Blog post

Why my internship was a real eye-opener

Internships and placements can give you a vital insight into the world of work. They top up your academic theory with practical knowledge. And sometimes they can surprise you, as Thomas Berrington found out.

By Thomas Berrington - 3 March 2020

Short but sweet

From November 2019 through to January 2020, I joined Crocstar for a short but sweet internship through the University of Derby's DRIVEN programme. Crocstar is a marketing agency that specialises in content strategy to attract new audiences to their clients' brand, product or service. They have previously worked with companies such as Pizza Hut, GOV.UK, and East Midlands Trains.

Starting my undergraduate degree in Marketing and Media was one of the most nerve-racking things I ever did, well, until the first day of my internship. The nervousness, the dread, the worry of not being good enough. From the very start, I assumed it would be a suit, tie and shined shoes business, a crime against comfort. But it was nothing like what I expected.

Upbeat and reassuring

At Crocstar, the upbeat nature, lax dress code, and comfortable surroundings shocked me at first. It felt like one of those work environments you always hope for but never actually find. I never felt pushed into things I didn't understand but I was always kept on the edge of what I knew, allowing me to grow in ways I didn't know I could. Whether it be designing and researching adverts, blog posts, and social media content or learning methods by which a marketing agency operates. It felt gradual and consistent and I never felt any mistakes would be met by harsh criticism, rather reassurance and then correction.

I learned how social media campaigns are planned and implemented practically. I suggest anyone with the ability to find a similar internship as mine to go ahead and try it. You never know how eye-opening it will be. The University offers dozens of different internships in the local area and in nearby cities. And the amazing support, from updating your CV for a professional environment to ensuring you are enjoying your work experience, allows you to comfortably transfer your skills from academia to the workforce.

Invaluable experience

I learned and gained experience in things that can only be achieved in a genuine working environment. That experience was invaluable to me. I got shown examples of software and systems that are used to best orientate all employees to a particular objective like Trello, G Suite and Slack, along with Adobe Creative Suite. There are some things you can only learn through practical experience: the tone of the customer's voice, or the importance of maintaining a customer relationship by checking in and going over what they said they wanted and that the brief has been met.

This improved both my team-working skills as I worked in an environment around passionate people where we divided tasks among us, along with enhancing my written and digital-marketing knowledge. The time I spent at Crocstar showed me what I want to gain through a career in marketing: expressing ideas and having the professional knowledge to implement those ideas, without all the pointless etiquette of what type of trousers I'm wearing (I hate work trousers). There is always more to learn and it's a shame my time has come to an end with Crocstar as they begin their new journey down in London but I'll always value what I gained from this experience. Thank you Crocstar for showing me what fun I can have while also producing intriguing and engaging content both for consumers and businesses.

Friendly and supportive

And thank you to the Careers and Employment Service (CES) at the University of Derby. It really is second to none. From helping you apply to internships, to setting up interviews, and ensuring employers are fair and transparent, the CES team guides you through every step of the way and always are friendly and supportive. They are just a phone call away.

The experience has shown me exactly what I want in a workplace and in my future career. Without it I'd still be unsure of what I wanted to be in the future. I couldn't have done it without the helping hand of Careers and Employment.

About the author

Thomas Berrington
Marketing and Media student at the University of Derby

I am a Marketing and Media student at the University of Derby. I enjoy writing about issues which aim to publicise key topics and stories affecting students, popular culture and local events.