Why Choose a Small Agency Internship?

My internship choices go back to my childhood: Growing up, I watched my dad work hard to build and grow his small business, so I’ve always appreciated small companies. I realized there’s almost always a close sense of community within the business and to the local community it serves.

I’m fond of this sense of community not only because of my dad, but also because I’m a musician. For over a decade, I’ve felt the close-knit ties of various ensembles I’ve been a part of, as well as the “community bubble” of my music school in college. The value of teamwork and communication is vital for productive rehearsals and successful music performances. 

I looked for a fall internship with a small company that provided some of these positive aspects, especially since I just came from working at a huge agency, FCB Chicago, over the summer. During my interview with Glantz Design, Chief Operating and Client Happiness Officer Anne Weber’s enthusiasm for previous intern work piqued my interest. I wanted to be at a place where I could make an impact as an intern. She described previous interns working in the nitty-gritty of client work and emphasized the importance of their team communication and daily meetings (especially being remote now).

I could tell this was the perfect opportunity to work for a small company, get a lot of hands-on experience, and connect and collaborate closely with the Glantz team.

My Experience at Glantz Design

My first day at Glantz confirmed these hopes. I met almost everyone in the morning Zoom meeting and immediately felt welcome. The team was super helpful and excited to have me join. I received my schedule and found that I would be in client calls and starting on client work within the first week!

I met with the account managers’ team to learn more about what I’d be working on with them and received a kind message from Designer Ricardo Lisboa, someone not even on my account management team. He offered his help if I ever needed it and asked what I hoped to get out of this internship. 

Glantz’s values are centered around their BANDS values: 

  • Be a team player
  • Act with kindness, and also honesty
  • Be Nimble, but don’t cut corners
  • Do the right thing for the client and the problem at hand
  • Shun complacency; don’t become a dinosaur

I especially like this last value and believe Glantz really strives to achieve this. For example, the account management team (including me) has been working on SEO training to expand our knowledge and skills of SEO—and ultimately produce better client work.

Everyone on the team aspires to the BANDS values. Each person brings a unique perspective and skillset to the table, yet they all bring a high level of drive and willingness to learn.

The team seeks to help each other. For example, if someone seems to be heavily booked with work, someone offers to step in with a helping hand. The Glantz team wants to serve clients best, and they know that starts with a supportive, driven community. 

Types of Projects I’ve Worked On

Since I’ve been able to get to know everyone quickly, I’ve realized how Glantz values people from different backgrounds. During my initial welcome meeting, I noticed everyone on the team came from various educational backgrounds like journalism, fine art, business, and more. I appreciate this coming from a non-traditional marketing background (music) as well.

Glantz appreciates and wants to hear everyone’s thoughts and perspectives. During our book club meetings, the environment feels comfortable and open. People feel confident sharing their thoughts while everyone intently listens and responds thoughtfully. The collaborative aspect of each project, combined with the openness to the different perspectives and skillsets that each team member brings, allows the team to thrive in their client work. 

I am currently balancing nearly 10 projects with different groups: Some are brand identity projects, others are website creation or refinement projects. With these projects, I’m working on SEO training, copy adjustments, content population, and quality assurance tasks while practicing my flexibility and multitasking skills.

Sitting in on client meetings has also been extremely beneficial because I get to see how the team interacts with different clients and navigates unexpected situations that may come in meetings. It’s given me an opportunity to take on more responsibilities and a greater variety of projects, and I have had the opportunity to ask if I can work on and shadow specific projects I’m not assigned to. For instance, I wanted to learn more about the account manager’s process in budgets and proposals. After asking Jessica Bleiweis, one of Glantz’s account managers, we immediately set up a meeting to go over the process using Function Fox, the team’s project management software. I also meet with Jen Lemerand, the studio lead and creative director, once a month to talk about my goals and what I am enjoying and hoping to learn more about. 

Large versus Small Agency Internships 

I’ve noticed some important differences between my summer internship experience at FCB Chicago and my fall internship experience at Glantz Design—though both internships were great!

First off, it’s easy to feel lost at a big agency. While it was wonderful to gain insight into how such a famous agency functions and creates stellar work, I didn’t have the same opportunity to get in the “thick of things” as I have at Glantz. Second, I didn’t always know who to reach out to at FCB, and I found I mostly worked in the intern program with other interns. At Glantz, I’m the only intern so I’ve been able to work with employees and current clients during my whole time here. I love feeling like a true member of the Glantz team. 

Overall, I enjoyed both internship experiences and feel that they have given me insights into what I’m looking for in the job market. Since the pandemic hit, my perspective has shifted in my career goals: I want to be a part of a team that creates meaningful services and connections. It was exciting to work on big name clients at FCB, but moments at Glantz Design have shown me how rewarding and special it is to work at a small company.

In one meeting, our design team was showing their first round of logo samples to our client Luna Delgado. Luna is starting to expand her botanical company. Our goal at Glantz Design is to help form and shape her brand’s maturing identity. As we shared the logos, Luna’s reaction was priceless. She expressed her happiness through tears and thanked us for helping her achieve her dreams; she was so excited!

I could not be happier to be a part of this project. It truly was a special and meaningful moment to be able to contribute to helping someone else achieve their dreams. I’m incredibly thankful to have met and worked with the wonderful people at Glantz Design!

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