The world of marketing communications can be complex in any line of business, not to mention a global insurance company like Allianz. For Maynooth University student Sarah Pyke, her internship year was certainly one that helped her gain an abundance of experience; but it didn’t come without its complexities Sarah discusses her year working in Allianz, a year that “taught me so much more than a classroom ever could.”
Working on the Marketing Communications team within Market Management, of which she says she loves the “atmosphere and buzz amongst my team”, Sarah finds her days filled with a variety of activities, with no one day the same. “I work mainly on BTL (below-the-line) campaigns – writing briefs to designers and I have also been involved on a number of ATL (above-the-line) campaigns including the ‘We Cover Courage’ campaign and internal brand launch.” Working on such large ventures such as the We Cover Courage campaign was a learning curve, but since the very start of her internship Sarah says she has had a great team behind her, assisting where they can. “They’ve taught me so much and have had so much patience with me when I’ve asked a lengthy number of questions.” The experience of helping run email campaigns, and working with creative agencies has provided its own challenges also, “It has taken a lot of getting used to, questions asked and learning but I created my own process that I found works well for me.”
Importance of the Internship
Sarah believes that an internship year can have an abundance of benefits both in the short and long term. “Students need to be given an opportunity to experience the working world that they’re being taught about in a lecture hall. Reading about what the industry is like vs what the industry is actually like is completely different.” She believes that the first-hand experience she has gained is invaluable, enabling her to become more confident as the year has progressed. “I still require some guidance but I take it all on board to help me become better.” This confidence has come with time: “every day brings a new challenge and project” but the marketing communications team make her feel at home, “I also love how valued the team make me feel – I feel that I have an important role on the team and that my work is appreciated.” All of this helps Sarah to get the best possible experience from her work.
Looking to the Future
Prior to working in Allianz, Sarah was unsure what career path she wanted to take. She admits that she wanted to do “something in marketing, but I don’t think I understood what marketing actually was.” With her experience of attending seminars and meeting industry experts at various functions, Sarah now has an idea of where she would like her career to go. “I want to go into a creative agency as working with one closely has given me a broader insight of what type of marketing I enjoy.” Looking at Allianz as “a workplace for those who want to grow and develop within an organisation”, Sarah would consider returning, but only when she has further developed in her career and has a greater understanding of the insurance industry. Not everyone knows what direction they want their career to go in, but Sarah thinks she has a fair idea: “Knowing what you want, enjoy and are interested in I think is important. When I apply for jobs when I graduate college I know that I am applying because I have a passion for the role.”
And when it comes to advice for next year’s interns? “Do not hesitate, it is one of the best things I have ever done. It’s an extra year in college but it’s a year that will open so many doors for you, it will give you a better understanding of what you enjoy and what you don’t.”
Interested in a career with Allianz? Visit our website for current job openings.