In the sophomore summer I interned at a company called Qnary as a business development intern. Qnary is a social media platform that aims to build out and grow the online reputation and thought leadership for executives and professionals. Qnary’s thesis is that everyone has a digital footprint… and it matters. In today’s culture, as a professional, especially an executive, it is becoming increasingly important to have an online presence. Qnary through a mobile application helps to curate social media content as well as amplify and grow their online network.
My primary role within Qnary was as a Business Development intern. Forbes defines Business Development as “the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships… At its heart, business development is all about figuring out how the interactions of those forces combine together to create opportunities for growth” (Pollack). My responsibilities included responding to cold emails to potential clients. We sent out 800 emails a day to potential professionals and executives who are interested in our services. In this email we briefly describe what we do as a company and ask if the recipient would be interested in a call to go over a customized digital footprint audit of them. I was responsible for responding to the people who are and aren’t interested and logging them into the Customer Relations Management service. If they were interested, then it is my role to complete their digital footprint audit. This is basically doing a deep dive on the Internet and giving them an overview of their current online presence and digital footprint alongside suggestions on how to improve their main social media channels. In addition to that, as a team, we would start to create their potential content pillars if they were to partner with us. This is a free service and oftentimes leads (or prospective clients), even if they don’t partner with us, find this incredibly helpful.
My second responsibility at Qnary was as an all-round external project intern. With this, I helped supplement the team in any projects outside the scope of our main solution. This mainly included contributing to the Cannes Lions Festival and traveling to Cannes, France for a week and a half managing clientele partner meetings.
I decided to pursue this experience because I thought it would be an invaluable experience in being hands on with customers — and that it was. I’m looking to pursuing a career potentially in UX Design or Product Management after college and I thought Business Development would be a great way in really understanding not only the user (or prospective user), but also the product.
Some of the most innovative ideas during my sophomore summer were created in participating in a 48-Hour client social media challenge. In this challenge a company asked multiple companies in 48 hours to create 9 instagram assets that would accompany their social media campaign. At the end of those 48 hours we would present our ideas with a potential opportunity to create content for them on a monthly basis. The best company wins.
This was an incredibly innovative and interesting concept. It required us to not only be more creative than our core competencies required but it also required strategic and critical thinking to balance many factors. Some of those balancing factors include practicality, ambitious ideas, budget and costs, creativity, brand & cultural awareness, etc. But not only did the process require innovative ideas of collaborating with others, but the actual social media content creation required innovative ideas. Being asked to create anything under the sun but something that is doable and only in 2 days required us to come up with innovative ideas but also required us to be innovative in our thinking and restraint.
While in Cannes I was tasked with arranging a car to pick up my boss from her hotel. The way in which I failed was that other co-workers of the client were using the same driver and for that reason the driver decides to drive based on a first come first serve basis. So because the driver couldn’t be at two places at once my boss was almost late to her event. I had suspected that this may happen and knowing my boss was heavily looking forward to this event I wanted to see if we could hire two drivers for the rest of the trip. My coworker who was in charge of transportation during the trip advised against it and said we couldn’t do it… and for good reason. However, because of that I didn’t even ask my manager and this ended up happening. What I learned from this is make your case! It’s important to not be passive and advocate for the changes you think should be made. Often times it may seem like you’re coming off adversarial or incapable but making a case for why you think changes should be made can have a massive impact on not only your own workflow but also others. Being quiet (although at times necessary) useless doesn’t help when working in a team environment I’ve learned.
Some of the most important things I learned in this experience is to, as previously mentioned, be vocal about both the good and bad. Many times in this internship I was vocal but when I wasn’t it generally ended poorly. Secondly — attitude is everything. People want to see that the value, seriousness, and enthusiasm they’re putting into their work is being reciprocated. Many people may have the ability to work hard, to have a strong work ethic but I believe few are willing to do so with zeal, dedication, and genuine investment; nonetheless with a smile on their face. And because I did that in this internship I was rewarded with opportunities to gain experiences beyond my original scope of work.
Pollack, Scott. “What, Exactly, Is Business Development?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 14 Aug. 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/scottpollack/2012/03/21/what-exactly-is-business-development/.