Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer Internship Insights

This summer I held an internship at Allstate Insurance in the Integrated Marketing Communications department. Looking back on my experience at Allstate, I can hardly believe how much I learned, not only about marketing, but about professionalism and the business world in general. Here are a few tidbits I think may interest you:


See the Small Stuff

In a casual conversation with my manager, the subject of my interview for the internship came up. Within the discussion, I asked questions about interviews, what sets candidates apart, and even why I was selected. Her responses surprised me. According to my manager, although my resume, experience, and answers were good, the one thing that tipped the scale was...my business card?

I had always taken having one for granted because Drake University requires their freshmen to get their own during their first semester. Apparently, it made quite an impact on my interviewers and most certainly helped me gain my summer internship position.

One item that seemed trivial to me - a business card - actually made the biggest difference.


Respect. Connect. Affect.

At the end of the internship program, the four Allstate IMC interns had the opportunity to eat breakfast and chat with Lisa Cochrane, the Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications.

She shared with us what she believes to be the main difference between the departments that succeed and those that struggle not only in Allstate, but in any organization.

Her advice can be simplified down as such. When it comes to relationships in the workplace, you must follow these three words: Respect. Connect. Affect.


  1. Show your coworkers that you respect their values and ideas. Treating your coworkers as individuals, rather than as a unit, makes a huge difference in the work dynamic.

  2. Connect with your coworkers on a more personal level. Find something that you have in common such as running marathons or raising young kids can be a great starting point.

  3. Invest time and effort into your relationships at work. By doing so, you foster a sense of community and inclusiveness. When employees love not only what they do at work, but where and with whom they work, they are more likely to perform better and speak positively about the organization when they go home to their family and friends.

It's a Small World After All.


You have your family at home, your high school friends, your college buds, your coworkers, and so on and so forth. Do not for one second let yourself believe that these circles of people are not interconnected. All too often, people speak before taking into account the fact that their comments are not, by any means, confidential.

Do not burn bridges by speaking negatively of any coworker, past or present, because you never know where life will take you and where connections will pop up. In other words, follow the unforgettable words of Thumper: "If you can't say something nice...don't say nothing at all."