How College Prepared Me For “The Real World”

Company Culture, Public Relations Posted Jun 7, 2019 by Shannon Kelley

When applying for my first job out of college a few short months ago, I took the time to figure out exactly what it was I wanted to do. I always had an idea, however, I thought it would be important to evaluate what I’ve learned over the past four years through my major, internships, and mentors, before jumping into a career. From these experiences I have learned more than I ever thought I could entering my freshman year of college four short years ago. CHEN stood out to me for their values – intelligence, insight, and connection. After my first week as a CHENer, these values have proven true, and as the team continues to grow upon them, I’m looking forward to growing alongside with them.

I graduated from Saint Michael’s College this May with a major in Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts and a minor in Business Administration. While coming from a small liberal arts college just outside of Burlington, Vermont, I learned much more than just how to cope with brutal winters and where to find the best craft beer. While my major brought me many sleepless nights over the years – from writing a report for the school newspaper due at 8 am when the interviewee only had time to meet the evening before to finishing endless hours of editing for a documentary film I only had a week and a half to get done – it taught me about who I am when it comes to my work ethic and values. Manage time efficiently, meet deadlines, keep an open mind, and the power of good storytelling.

I’ve had several different internships over the years that were all vastly different from one another but in the end, helped me find my way to CHEN. These internships introduced me to the elements of many different industries but even more so about the importance of company culture. The first internship I ever had was with a small marketing consulting company, Noetic Consultants, based out of Washington D.C. As their Marketing intern, I had the opportunity to conduct research, do design work, and travel with them to help run events in both San Francisco and Chicago. Being with a small company allowed me to work closely with the founder and learn from her expertise. I learned about teamwork and the importance of having all hands-on deck when necessary.

The summer going into my senior year, I wanted to try a company that was bigger to gain some agency experience. I was hired as the Customer Success intern for ThriveHive where I was given the chance to help build out marketing campaigns on my own with real clients. This internship taught me the significance of good communication. Even though the challenge of client-facing work can be difficult and frustrating at times, I found the importance of communicating in a way that works for both the client and the agency. I jumped right into another internship during the fall semester of my senior year with Burton Snowboards as their Digital Account intern. The company culture at Burton was unlike one I have ever heard of or seen before. Dogs freely roaming the office, company-wide “ride day”, gatherings at Jake and Donna Burton’s house in Stowe, the culture was incredible. While I did a lot with building their presence on Amazon, I learned to value the connection that everyone had with each other as a company and with their clients.

CHEN finds it’s place in each of these different cultures that I’ve experienced over the years and they match the values I’ve learned and acquired. As with my internships, the public relations industry is also going to be vastly different from anything I’ve done, especially in the cybersecurity and high technology industry. From the beginning I have always been looking to learn new things and keep an open mind, and I’m looking forward to grow upon the storytelling methods that I’ve learned from my major – promoting businesses and learning new techniques as the industry changes along the way. Through adopting CHEN’s values with those that I’ve gained over my college years, I am beyond excited to dive into this new chapter and kick start my career in PR with CHEN.