This is a post by Jessica Silver
Opinions

Creating Relevance. Relentlessly. These are the first words you see when the lift doors open at Edge, followed by an energetic pug bouncing around like a spasmodic pinball machine. But what may at first seem to be an abstract concept comes alive with the help of a passionate and creative team. When you’re around people who live this mantra day in, day out, the process of learning from industry experts becomes immersive – and exciting. I was an Edge intern for three months. Here’s what I learned.

Lesson 1: It’s productive to challenge each others’ ideas.

I was lucky enough to be part of the strategic planning team at Edge, and I was immediately swept up by the challenge. I worked on tasks that were initially quite daunting – such as learning search engine optimisation and creating competitor customer acquisition strategies – but, with the help of my supervisors, I had the opportunity to learn and develop these skills. The first time I walked into a meeting room at Edge I noticed a Charles Bukowski quote on the wall; ‘What matters most is how well you walk through the fire’. When my ideas were challenged or critiqued I would think back to this quote. It helped me realise that I just had to keep my chin up, try again and never give up on myself.

Lesson 2: Being a ‘people person’ is an asset.

During my time at Edge, I was part of a group of several interns, spanning different departments, such as Client Services, Account Management, Strategic Planning, Media, Editorial and Creative. In order for us to learn the different roles of the departments, we interacted constantly with senior members of staff and were given our own challenges and tasks to complete, all of which required essential teamwork and relationship building – both amongst ourselves and throughout the greater agency. We also benefited from weekly sessions called ‘101s’. During these sessions, concepts such as programmatics, project management, consumer insights and content marketing were introduced by an Edge department head, and explained and discussed in-depth. In some cases, these sessions inspired us to consider a different approach to our careers, including offers to officially join the Edge team and refine our skills further – another unique aspect of the program.

Lesson 3: Be prepared to think, rethink and think again.

These individualised experiences culminated in a group project where we, as interns, worked together and pitched a brief to an existing client. The most insightful and practical takeaway from this process was having our direction challenged and upended, often requiring us to rethink our strategy, creative and tactical direction. These constructive sessions couldn’t have reflected the nature of the industry better, challenging us to rethink the way we approached our work.

Once again, our lesson was emblazoned on the walls of an Edge meeting room with these words from Virginia Woolf: ‘Thinking is my fighting’. Experiences like these don’t often get described in industry placements: the energy you feel when you contribute to great work for clients, but also the process of learning to adapt and effectively respond to last-minute changes.

Lesson 4: Make the most of your opportunities.

As a student, I find internships particularly valuable – especially when if you’re lucky enough to fall into a good one. Considering so many people are unsure of what they want to do in life, it’s a great way to discover a new career path, and this was especially true at Edge. The accessibility of senior partners was a special experience; having one-on-one time with these leaders about how they got to where they are and how much time it took to get there, asking loads of questions and getting great advice was invaluable. Every opportunity I was given, no matter how small, helped me figure out what I want to do, and where I want to be. Now and in the future. The ‘Coffee with a Chief’ program was particularly helpful, and helped to cement my decisions about the subjects I was choosing to finish my degree.

I have seen so many people walk in and out of internships with nothing to show from it but a mark on their transcript. Some internships aren’t as good as they promised to be on paper, but this is completely inverse to my experiences at Edge. For someone who didn’t have much experience in media, advertising and creative thinking, I have learnt skills that have already contributed to the direction I plan to take for my career... so watch this space.