My name is Yvette Arellano and I am a Michigan-born, but Houston-raised, incoming second-year student at the University of Texas at Austin.  During my freshman year, I was not sure of where I wanted to go with my studies. My analytical side was strong with interpreting data, gathering research, and understanding complex problems, however my creative-side wanted to design, write and compose art. It was important for me to get real-world experience to learn more about myself and explore what I wanted to do for my future career. Fast forward to summer 2020, and I got an opportunity to be a Marketing Intern in one of the strangest versions of “real-world” imaginable.

This was my first internship ever and it happened to be during the worldwide pandemic, COVID-19. Who would’ve thought this would be my first professional experience ever? Stuck at home, never meeting my coworkers, and working remotely – this internship made for an unforgettable summer.

 

Students + Startups

At the end of Spring 2020, the media was filled with COVID-19 news, and summer plans and internships were being cancelled left and right due to the ongoing health crisis. Thankfully, I had applied to the Students + Startups program in San Antonio, TX before the United States was hit hard with the sweeping Coronavirus. As a successful 5-year run internship program pairing students with local companies, Students + Startups and the 80/20 Foundation took a chance on us and decided to keep the program up and running despite the world going through an unimaginable pandemic.

They assured us that they wanted to give everyone an opportunity this summer while also staying safe; therefore, the program would run remotely.

The news brought mixed feelings: I was both excited and stressed. I will be able to take advantage of a great opportunity but I was also anxious because this was my first professional experience – and it would take place in my own home, during a quarantine for a virus that the country did not fully understand.

Nevertheless, I was up for the challenge of becoming the newest addition to the 3Sixty Integrated team, as a remote Marketing Intern.

 

My Remote Experience at 3Sixty Integrated

The thought of working remotely was a bit overwhelming: I would not be able to meet the rest of the team, visit the office or be there physically for my first internship. 3Sixty Integrated found many ways to make me feel part of the marketing department. On the first day, I was even surprised with Tiff’s Treats Cookies delivered to my home – as if to say ‘welcome to the office!’

3Sixty Integrated was understanding and worked with me to design a fully remote internship experience during these stressful times. In fact, I got to be a part of the initial transition of their team working from home, learning zoom and acclimating to a new environment. Although unconventional, throughout the 10-week program at 3Sixty Integrated I was able to work on some exciting projects and gain new skills.

One of my first assignments gave me insight to the company culture at 3Sixty Integrated which emphasizes learning and growing for all team members. I was to identify and write down my 10-year, 5-year, and 1-year professional, personal and health goals for the first time ever. It may seem simple, but the straightforward act of writing down my goals was eye-opening for me as I got to really think about how I was going to reach them. I realized that in order to discover what I wanted to do post-graduation, I needed to observe and learn hands-on what the marketing industry consisted of in real life, rather than in the textbooks.

Thankfully throughout the remote summer internship, I was able to get that opportunity I was looking for.  I researched target verticals and clients, identified marketing strategies, updated the website, created and edited blogs, and managed all social media content production and distribution. I realized that real-life marketing was much more complex than I had previously thought. Some days were spent designing social media posts, website content and blog writing, while others were spent researching, problem-solving and  interpreting mass amounts of data.  Marketing was creative and analytical, and I had a strong-suit for both.

One of the coolest projects I worked on towards the end was training my team on the Prezi presentation platform. I decided the best way to present the platform was by designing a presentation all about me. Not only did I get to educate my team on all of Prezi’s features, but also it was a chance to bond with my team and really highlight who I am as a person. I was able to show off my love of art, makeup, skincare, and extracurriculars in school. They were impressed that I took advantage of the situation by being both a savvy thought leader and also a highly expressive creator.

This remote summer internship at 3Sixty Integrated has been rich in new experiences and learning moments. Because of this opportunity, I was able to learn more about myself and my working style. I learned I not only liked doing research for new topics, but also that I was very good at condensing large amounts of data into something more clean, digestible, and visually appealing. I learned that I was great at coming up with new ideas for designs and social media posts and I had a knack for creative brainstorming sessions. Through this remote internship at 3Sixty Integrated I realized that working in marketing was much more complex and broad-scoping than I had initially thought. Most of all, I realized I really enjoyed many aspects of “real-world” marketing and I could truly envision myself working in that industry post-graduation.

 

My Fall Semester and Future with 3Sixty Integrated

With such an aberrant year, I am proud to state that I am continuing on with 3Sixty Integrated as a Marketing Intern during my fall semester as a sophomore majoring in Management Information Systems with a Elements of Computing certificate at The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to the internship and classes, this semester I was selected to serve as a Resident Assistant on campus and I will be heavily involved in the Texas Women in Business Association (WBA) and the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). It will definitely be a fun challenge this semester learning to find a balance between academics, work, extracurriculars and an ongoing health crisis, but I am happy and honored to continue learning and growing professionally, both at UT Austin and 3Sixty Integrated.

I am grateful that both 3Sixty Integrated and the Students + Startup program have given me an opportunity to transition my remote summer internship into the fall semester so seamlessly. Most importantly, I would like to thank my team Dora Ndesandjo, Marketing Director and Brenda Ramos, Marketing Coordinator, for being great mentors and offering me a great learning opportunity in the marketing industry. Dora’s communication and leadership skills are praiseworthy; and Brenda’s work ethic and dedication is admirable, to say the least. I am fortunate to continue working alongside two strong and successful women!

For anyone interested in a unique internship opportunity, I would highly recommend applying to the San Antonio based, Students + Startups program or reaching out directly to apply with 3Sixty Integrated. My entire remote internship experience at 3Sixty Integrated has been challenging, eventful and memorable, and I am excited to see what the future holds. If you are interested in an internship with 3Sixty Integrated or want to know more about my experience as a marketing intern, I encourage you to connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at yvettea@utexas.edu with any questions.