By Stephen Ruder
In summer 2019, I was Noetic’s very own Intern. Having no previous experience in the corporate world or as an intern, I was ignorant to the type of work and involvement I would be conducting. What I learned about Marketing, Noetic, and the people that make up Noetic’s team is something that will stay with me for years to come. It truly has been an amazing experience that has given me incredible insight to use as I plan my future career.
At most companies the intern is the bottom rung of the ladder, and this makes sense because they have little to no experience. This often manifests itself within the company as turning interns into glorified errand runners. This is not the case at Noetic. While I did get lunch semi-frequently for the office, it was something I strongly pushed for because while I do believe that it should be an intern’s responsibility, it also gave me a chance to catch my breath out of the office. Why did I need to catch my breath? Because in my ignorance of the responsibilities I would have as an intern, I had misjudged the workload I was receiving. My initial (unfounded) assumption that my daily routine would be getting coffee and lunch for the office, quickly reconciled itself. I was given a laundry list of projects that I, the wildly inexperienced intern, was to complete by the end of the summer. Quite the wakeup call.
Some of the projects that I was tasked with for the summer included doing an extensive competitive analysis of how Noetic matches up with other marketing consultancies, nominating individuals within Noetic as well as the whole company for various awards, helping refresh our online presence and creating this blog post :). The summer kicked off with trying to get acclimated to the work environment, a 5am wakeup call on my third day for an all day meeting, and a daunting list of projects. By the end of the first week I was rethinking the whole real world internship job that I had committed to for the whole summer.
What followed that first week changed my mind about the trajectory of the summer. I decided that I would not be mailing it in this summer and that I would throw myself into this opportunity to make the most of it. What I realized as soon as I began working on the first task on the list, the competitive analysis, was that the entire team at Noetic was chomping at the bit to aid me. My belief that help from coworkers would present itself as an “it’s your first week I’ll offer half hearted help then leave you to your own devices” was truly incorrect. The interactions that I had were much more in resemblance of “when is your schedule open? Let’s meet for two hours instead of one so that we have time to become familiar, then I’ll help you do significant work.”
The competitive analysis of Noetic took over a month, and since it was my project, my totally unbiased opinion is that the finished product and presentation was top-notch. This was not how I felt leading up to the completion of the project. Laura Longbardi will deny the credit but she was integral to my success here. Consistently she gave both constructive criticism and was able to point me in the direction of our end goal for the project. The last bit of the competitive analysis was to present my findings to the company with a Q&A session.
What I realized as I looked more towards making the slide deck and gearing up to present, was the position I was actually in for this project. In essence, I was about to stand in front of the entire company of which I held the title of intern, and in detail critique everything they were doing wrong and cite what their competitors were doing right. After the 45 minutes of picking apart Noetic I would then field questions and comments from the people of whom I had just critiqued. Needless to say, I was THRILLED to give the presentation and not the LEAST bit anxious.
The day of the presentation was a Friday and this meeting was the last bit of work I had to do for the week. Despite over a month of gathering information, compiling findings, creating numerous drafts of slide decks and rehearsing in abundance, I felt wildly unprepared. I had a quick conversation with Laura where she tried to hype me up and I realized it was too late to call in sick that day; we began the meeting.
As soon as I got the first sentence out I realized that not only was I absolutely equipped to give this presentation, but also that I wasn’t highlighting Noetics shortcomings. The presentation was about raising awareness for areas where we could grow as a company. A question that had been bothering me for most of the project was also answered. ‘Is this work I am doing even helpful for Noetic?’ The answer was a resounding yes. Everyone was engrossed in my presentation and had thoughtful questions and commentary that left all parties with the feeling of collaboration and productivity.
It is very easy to tear things down, whether it is individuals or businesses, being critical is not a daunting task. What is difficult is acting as a company in such a welcoming and sincere manner, that an outsider can feel at home. This is what sets Noetic apart in who they are. Noetic brought in a summer intern and the first concrete task they gave was to look as critically as possible at the company and point out its flaws. This sense of humility and pursuit of self betterment on a company wide level is scarce in the professional world, and is just one part of what makes Noetic so special and unique from any other company in the market.
The rest of the summer has blown by with each project being more challenging and rewarding than the last.The “first week version of myself” would not believe me, but I am immensely saddened to be leaving Noetic. I wish the company as a whole, as well as each individual, nothing but the best in future endeavors.