Winternship. Noun. A portmanteau, combining the words winter and internship, to describe a weeklong internship during Tufts’ winter break.
It’s a fun word, and an even more fun experience. The “Winternship” Program at Tufts is administered by the Film and Media Studies (FMS) Program in collaboration with the Career Center. Every year students apply for placements at specific companies in media-related industries, ranging from newspapers to film production studios. This past January I was lucky enough to have a winternship at DigitasLBi (a really cool advertising agency) at their office in Downtown Boston.
Going to a liberal arts college has its advantages – there is a lot of freedom to explore and experiment in different fields, and students acquire a range of skills that aren’t limited to one subject. For me it’s always been the right choice for how I wanted to structure my education. But it does mean that majors aren’t usually structured to prepare you to enter a specific industry, due to their flexibility and versatility. That’s where the importance of internships come in, offering real-world experiences and acting as a perfect complement to the skills and knowledge we learn in the classroom.
I’ve always been curious about working in advertising. It seemed like an interesting blend of creativity, psychology, and data analysis, things I’m interested in but have had a hard time combining in my studies. I’ve taken some courses related to advertising and had a marketing internship at the Somerville Public Schools, but I really wanted to have some knowledge about how advertising agencies worked before I graduated. Lacking the time in my academic schedule to do an internship during the semester, the Winternship program felt like the perfect experience.
My week at DigitasLBi was truly a crash course on the advertising industry. My daily schedule was filled with one-on-one meetings with employees from every corner of the company, ranging from data analysts to graphic designers. They gave me a snapshot into what their role was and how they functioned with other teams to work on a given project. A lot of the people I met were actually Tufts alumni who had done the Winternship themselves while at Tufts!
While I was there, I even got to work on various projects with another Tufts student who was doing the Winternship with me. Our main task was to plan out content for CVS Pharmacy’s beauty department for November 2018. We spent a lot of time researching different beauty trends and brainstorming content that would be relevant to their target audience. At the end of the week, we presented our work to the creative strategists who had given us the assignment. They liked what we had come up with and offered helpful insight and feedback into how they usually approach this type of work.
I thought this Winternship was such a productive and cool way to spend winter break (and force me to stop watching Netflix for ten hours a day). I was surprised by how many Tufts alums I met and how willing they were to help us during their busy days. So, 10 out of 10 would recommend to a friend! And look out, you might be seeing some of my ideas on the CVS website!
-Julie Doten '18