A New York City internship experience

Over the course of this past spring semester, I researched and applied to numerous summer internships. As a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, I was intrigued by the field and intent on acquiring hands on experience at an agency. When I landed a position at Corbin-Hillman Communications in New York City, I was thrilled to finally have an opportunity to experience not only public relations, but also Manhattan, where possibilities are endless. I was nervous for what was to come, but excited to learn and hopefully thrive. I never knew just how amazing this internship would end up being.

Corbin-Hillman Communications is a marketing and communications agency run by a mother and son team. I was able to work under both the President and Vice President of the company, an incredible opportunity as I was able to learn the ins and outs of the PR world specifically from them. I will never forget the first time I met the VP of Corbin-Hillman. In my best dress with a smile on my face, I shook the hand of the man that would eventually take me under his wing and teach me the fundamentals and inner workings of public relations and communications that I would not have learned anywhere else.

During that first meeting, we discussed my interest in PR and the knowledge I had accumulated at the University of Delaware, especially through PRSSA. When he finally arose, I thought our meeting was over. He reached over and grabbed a vibrant pink bottle of hairspray, a hint of humor in his eyes. “I will give you twenty minutes to write a pitch for this product.” Stunned, I watched him leave the room, wracking my brain for ideas. It was the first time I had heard the word “pitch” and I was given no guidelines or directions! I wrote half of a page, engaging my imaginary editor the way I would want to read it. When he finally came back he was impressed, and I could relax my mind. It was an adrenaline rush and although unexpected I couldn’t believe I actually produced something he enjoyed. In the days that followed he had me write several different pitch letters for various products, often asking me to sell things to him on the spot. He pushed me and my mind, and although tough, these were perfect lessons on how valuable the ability to think on your feet truly is, especially in public relations.

My tasks for eight weeks varied day to day. I managed product inventory, built media lists, distributed samples to editors and bloggers, and pitched products to various media outlets. My favorite project was researching major events across the country where one of our current clients could take part as a vendor or sponsor. I called the venues to obtain necessary information for potential participation and dealt with numerous marketing directors and PR representatives at each location. I enjoyed speaking to these established professionals, building relationships and connections over those weeks we spoke via email or phone.  It was a great opportunity to understand the way consumer products can be promoted to the public as well as strengthen my interpersonal skills.

From that first day I entered the office, nervous and unsure of what was to come, to the final days when my colleagues were hugging me goodbye, wishing me the best of luck in my future, I grew as a young professional and as a person. I walked the streets of Manhattan straight through Times Square every day to my office. I worked with amazing professionals who took the time to teach me what they knew. I acquired hands on experience with real life consumer products (most of which I would use!) I felt independent and confident. I know that I am capable of what I set my mind to and I look forward to any experience that now comes my way. 

-Nicole Sullivan


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