The value of an internship

5 reasons why every college student should get this experience before graduating

On his way out the door, our summer PR intern, Matt, shared his thoughts on the real value of an internship. Thanks, Matt!

The value of an internship is, without question, the experience itself. Students and recent college graduates (in my case) need a taste of reality before entering that scary thing most people refer to as the “real world.” According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, nearly 50 percent of employers would like to see an internship on a student’s resume. So, if you are a student without internship experience, you may already be at a disadvantage, which is not what anyone needs in today’s job market.

I’m one of the fortunate ones. This was my second internship, and some people graduate with as many as four. More recently, I have heard that many schools are beginning to require an internship as part of the school’s graduation requirements. Locally, the University of Indianapolis and IUPUI are two of those schools.

There are many advantages to completing an internship, and here are just five to get you thinking:

  • Test the waters: By doing an internship related to their major, students can affirm they like the career path they have chosen.
  • Experience: Experience gained in a professional setting, even if not in your chosen field, is valuable and appealing to future employers.
  • Bad is good: Even a bad internship experience is a good one. You can learn what works for you and what doesn’t, and it is good to learn those lessons sooner rather than later.
  • Money: College is expensive. Some internships are unpaid, but many offer a competitive wage.
  • Non-traditional way to learn: Oftentimes in the classroom, concepts can seem vague and unfamiliar. Internships allow you to put those concepts into practice. In some cases, students can learn a great deal more in an internship than in a classroom setting.

In my mind, the largest advantage to an internship is the opportunity to learn. College can seem pointless at times. I often said to myself, “When will I ever use this after I graduate?” In an internship setting, you rarely ask that question, as you are doing exactly what many people in the world do every day: you are accomplishing real tasks and helping to further the mission of the organization. Sure, there are times when internships, too, are tedious, and the work is not exactly what you expected, but such is life, right?

Now, at the end of my internship with MB, I’m ready to take what I’ve learned—both professional and personal—and put it to use. Time to try my luck in the real world.

Matt
PR intern, summer 2011

Spring break on a budget

Ways to stretch your dollar

Our PR intern, Matt, shares some tips today for traveling a little lighter. Thanks, Matt!

I’m fairly certain most people share my sentiments when I say, “Thank goodness this winter weather is almost over!” While spring begins to peek its head around the corner, many are preparing for one of the most anticipated vacations of the year: spring break. As that time gets closer, though, gas prices are also pushing everyone a little closer to bankruptcy!

Even if you have no concern for world peace, the conflicts in Libya and the Middle East are troubling if only because of their impact on your wallet. Some airlines are considering dropping flight routes and raising prices because of the recent spike in gas prices.

What does that mean for you? It means less money to spend on vacation. Personally, (and I’m sure I’m not alone on this) vacationing is just about my favorite thing to do in the world. The prospect of cutting back on vacation scares and angers me. Nonetheless, such is life.

In this state of mixed emotions, I found, for the benefit of us all, some good ways to save a few extra dollars on vacation. I am not surrendering to the notion of skipping a vacation, rather, let’s consider some ways to save money while on spring vacation.

1. Eat In. Eating out is a staple for most vacationers. Sometimes kitchens aren’t available on your vacation, but this is a good strategy if one is available. And eating in doesn’t have to mean eating in the condo or hotel room. You can have a picnic outside in the warm weather, or even on the beach. Hungry for seafood? Go out and buy fresh seafood to cook that’s not readily available where you live. It will be cheaper than what you’ll find at many restaurants.

2. Drive. Many people with families opt to do this anyway, and it can be a great way to save some money on your trip. Driving, even with the higher gas prices, is usually going to be cheaper than buying flights for the whole family.

3. Create activities. Instead of renting jet skis for an hour or going parasailing, build sandcastles — or better yet, have a sandcastle-building contest with the kids. Other fun and free activities include playing in the pool or ocean (obviously), reading a book, flying a kite, in general just enjoying life outside in the warm weather.

4. Use tools on the web. Websites like Groupon, LivingSocial and even Gilt Groupe have travel sections, and you can usually find great deals on vacation packages. In addition, search for travel incentives from your favorite hotels and resorts.

5. Travel closer to home. “Staycations” are becoming more and more popular. You can stay at home and do something fun or just venture a few hours away. For example, as an Indiana resident, venturing to southern Tennessee to escape the harsh weather for a little while sounds great to me. You can save some serious money by staying close to home.

6. Sacrifice the beach. In my opinion, I strongly believe every vacation should include a beach. However, a good way to save money is actually staying a couple blocks away from the beach. You can often get more bang for your buck. On my high school spring breaks, my family and I always stayed in much nicer places just a block off the beach, for less money.

7. Split the cost. Rather than staying at a hotel, rent a home with friends and split the cost. Sites like VRBO and HomeAway are great places to find a rental that is often cheaper than staying at a resort. You give up some perks and amenities, but you have privacy and the company of good friends. Plus, the crowds in some resort areas at the height of spring break can be overwhelming.

It may be too late to make big adjustments for this year’s spring break, but summer is just around the corner. What tried-and-true tips would you add to this list?

Matt

Start your day at the office on the right foot

Healthy tips in a guest post from PR-intern Matt

Our PR intern, Matt, offers his perspective on healthy eating in a special blog post today. Enjoy!

Did you know that those who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese? It’s true.

Although I’ve only been at Miller Brooks a short time, I have already heard about a number of different diets my coworkers are trying out, and I’ve seen what people are eating at lunch. This health-conscious company recently instituted a health and fitness committee that is now providing a weekly supply of fresh fruit for employees to snack on throughout the day.

