When Emma Cagney, Class of 2020, began applying for internships last semester, she never fathomed she would discover an opportunity that would allow her to both receive vital experience in the marketing field, as well as to develop a passion for a position she would, “never want to leave.” After routine visits to Handshake, Merrimack College’s online job platform, Emma stumbled upon an application for a position at Honest Tea, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola, as a Marketing Field Intern for the Boston region of the marketing team. After a few rounds of interviewing, she was excited to secure the internship for the summer.
Each week presents a new opportunity and challenge for Emma. When asked about her daily routine as a Marketing Field Intern for Honest Tea, Emma’s voice becomes alight with enthusiasm as she explains, “It’s not even close to a Monday through Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm. It’s still a full-time 40 hours a week, but I typically attend events of all various occasions, such as a charity walk in the Boston Commons, or if Coca-Cola hosts a big event in New York, they’ll fly everyone out there.” As much as Emma loves working with her fellow interns and the marketing team, her favorite part of her position involves her ability to create personal connections with consumers while representing Honest Tea’s brand and products; “[the marketing team] does a lot of donations, sampling, and giving stuff away for free, and people are always happy to see us. It’s just really great to meet, like, the moms whose kids love our juice boxes that we sell. It’s honestly so, so fun!”
Although Emma attributes a bit of luck to her incredible opportunity with Honest Tea, her success clearly stems from her conscientiousness and astute utilization of various resources. At the start of her sophomore year at Merrimack, Emma headed straight to the Lucey Center for Business Advising to touch up her resume. Later in the year, her Sports Marketing class required her to attend an Alumni Marketing Breakfast, where Emma met and connected with an alumni who would later offer her her first ever internship position. Soon, Emma began to realize the value of the events and resources regarding career success on campus.
While Emma possesses great ambition and determination, she nevertheless faced the same challenges all students face when initiating the path to career success. When asked to offer advice to current students wishing to begin the development of their future career success, Emma offers a plethora of valuable tips to consider.
“I think honestly the fact that you can go on Handshake and request an appointment with your career advisor and see when they’re available even for a quick question has definitely been my biggest resource. Even just talking with my career advisor always makes me feel more confident. It’s so important to develop a decent relationship with career advisors and show that you’re not just in college for a degree, but to also get something more out of it. They want to help you just as much as you want to be helped.”
She further stresses the importance of going beyond simply developing a resume; “it’s so important to get comfortable with your resume. It’s not one of those things you need to study word for word, but to be able to talk about your experiences and feel confident after doing so, you’ll just be able to promote yourself so much better.”
Beyond campus resources, Emma recommends students begin applying for a multitude of internships that they find themselves drawn to. Delving into her own approach to internships, Emma recounts, “I applied for everything I saw that I was interested in, just to try everything and see what my options and potential could be. You never know until you have the experience. Even if you go on an interview and decide that it’s something you don’t want to do, you’re still narrowing your interests down and realizing what you don’t want.”
Emma continues, “interviewing can even be a form of networking. I literally went on one interview where the company said, ‘look, we know this position isn’t for you, but this position with our sister company may interest you.’ Once they see somebody eager to work and ambitious, they want to keep you involved in some sort of way, even if it’s not the position you applied for.”
Emma’s experience as a Marketing Field intern demonstrates just how essential internships can be for students striving for career success. While classes are imperative in order to learn the methods and nature of a field, internships and other experiences offer certain opportunities that simply cannot be replicated in a classroom setting. As Emma explains with her own internship experience, “working under the umbrella of Coca-Cola is really beneficial to not only learn, but to [experience] all the opportunities within.” Internships allow students to explore the reality of the field they plan to enter following their graduation, and prepare them early-on for the working world. Students should explore all the options their fields have to offer, while developing essential skills to carry with them into their professional futures; and, as Emma’s internship demonstrates, there’s no reason students can’t enjoy their experiences along the way!
Written by: Kerry Reynolds, Class of 2021