My whole life, I’ve been attracted to dynamic, challenging work — that’s one of the reasons I chose to attend Drexel University. The Philadelphia-based university, where I’m studying finance, boasts a unique co-op program that allows students to spend up to six months at a time immersing themselves in the working world, developing professional skills and gaining technical knowledge that can’t be found in the classroom.
However, after completing my first co-op at a major media company, I was disappointed to discover first-hand that a professional setting doesn’t always translate into professional skill development, especially if you’re not given meaningful work to do. In other words, a big pond can sometimes mean that interns are treated like very, very small fish. So when the time came for my second co-op experience, I suppose I made something of an unexpected choice.
Though I was presented with the chance to work at a big-name bank starting in the fall — ostensibly a finance major’s dream — I instead decided to join Publicis Health Media’s SEO team, jumping into an unfamiliar field with both feet. I was by no means an SEO expert, but I didn’t want a redo of my first co-op — and it seemed like PHM could provide the dynamic work experience I was looking for.
PHM Interns Bring Value, Feel Valued
At my last co-op, I spent more time stuffing envelopes and running errands than I did developing workplace skills or building a professional network. Let me tell you: six months can feel like an eternity when you’re doing work that makes you miserable.
When choosing my second co-op experience, I wanted to ensure that I’d learn new skills, take a meaningful career step in the right direction, and build relationships with inspiring mentors. Fortunately, I’ve been able to do that in PHM’s fast-paced work environment, where every day is different than the last.
One thing’s for sure — you can’t learn this stuff in a classroom. And by “stuff,” I don’t just mean Google Analytics or how to design an optimized sitemap, but also “soft skills” that college courses tend to underemphasize.
For example, the workplace is a very different kind of time management and prioritization from college. In college, you can sleep in until you have a class at 10, then you can come back to your dorm and take a nap if you want to. At work, you have a specific time frame during which you have to get everything done, so I’ve had to train myself to work like that.
I suspect these “soft skills” are exactly what’s going to help me succeed in life and career after college — and, incidentally, they’re exactly what I couldn’t develop at my first co-op. Learning technical skills and applications is one thing, but developing the real talents needed to become a professional requires a workplace that treats you like one from the start.
A Real Part of the Team
The success of interns at any company rests on the investment of its full-time employees, and the PHM team understands that. That’s why, in my experience, full-time members of the team were always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to help me learn a new skill or complete a task successfully.
At PHM, if people see that you’re hardworking, willing to learn, and wanting to do a good job, they’ll always be willing to help you. Despite the fact that everyone maintains a pretty full workload, the office’s vibe is collaborative and fun; there’s a sense here that everyone is part of a team. That’s been the best part of working here.
Sachin Patro started at Publicis Health Media in the fall of 2018 as an SEO co-op. He currently works part time on the SEO Team while studying finance and marketing at Drexel University.
Over his PHM tenure, Sachin has gained considerable experience working across a variety of health, wellness, pharmaceutical brands across HCP- and patient-targeted websites. In his free time, Sachin loves to read, dance, play basketball, and learn about investing.
Sachin is passionate about using business as a platform to inspire change and add value to people’s lives. He hopes to channel this passion into eventually starting his own company.
Connect with Sachin on LinkedIn.
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