Learning the Art of a Lasting Impression – by Jeff Manning
This summer was certainly one to remember. Unlike many of my friends, who were either still grinding at school or taking a relaxing few months off from the rigor, I was fortunate to have interned at AR Design. On the last week of my internship, I put together a list of my most important takeaways; some being specific and personal towards the culture of the company and others deeming very important to my development as a project manager.
The Creative Discourse
‘Is it Monday yet?,’ A term emblazoned on all of our company coffee mugs, epitomizes the natural attitude at AR Design. Yes, we love our Mondays, they are the most exciting days of our weeks. Thirty minutes after walking in, we have our Monday meeting. First, we shake off the morning blues by delving into the sometimes mundane but always interesting events of our weekends. This is usually where Derek, our web developer, tells us how much television he binged-watched, or Adam, the boss, shares his grievances over family-friend dinners lasting way too long. Second, we dive into the nitty-gritty for the coming week, each with a chance to tell everyone exactly what they will be getting done and asking others to take part on certain projects.
This is when the creativity flows, and this is when we kick off our collaboration for the week. I almost feel bad for the amount of questions I’ve asked during these meetings, but all have been met with creative and genuine responses. This also did wonders for my comfort level with the team, and I quickly found myself contributing my own creative two-cents during the meetings and throughout the week.
I almost feel bad for the amount of questions I’ve asked during these meetings, but all have been met with creative and genuine responses.
As the project manager intern, I learned the value in being comfortable with your team. Not only to the well-being of everyone, but also for the projects themselves. Our attitude and company culture cultivated an atmosphere that had me constantly going from desk to desk asking for opinions on my work, providing my insight on their work, and doing the best I can to streamline the process.
Going Above and Beyond with our Clients
Prepare for many takeaways in this section as I had the fortune to participate alongside Adam during conference calls and meetings with clients. Adam loves his clientele and I learned to love them, too. We treat every client like a best friend. On top of completing all the tasks they put on our plate, we spend ample time thinking about what we can do for them that is beyond what they expect. This gave me the opportunity to brainstorm alone and with the team to devise event and marketing projects that will benefit the clients. When our ideas are refined, solidified, and approved by Adam, we present them to the client. More often than not, it is these unprompted ideas that clients find the most engaging.
Nothing is more rewarding than getting approval for your idea and said idea evolving into a new marketing effort for a client. As AR Design’s project manager intern, my biggest takeaway here is the importance of being involved in the day-to-day of our clients; sit in their shoes, think creatively, and create something unexpected.
The Scope of a Project
Seeing a professional project from start to finish is something I’ve been wanting to properly witness and take part in ever since I began university and really started thinking about programming, project management, and completing projects. How much time must be allocated for this project? What resources are necessary to complete this project? And is the scope of the project feasible for the team?
I’ve learned that answering these questions really depends on self-awareness and your relationship with your team. Self-awareness, because you need to know your own capability and your role within a project. The relationship with your team, because you need to know their capability and generally grasp their role within the project. My biggest takeaway here is the importance of utilizing the capabilities of your team, and of course the multifarious technologies your team is working with day in and day out.
My biggest takeaway here is the importance of utilizing the capabilities of your team, and of course the multifarious technologies your team is working with day in and day out.
After the Crunch
An internship is an excellent opportunity, but it can and will be difficult. You have a short time to make a lasting impression – and a short time to learn as much as you can – and seemingly hidden avenues to make it. My final takeaway is this: your team is everything, get to know them, get to know what they do everyday. This dynamic collaboration will increase the team’s creative juices, help you generalize the scope of the project, and put all focus on going above and beyond for each client.