This is the next in a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.
This entry is by Emily Cieslak, COL ’19
When I first read the description of the American Society of Magazines Editors summer internship program, I thought it sounded absolutely perfect. I came to Penn wanting to be a magazine journalist, and through the program I could intern at one of the nation’s top magazines as well as participate in career networking and development. When I learned I got accepted into the program and would work at The Knot, I felt like my Devil Wears Prada-inspired dreams were coming true. I was moving to New York City to intern at the top wedding website. Yet a part of me was nervous. I am moving to New York City. How am I going to afford rent, food, the subway? Thankfully, I was able to earn funding from Career Services to make this not merely a dream but a reality.
I am not exaggerating when I say XO Group might be the kindest company I will ever work for. As the parent company of The Knot, The Bump, and The Nest (plus other brands), they truly embody their mission to guide their users through life’s largest milestones. This mission seeps into the company culture and office, where every desk is out in the open, weekly happy hours bring different departments together, and no one is too busy to ask out for coffee. Seriously. I grabbed coffee with the CEO during my last week.
I also loved what I was doing. As the digital editorial intern, I worked with The Knot’s team of editors to pitch and write my own stories, as well as layout content on their website. Within a week, I had my own byline. The Knot is an innovator in media, and I relished not only learning so much about the wedding industry but also witnessing how the company adapts to the constantly changing tech and social media landscape. XO Group tries their hardest to ensure interns learn. As part of the program, we attended weekly speaker series, tackled problems in a final presentation, and visited the New York Stock Exchange and Kleinfeld Bridal.
Likewise, ASME provided the structure so I was not just another intern and this was not just another internship. The program kicked off with an orientation where they brought in leaders from different magazines to prepare us for the summer in the city. Each following week, we visited a different magazine and had lunch with their editors. I know the connections I made, both at the various publications and among my fellow interns, will aid me for the rest of my career.
I walk away from this summer with such an enlightened concept of what it means to work for a magazine and what the future of journalism holds. More importantly, The Knot showed me how much media can benefit and change readers’ lives, and that the need to create this meaningful content is always out there. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn this all first hand, and to now have the resources to carve out a career that is just as impactful.