by Yongyu Qiu, Intern
As a rising senior at Boston Latin High School, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to intern at Issues Management Group through the BostonPic internship program. I joined the firm as an intern for six weeks and got to spend time learning from various teams at the firm.
My internship at Issues Management Group was such a rewarding and motivational experience. I was supported, inspired, and learned something new every week. I was told at the beginning that I would be placed in a different “sector” each week and that every day may look a little different. I didn’t fully understand what that meant or know what to expect but I ended up loving it.
I must admit, my first day was a bit terrifying having never worked at a company like this before. I went through a roller coaster of feelings when meeting my coworkers — I was excited but also anxious. I felt a little pressure at first, but adjusted to the pace and ended up fitting in great. From my first-time clocking into work until my last day, I gained knowledge, built relationships, and experienced more things than I expected.
Public Affairs Week
Public Affairs was the first sector I got to take part in. And honestly, at first, I didn’t know how to feel about it. For one, I am not a political person, nor did I think I’d enjoy it. I was also skeptical about whether I knew enough about politics to take on the tasks assigned to me. While helping with the public affairs client clips every day, I became more aware of the things happening around me. I noticed this rather quickly because I was able to point out issues taking place around the city, knowing that I’d just read a news article on it. That applied to the tweets I drafted everyday as well.
I was also given the opportunity to help draft a testimony in support of a bill (I chose to write one supporting gun control, an issue that is so relevant today). Through research and learning more in-depth about this topic, I had so many thoughts. I had difficulty condensing my writing so it wouldn’t be too long. I ended my public affairs week loving it more than I thought I would.
Public speaking is a fear that I am trying to overcome and will continue to improve on. However, I didn’t expect to test my public speaking skills during healthcare week. My assignment for that week was to formulate an agenda for the biweekly healthcare/education team call. I had to research an article related to healthcare and/or DE&I that I thought would spark a good conversation among the team.
I spent time browsing the web before coming upon one that caught my eye. It was an article about environmental racism which ended up being used for the discussion at that meeting. We all agreed that environmental racism is a topic that is often overlooked and not talked about enough. So, when I started hearing others’ opinions and thoughts on this article, I wanted to chime in and talk about what I thought as I read it. However, I felt a little nervous seeing all these unfamiliar faces on my screen. I began to doubt whether my thoughts were good enough to share with the larger group. It probably took less than two minutes to get my points across, but it sure did feel good. I received some words of encouragement from others afterward. It lifted my spirits and gave me the strength to move forward toward my goal of improving my public speaking skills.
Real Estate Week
One of the biggest takeaways from real estate week was how crucial research skills are and the importance of following through on details. I started that week by looking at the real estate section of news outlets and digesting current events. It made me realize how important it is for communications professionals to recognize key themes and trends in the news. I would go on to find recurring themes in real estate as I continued to read.
For the rest of that week, the team would frequently check-in with me to debrief on client calls and share more details about the sort of work they do. My main focus was working on a media list and an award tracker. It really forced me to tap into my problem-solving and researching skills to find the right reporter who would be interested in the topic that I was pitching to them and various award opportunities available for clients. As one of my colleagues said, “Even the best idea will get passed over if the reporter isn’t the right fit, so taking our time to set up our work with careful research helps us do our job correctly and get results for our clients.”
My last week was spent with the digital team, where I was greeted with warm welcomes at their daily morning meeting. A simple intro question (“what’s your favorite movie?”) got everyone talking and so chaotic that we ended up sidetracked. I thought digital week was going to be relatively easy compared to the rest – only because I am familiar with using social media, certain apps, and technology in general. I was proven wrong. There’s so much to learn and a week was not enough.
I went through various training sessions going over different tools that they use and how the backend of certain apps work. I was taught the basics of these tools and used them in my assignments that week. As someone who’s on their phone quite often and uses social media, I was excited to work on projects involving it. Drafting captions for social media posts and finding the right picture to fit the grid format required me to dive into my creative side and come up with ideas. Working with others on the digital team so closely made brainstorming ideas easier, and we delivered all of our work on time. We were able to provide feedback and suggestions, allowing us to learn from one another because everyone has different skills, expertise, and talent. I loved seeing how everyone supported each other and is available to help when possible. I will miss drafting the tweets, the daily morning meetings, the trainings, and working with everyone on the team.
I didn’t expect the internship to end this fast. It has become a habit for me to check the daily news, the calendar for any meetings that day, and draft the tweets. I am grateful for what has been an incredible experience and for the unwavering support I received. The work environment here continues to amaze me. As my manager Tori said, it really is a big family. Everyone’s work is appreciated, valued, and acknowledged. The transparent and open form of communication at each meeting makes peoples’ voices heard and addresses their needs while making it fun.
IMG instills a strong team spirit and shows a sense of unity. By including me in different projects, each week has given me the chance to learn the ins and outs of the company. Many of my coworkers provided me with candid career guidance and college advice which I will carry with me. And armed with all the skills I’ve learned throughout my time here; I am more confident in applying them in the future. I will always remember I have a family at Issues Management Group. This is not goodbye but simply see you later.