In my three years as an undergraduate, I have never once taken a business course. So, you can imagine how I felt when, during my first week as an intern at PondelWilkinson, the conversation at the weekly staff meeting quickly turned to non-deal roadshows and corporate access.
I have been studying as an English major, and I felt that my only skill was being able to edit papers and read quickly. I immediately doubted my abilities and thought I had made the wrong choice.
But I was wrong.
One of my first tasks was writing a pitch letter for an AI robotics company revolutionizing the culinary industry. After all the journalism classes I had taken, I thought I had this down. I knew about the catchy introduction, and the importance of making the story seem timely and relevant. The difference was this pitch letter would not be sitting on my computer in an endless list of documents. It would be sent to actual reporters.
I quickly realized that writing the email was not something that could be done with the snap of my fingers. I needed to fully understand the client and spent a lot of time looking at press releases and news coverage. I also had to research reporters and their outlet perspectives, which helped ensure my pitch letter was reaching the right audience.
Suffice to say, my pitch generated media interest that resulted in a client Q&A published in an industry trade outlet. But it didn’t stop there. There were press releases, client strategy calls, social media programs and even SEO work, among many other of my day-to-day activities. Throughout it all, PondelWilkinson provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate the skills I acquired as a liberal arts major that were applied to corporate communications in the real world.
After constantly going through college, hearing “What are you going to do with an English degree,” I finally feel confident in my decision as PondelWilkinson provided me with the opportunity to do real and meaningful work.
Lauren O’Neill recently completed her internship at PondelWilkinson and is a rising senior at Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College majoring in writing and communications.