come home with a plethora of new contacts and have many great job opportunites open up for me! God willing.
What do I do here at BET? I am an intern in the creative services department.
What is creative services? Under the big umbrella of marketing BET has off channel marketing, BET J and creative services. The function of our department is to service the creative needs of the company. Creative Services includes:
- print- images with no motion such as tickets, logos, flyers
- graphics- images with motion
- executive producer
- production assistant
My deparment mainly focuses on producing promos to advertise our shows. For instance, I was on the set of Sunday Best DC auditions. We will use the footage we shot there and from the other auditions to produce 30 second promos, 20 second, 15 and 10. A topical promotes one episode of a show. A generic provides a slight overview of the show. In a nutshell that is what I do here at BET.
Everything has been crazy here in DC! 2 weeks ago I went home to New Jersey with a coworker. We went to church in Philly where I tried to the infamous philly cheesesteak at Ishkabibbles.
I also traveled to NYC for 106&Park. TV is not all that its cracked up to be. We had to scream on que. There were bright lights everywhere. I left with a headache. You also are not allowed to use your cell phone or take pictures. Plies came through for about 5 minutes to introduce his new video.
This past weekend I went back to NYC for Rip the Runway. As a PA (Production Assistant) it was my job to help with the set design and get the producer and talent anything they needed. The promo’s we shot were for Maybelline and Garnier Fructis. What will end up being a 30 second commercial took over 5 hours to shoot.Â I walked away with free Garnier shampoo and conditioner and free stilhetto mascara.Â That evening I was able to attend the Rip the Runway fashion show. Unfortunately, I lost my camera in Jersey so I only have pictures from other people.Â Above is a picture of Keri Hilson’s practice performance and a picture from the BETÂ after party.
Also, I am very excited because UofL is in town tonight playing Georgetown!!Â BET hooked me upÂ with a ticket toÂ the game in the BET suite. Go Cards!
Everything is going great! Inauguration day we were doing street interviews at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a famous restaurant in DC. Obama ate there the week before inauguration. So I got to watch it from the Big Screen at Ben’s. I’ve met a lot of celebrities at the “Yes We Can!” BET inauguration special and watched them shoot some promos on the green screen. Below are pictures of an OMAMA ice sculpture in front of Ben’s Chili Bowl, myself and Akon and a shot fromt the “Yes We Will!” inauguration special that we filmed here at BET.