A few weeks ago, I managed to find myself at the University of South Dakota’s student center presenting research to the Director of Marketing and five other individuals involved in marketing, enrollment and student affairs. When they say you’ll jump right into things at L&S, they aren’t lying.

Let’s flash back to one of my first weeks as a consumer insights intern at Lawrence & Schiller. My mentor, Tracy, handed me a list of various assignments to begin tackling, one of which was a secondary research project on current college admissions trends and Generation Z. I jumped into the research process, reading through dozens of articles and compiling all of the information into a 50-plus page document.

With step one done, it was time to learn how to tell a story with the information so I could present it to Team Spirit, the L&S team who works with USD. I organized and reorganized the information (and then probably reorganized a little more) until it flowed smoothly from topic to topic. That’s the thing about research: you can have the greatest facts and statistics in the world, but if you don’t shape it in a way that is exciting and understandable, it won’t have any effect.

Leading up to my presentation to Spirit, I practiced speaking to my mentor, my roommate and even the wall. The presentation came and went without any problems. After answering Spirit’s questions and helping to get their gears turning, I breathed a sigh of relief…until I got an email that said, “We will present this to USD Marketing and Enrollment leadership in Vermillion on July 15th.”

And that’s the cool thing about being at Lawrence & Schiller. From day one, you aren’t treated as an intern, but as someone who can contribute just as much as anyone else. I think it’s safe to say that a lot of people wouldn’t trust an intern to execute the research, present internally and then sit in front of the client to offer information and suggestions. Luckily, L&S holds its interns to the same standards as the rest of its employees and doesn’t let the title of intern hold you back. In the end, the meeting with USD’s team went great and sparked a lot of discussion amongst both USD and L&S team members. It was a lot of fun being able to provide a starting point for campaign planning and a great experience to have as an intern.

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