Living in Manhattan, working full-time at NBCUniversal and getting to read and watch TV show pilots before everyone else are just a few things Communication Arts major Dominique Ehrl enjoys about her internship at USA Network.
When Ehrl started college she wasn’t sure what to major in. Now, she’s found her stride in the field of marketing, as she delves into her second semester as an intern for the network’s Integrated Marketing Department, which creates marketing campaigns that combine TV shows and brand products.
“It’s really awesome to find something that excites you,” she says. “For the longest time and especially in college, I was so indecisive and scared not knowing what I was really good at. ”
Marketing unlocked the mystery. “There’s something special about it that suits me as a person because marketing is everything: Powerpoint design, how to talk to a team, how to talk to clients, how to express ideas, how you can be patient with other people and learn to incorporate multiple ideas. I’m very much a relationship person, connecting with people – and that’s marketing.”
On the heels of a summer internship with the production team at Univision’s Miami studios, Ehrl landed the internship at USA Network in fall 2015. The internship was renewed this spring semester.
Ehrl’s team creates marketing packages for companies who want to use USA Network’s shows as their method of advertisement. They help connect the target audience for a TV show with the likely customers of advertisers’ products.
Ehrl’s duties include creating recap “decks” – PowerPoint presentations for the client company whose product is being advertised. She gathers videos, screenshots of social media posts and talks to numerous teams that worked on the campaign. These presentations show the success of each campaign, helping prove the client’s investment was worth it.
Last fall, she created an end-of-the-year project: a sample 360 marketing campaign – the most expensive campaign package and the hardest to sell because it targets audiences watching on TV and on online.
For this semester, Ehrl is experiencing what she calls “the biggest brainstorm of the year” – entire departments coming together to brainstorm possible marketing opportunities for new and returning soon-to-be-aired shows.
She is amazed how much she’s learning, connecting classroom and internship experiences.
“What we learn in the classroom is only the foundation. It’s extremely important to have that foundation. Your home is the university – that’s where you learn how to walk and run. And when get out there, you’re put to the test. You show how well you learned those baby steps.”
When in class, Ehrl was skeptical about how she could ever just walk up to someone and introduce herself elevator speech style.
“But when it came down to it, the elevator speech is no joke,” she says. “You have to know how to say something and say it right in 20 seconds. What are you going to say to someone who could change your life?”
Communication Arts Professor Raquel Perez, who’s had Ehrl in several classes, says Ehrl’s accomplishments are the fruits of hard work, going through various internships and learning through trial-and-error what career choices best fit with her.
“Off the bat, she’s always been this self-motivated individual,” Perez says.
She recalls Ehrl would stay after class many times to bounce ideas off her. “She would seek my feedback about academics, extracurricular and career choices or she would use me as a soundboard. She always ended up making her own decisions, but when she knew she was processing things, she would come and talk it out.”
As a professor who also has experience in not-for-profits and corporations, Perez says she’s always ready to give students advice and help them avoid hitting the same brick walls she encountered, but students don’t always ask or listen.
“With Dominique, it was being able to have those conversations, to applaud her and congratulate her when everything was going well, and also to tell her ‘maybe you should consider this and this,’ and for her to be receptive to it. Her energy is amazing, her optimism is great. She brings it all together.”
Ehrl already has another summer internship coming up as an NBC Sports 2016 Rio Olympics intern. She will be heading to the network’s home base in Connecticut to help cover the Rio Olympics.