2017 Arts, Entertainment, and Media graduate Meredith Allesee is the true definition of graduate success. As a student she not only completed a successful internship, but she also found time to get involved on-campus by having two practicums including working with Aemmp Music, where she attended SXSW in Texas. Shortly after graduation, she was hired in her current position as Field Marketing Manager with Essentia Water. In addition to her current position, she also works closely with interns and Brand Ambassadors. Recently, Meredith attended Columbia’s 2018 Job and Internship Fair and had a chance to reflect on her circuitous route to success.
What do you remember most about your time at Columbia?
I think what I remember most is how all of my teachers were so willing to help me professionally outside of the classroom. I remember meeting with some of my teachers about business ideas and asking for advice on how to go about preparing for interviews for different jobs. They were always so forthcoming with their own experiences, it made preparing for interviews and the positions that came from them so much better. I felt much more prepared and like I had an advantage going into the interviews.
As a student, what was memorable about your internship experience?
I loved how each internship I had directly related to what I was working on in my classes. More often than not, what I learned in class informed my internships and vice-versa. It was great to be able to lend my experiences to my classes as well as have my classes help me professionally.
Did your classes provide you with the necessary skills to enter the industry?
I was constantly learning things in class that helped me professionally. In fact, some of the classes that I felt weren’t directly correlated with my career goals at the time have ended up helping me the most since entering the workforce full-time.
What made Columbia the right choice for you as a student?
Columbia gave me a great place to build a network in Chicago. In Field Marketing, who you know is incredibly important. I find that using my network to scope out events to sponsor and new partners to connect with is one of best tools I have. Columbia also gave me a great platform to try out ideas that might be a little unconventional and prove that they work. It was a great environment to be creative and try new things.
How did your current position come about?
It’s funny actually, I had just landed my first full-time position as a Sales Coordinator for a hotel and after a few weeks, I knew that it was not the right position for me. I happened to have been talking with an old mentor, when I was in my master’s program at Columbia, and mentioned that I was really unhappy at my job. He connected me with a friend who was looking for a Field Marketing Manager, the job I had been looking for initially. Upon meeting, we both knew that I was a great fit for the Essentia brand and team. I was able to start shortly thereafter and I have been so happy with my position, team, and company ever since!
Can you walk us through a typical day on the job?
In my job, I don’t really have a typical day—which is what makes it so exciting! Some days, I am working out of a coffee shop doing paperwork, making schedules, and approving time cards. Other days, I am meeting with potential partners for events and negotiating sponsorship agreements. And other days, I am working in the field with my team—setting up and working events all over Chicago. It is great, I am never bored and love that I get to interact with so many different people.
How about an a-typical day?
An a-typical day would be one where I stay still all day. I am always on the move! I think I walk more now than I did as a student.
What skills do you or your company look for when seeking interns?
When looking for interns, I look for someone who can talk to anyone, loves to explore the city and connect people and a brand together. Also, being involved or wanting to be more involved in their school’s activities is a huge plus!
What advice do you have for students interested in getting into the field?
Field marketing is a really close-knit community, especially in Chicago. I would recommend that anyone looking to get into field marketing start by working as a brand ambassador for a brand that they connect with. You can learn so much about the industry as a brand ambassador and you start to connect with other companies though events and partnerships. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for work. I found the best experience I got from my brand ambassador position came when I asked to help with the planning of events and not just work events.