Journey of an intern and new business graduate: Hank Kellerman excels
Unforgettable last year: Intern to HCBPS SoBA “best of the best” to graduate to full time job
Hank Kellerman (2016) had a great last year at UCM. He took his education to new levels through internship adaptability and excellence, as well as visionary communication of his UCM public relations experience and accomplishments. He shares his story with us through Q&A.
You interned in summer 2015 for Bluebird Network and returned in spring 2016 as a full time employee. Describe that.
My BBN internship wasn’t exactly planned. A tragedy ended the internship I originally landed just before I was to start. I panicked for about 10 minutes, but then began my search for a new one. Thankfully, my resume and portfolio were solid. I heard back quickly from Bluebird Network and I became the BBN marketing intern with an agreement to also pursue public relations initiatives on its behalf.
BBN was perfect for me. Its marketing plans were dormant and its dedicated marketing staff almost nonexistent. I happily faced seemingly endless opportunities including writing content for and redesigning marketing brochures; writing, editing, and distributing news releases; redesigning and writing content for a new website; designing graphics for marketing materials and planning targeted campaigns. Once I learned BBN’s and its industry’s lingo, I was set.
I worked through the summer and the fall semester as an intern, and after a brief detour returned to BBN as its marketing AND business development intern in spring 2016. I added tracking the marketing budget, website analytics, and close work with the sales directors developing targeted campaigns to my responsibilities. It wasn’t long before I was offered a full time marketing and business development analyst position. I took it.
What interesting PR and marketing insights did you make as you worked for BBN?
Public relations and marketing needs come in all shapes and sizes. For example, our underground data center was undergoing an expansion. I designed the large posters that detailed it at expos, put together a marketing flyer about the facility and helped write the release I distributed to targeted media and which netted coverage in multiple target markets.
PR and marketing really must work hand in hand when it comes to strategy and tactics. I had to plan for conferences and prepare marketing materials while watching out for the BBN brand name and making sure negative publicity didn’t happen, but positive did. It was quite a balancing act.
I think the big thing for professionals who haven’t had much experience in PR to realize is that a good PR campaign or mention in a newspaper can be highly valuable. The factor that plays in here is that with marketing, you pay for it; with PR, it is earned third party endorsement which can carry lots of weight with it if said by the right (or wrong) person.
Offer advice to other PR students about attaining success.
(1) Talk with you classmates and professors and really get to know them. You never know whose help you may need when job hunting. Get involved on campus as well. I played on the rugby team at UCM for a few years and that let me have that “escape” I needed from schoolwork. (2) Go to networking events or conferences and MAKE yourself meet people. You never know who will help you get a good job. (3) Pay attention in class. Because I listened in class, I heard those same voices when working for BBN. I’d be in the middle of a project and think “oh yeah, that’s what I need to do here.” One lesson from Dr. Horn that I will never forget is “be concise.” If you say something in 50 words, odds are you can cut it down a lot. (4) Learn to write well. Write in your spare time. I pursued a creative writing minor and do a fair amount of writing in my spare time. I got a lot of praise for my writing from BBN colleagues. Moral of the story? Practice. Practice. Practice.
The UCM PR program joined the Harmon College of Business & Professional Studies in fall 2015. That same academic year, you were named the School of Business Administration “best of the best” senior student. Describe your reaction.
I was shocked. I didn’t really know what to expect. It was surreal to think of how close I was to dropping out my freshman year and to see where I am now and all that I have accomplished feels great. I really enjoyed the competitive selection process I went through as a “best of the best” nominee.
Offer advice to other public relations students who want to be named “best of the best.”
Talk with people and branch out. Get to know all of your classmates and professors. You have to be able to learn different things from all types of people. Don’t put off schoolwork either. Since you’re paying for college, school has to be your number one priority while you are there. Be diligent and resourceful and you, too, can be named “best of the best.” Work in the real world while still a student; just doing well in classes won’t cut it. Be entrepreneurial.
Share the leadership thoughts you submitted to the School of Business Administration Best of the Best selection committee.
Be a leader, not a boss.
When you work in the real world (which, really, is anywhere and with anyone) you will encounter bosses and leaders. The two can be the same person, but they can also be very different. Leaders have the ability to coach, give credit when credit is due, and empower peers to work together toward their objectives. This differentiates them from a boss; they take initiative “with” others as opposed to just “giving” orders and watching their peers work. Leaders work side by side with you to ensure you understand everything and are utilizing all the tools at your disposal. Leaders guide and teach; bosses boss. It’s as simple as that.