This semester, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take what I have learned in the classroom and translate it into my internship experience at St. John Knits, a luxury-clothing retailer based in Orange County. As a marketing and events intern, I was able to enhance my understanding of what it means to be a good communicator in a corporate business. My experience re-affirmed the importance of paying attention to the details in my work and my communication. At the completion of my internship, I left the company with a newfound sense of confidence in my ability to succeed in the professional world.
As the only intern on staff in the marketing department at St. John, I was tasked with a wide variety of projects. On a daily basis, I would usually be corresponding with outside vendors such as caterers, restaurants, modeling agencies, corporate and retail St. John employees to ensure that each aspect of an event we were planning went smoothly. I was able to take skills I had learned in how to professionally communicate and apply them to real-life business scenarios. However, I learned that while I may know proper styles and ways of communicating, this may not always be true for the other party involved. I would first become frustrated if I did not receive a prompt response from an outside vendor. But I quickly realized that real life communication scenarios take more patience and flexibility than the ones I have read about in my textbooks and communication journals. Here, I learned the importance of maintaining a constant air of professionalism and following up to keep the lines of communication open and flowing. I was able to use this flexibility in a current group project I am working on in one of my classes. I often become frustrated with group work, but I used the persistence in communicating I learned at St. John to ensure our project was finished efficiently.
I have always been a student who revises an essay to make sure I have properly cited all of my sources in APA or correctly applied theories I have learned. But working at St. John, double checking my work held much more weight than a few points off a paper for sloppy grammar. I was handling more sensitive matters, like items that needed to be inputted into the marketing department’s budget, and PowerPoint presentations recapping
monthly events that would be reviewed with the company’s top executives. Here, I had to employ the analytic mind I have been taught to use through my major to ensure each detail I was handling was being properly represented. Additionally, when I was asked to create content for St. John, like compiling an event directive or writing a quick blurb for an upcoming event, I had to keep the company’s values and mission statement in mind in order to accurately represent them. This required paying close attention to the elements I chose to include for the event and the verbiage I was using to accurately translate and express the message St. John wanted to get across to its clients.
Finally, when I did create content for St. John, I made it a point to ask for feedback from the marketing team. Some of the most important things I have learned about becoming a good communicator are the importance of asking for feedback and presenting yourself with confidence. With each project I was tasked, I made sure to ask the team how I could improve. I was then able to utilize the feedback they gave me in future projects to ensure I was creating the best work I could. I was astonished at how supportive the team was of my ideas and how willing they were to explain things and give me feedback. This a
llowed my confidence to grow in not only my ability to ask for feedback, but in my ability to succeed one day as an event planner.
Besides confidence in myself, I left St. John with a few other major takeaways. I greatly improved my skills on Microsoft Excel; managing items like budgets and timelines gave me some much-needed practice in using the software. I also left with a very clear understanding of how to communicate with other business professionals. On this same note, I learned how to communicate and create content for the company that encapsulated St. John’s vision and longstanding values of luxury and client experience. Learning how to take my ideas and tailor them to a company’s specific needs was important; because I was helping to create events for women of an older age demographic, I had to think outside the box and outside my personal views and interests. While this could be challenging, I really enjoyed drafting event directives to take the company’s vision and design and event incorporating every detail from the décor to the catering. I am excited to take the skills I have learned in this internship and use them as I move onto my final semester at Chapman and then into the business world.