Fitness and health are subjects that have always interested me, so I was thrilled to find the environment here so supportive. That being said, it never hurts to be reminded of some basic tips for healthier eating.

Sub: The most important meal of the day

People of all ages struggle with balancing health and fitness within their own lives. One easy but important change to make — and one I take to heart — is simple: eat breakfast. As we’ve all heard throughout our lives, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, mainly because it’s the first.

This meal is what starts your day and, more importantly, your metabolism. Think of your body as a train. Your metabolism is the engine, and food is like coal (or wood, if you prefer). The engine constantly needs to be fed with your choice of fuel to continue running throughout the day. So, this first meal of the day “sparks the fire,” so to speak. Ideally, it’s good to eat throughout the day to keep that fire going. Caffeine isn’t a completely unhealthy option to help accomplish this as well, if you consume it in small, reasonable quantities. In fact, research has suggested that caffeine can help keep you energized throughout the day (duh!), with minimal negative effects. Other good snacks to keep that fire going include a handful of peanuts; pretzels and carrots with hummus; or celery with peanut butter.

Back to breakfast, though. If you are too busy to eat a full, nutritious breakfast, you have options to help start the day right. Breakfast should include fiber and protein at a minimum. The most obvious choice to me – and what I started my morning with today – is whole-wheat toast with peanut butter. Peanuts, eggs and dairy are all fairly high in protein. These are usually easy to include in your breakfast in some form.

Without a doubt, adding any fruit or vegetable is always a plus. Today, I added a banana. Bananas are high in potassium, which has been shown to reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. Any fruit has benefits: for example, oranges are loaded with vitamin C, and apples contain pectin, a chemical known to reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels.

If you have been skipping breakfast, one of the most important changes you can make this year is to STOP! Skipping a meal is the most destructive thing you can do to your body and your waistline!

For more information about the benefits of easy-to-find fruits and vegetables, click here.

Matt

MB needs a great new PR intern!

PR intern position open for spring semester

Our PR department has a job opening for an intern during the coming spring semester. Check out the details below, and let Ashley know if you’re interested!

PR Intern
Scope of work

PR interns assist with the coordination of the tactical day-to-day activities of our public relations accounts. As are all team members, PR interns are expected to approach each project with a sense of urgency. Team members should be able to adapt to a variety of situations.

Scope of responsibilities include:

  • Serving as key resource for management of client lists and databases.
  • Managing various writing assignments from inception to delivery.
  • Participating in the execution of public relations initiatives to meet client goals and objectives as needed.
  • Assisting in client services to maintain a strong, positive relationship with clients.
  • Keeping all MB team members informed and up to speed on the activities of each account.

Ideal candidates will have or be seeking a Bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, public relations, marketing or related field. Candidates should have a professional presence and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Resumes and cover letters should be sent to Ashley Kasdorf by fax or Email.
Fax: 317-873-8110
Email: ashley@millerbrooks.com

2010 PRSSA National Conference

Special post from a guest blogger: our PR intern, Alise!

In the early-morning hours of October 15th, I left for the airport, eagerly anticipating my trip to Washington, D.C. for my fourth Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) National Conference. Being the political nerd that I am, I could barely stand still from the excitement!

One of the best things about attending a PRSSA National Conference is getting to listen to the great speakers. The conference committees find people who are very influential in their fields, and it is always inspiring to hear the professionals’ perspectives on the latest trends and topics in public relations.

Learning side-by-side with PRSA

On top of the student sessions and workshops, we also had the opportunity to attend several joint sessions with PRSA. The first keynote speaker was Bettina Luescher, the Chief Spokesperson of North America for the United Nations World Food Program. She was absolutely phenomenal and I can confidently say her remarks are what resonated with me most from my experience in Washington.

Since Luescher took on the job, she has coordinated response efforts for the tsunami in Thailand, the earthquake in Haiti, the flood in Pakistan, genocide in Darfur and the war in Afghanistan. She also coordinates bringing aid to struggling countries such as Sudan, Kenya and Cape Verde. During a typical 20-hour workday, she gives between 20 and 30 interviews. When she finally has time to rest, she sleeps in community tents with more than 20 people.

According to Luescher, the media and the public always want to know two things when a crisis occurs: what the organization is doing to help and how many people are being fed. Considering the World Food Program only accepts voluntary funding, a big portion of her job involves asking for financial donations.

Social media on a global scale

I was surprised to learn that even an organization as big as the World Food Program uses social media to communicate. The organization’s website (WFP.org) and Twitter account are often used to reach out for awareness and fundraising. Twitter is also used for logistics – Luescher said that onsite workers often Tweet about what roads to avoid and how to get help.

The organization created a way for cell-phone users across the globe to donate by sending a simple text message. Developers also created online games to attract people and encourage them to donate. For example, users on the popular Facebook game Farmville raised $15 million in five days.

The main focus for the World Food Program’s very active blogging and online community is to spread the word about how much a small donation can do. According to Luescher, 25 cents a day can feed a small child in school – that’s about $5 a month.

Make passion your job

What most impressed me about Luescher was her passion for her job. She switched from being a CNN spokesperson wearing expensive Chanel suits to an aid coordinator with 20-hour workdays who sleeps in community tents. Her job is no easy feat; not only is it challenging, but she is also in constant danger when she travels into unstable areas. However, you can tell she finds it truly rewarding.

Public relations offers so many opportunities to find something you are passionate about and dedicate your life and your career to it. I can’t wait to find my niche and help make a difference in others’ lives.

Alise


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