The Ramblings of a CEO, The Value of an Internship

Melissa Meschke Blogging, Marketing, Michigan Creative Leave a Comment

The value of an internship…

I thought my blog today would be to give advice to college students and to say thanks to all of the interns that have worked for us at Michigan Creative, and who currently work for us now.

What I always used to tell my high school students and what I tell our interns and young people I meet today is how important my first internship was, and how it got me where I am today. Yes, that is very far and very impressive…thank you very much!

I was at Michigan State in 1994 studying Telecommunications and Film. What a great degree! I loved every minute of it. I got to watch films, talk about them, watch more films, write some papers, and learn how to shoot, write, and edit. Vey cool. That, along with working at Crunchy’s as a cook, make me miss the college life. But, the Michigan Creative mothership is across the street from MSU, and just a short walk to grab a bucket of beer at Crunchy’s. I guess things do happen for a reason.

Twenty years later, 1000’s of students, Masters Degree, Final Cut Certified, and now a CEO of a successful marketing company, looking back at my first internship, I laugh. I had no idea what I was doing. Back then, you have to picture what shooting and editing looked like. Yes, this was before some of my interns were born…shit.

We were shooting on 3/4 inch tape. Editing tape to tape, striping tapes with time code, and writing down counter times. The 3/4 inch decks were attached to the camera with a cord, had a strap on it, and weighed about 50 lbs.

I saw a posting for an internship at HOM-TV in Meridian Township. My interview with Ben Stark went well, and I was officially an intern. Two things I saw in the first week worried me, and made me think I was in the wrong career all together. I almost quit.

One of the senior interns had to show me how to properly wrap a cable. I thought I would never get it right. If any of you have been in TV or Theatre, you know the consequences of wrapping a cable the wrong way. After a few hours, (days) I got it. Challenge #1 over.

Next I was taught how to switch tapes live on air so the audience would not know we switched tapes. We would record meetings that would last over an hour so we had to record the last 5 minutes on the first tape, and the first 5 minutes of the new tape at the same time while we were live. That way, when they played back over the air, during the last five minutes, you could sync up the next tape, hit the switch, and poof..magic.

I almost walked out. It seemed impossible.

I got that too. And it was not impossible.

I stayed at HOM-TV through the rest of college, and worked there a little bit after as well. It was, and still is one of the best internship programs in the country.

The experience and knowledge I gained there I still use today. The friends I made, who are all in the business today, I still talk to.  I always tell people that every job I got after that internship, was in some way or another related to HOM-TV. I either heard about a job from someone who had also gone through HOM-TV, or someone worked at the place that was hiring, or they knew someone, or I knew someone, and they all knew of HOM-TV.

This was an unpaid internship. It has paid for itself over and over again.

Brian Fritz, our head graphic designer, did that. He walked around our office, found Michigan Creative, asked if he could help out to gain experience while he was in school and working at Home Goods. He now is employed here, and is a big part of our success. He also has rebranded a few companies, animated a bunch of videos, and made a cook book. Not bad…for an intern.

So for you would be warriors out there across the street, or at any college, stop complaining, go volunteer, get an internship, ask to help, learn, and make yourself known.

And..thank you to all of our amazing interns. We wouldn’t be Michigan Creative without you.

Brian