The Columns

Interns at Work: Mariel Pearl ’15 Hulu, Inc., Santa Monica, CA

— by on September 5th, 2016

Mariel Pearl '15

“My internship with Ad Research helped give me a new perspective on the way to market and to ask questions.”

How did you learn about this internship?

One of my major goals for my junior year was to land a top internship for summer 2014. I chose some difficult criteria for the internship: it had to have brand recognition, I had to be passionate about the company and the job position, and the internship would have to provide me with an opportunity to gain experience that I could apply throughout my career. To make the search feasible, I would be open to any geography and a wide range of job possibilities.

I would love to say that I always dreamed of interning at Hulu and that I knew right away that I should apply, but that simply was not the case. I applied to tons, and I mean tons, of internships. I spent hours searching for opportunities, looking at job boards and talking to friends and family connections. I ended up applying to over 50 companies.

One dreary day in early March, when I was sick of looking at LinkedIn and Job boards, I changed my strategy. Instead of waiting for companies to post on boards, I would look at their individual job pages. I brainstormed by surveying companies whose products I interacted with on a daily basis. One of the ideas was one of my favorite websites; Hulu. I must have visited at a good time because I found the posting for a Digital Advertising Operations Intern. I submitted a quick application and ended up getting an email to set up an interview the same week!

What gave you the edge in landing this internship?

I did a Shepherd Alliance Internship the summer of 2013 for Urban Upbound (formally ERDA). In my role as a Workforce Development intern I basically became a career coach: helping with resume creation, mock interviews and learning about both the employer and candidates’ roles in the job search. My experience made me extremely confortable as an applicant; I knew the most asked interview questions, the words and phrases to put on my resume, and the best questions to end an interview.

The most important thing I learned at Urban Upbound, and what truly gave me an edge in my search, was seeing first hand how competitive every job is. To get a great job you need to be more than the perfect applicant. You need to maximize the odds of finding a great opportunity by applying to tons of jobs.

In addition to what I learned at Urban Upbound, W&L also prepared me for my job search. Inside the Williams School I took courses that let me explore my interests in the digital/tech space. Working with Professor Ballenger gave me insight into digital advertising which I was able to use at Hulu. Professor Bower’s Ad Class allowed me to gain real experience on an ad campaign, through market and consumer analyses, which helped me with my work in Ad Research. Ad Class also taught me how to make a clean and polished deck. In preparation for my final interview with Hulu I was asked to make a sales pitch, so I was so glad W&L taught me how to make a killer presentation.

Describe your daily duties.

I was able to split my internship into two roles: Digital Advertising Operations and Ad Research. In Ad Operations I was mentored by a campaign manager and was able to assist them by making screenshots and trafficking campaigns. In Ad Research I helped support the sales team with their research needs by becoming familiar with comScore and Nielsen. I put together some short decks that sales could use on their clients to “seal the deal” along with some internal and external research on different audience demographics.

What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?

I couldn’t ask for a better place to work than Hulu. Hulu has a strong culture that offers educational and entertainment opportunities for employees outside work. I realized very early on that people at Hulu considered themselves not just employees, but a family. Ad Operations even had outings and its own culture club! Perks included company happy hours and cooking classes. I took advantage of the several movie and television screenings that were offered during the summer. The highlight of my summer was seeing the screening of the Hulu original series, The Hot Wives of Orlando, and listening to some hilarious comedian/actresses in Q&A.

How did you like living in the city where the internship was located?

Hulu provided interns with housings just a block away from work. The weather was always perfect, and I regarded L.A. as the perfect summer adventure! During my weekends I tried to explore the area and was fortunate enough to see some live TV tapings, movie screenings, and visit local landmarks and hotspots.

What key takeaways/skills will you bring back to W&L?

My internship with Ad Research helped give me a new perspective on the way to market and to ask questions. I learned the importance of wording emails and questions to elicit the response you wanted. As students, we often compose notes without thinking about how they may be perceived by the recipient. Although small, I learned the value of taking the extra minute or two before sending a correspondence and will be using that lesson throughout my career as a student and beyond college.

What advice would you give to students interested in a position like this?

Go for it! Do not be afraid to apply, apply, apply! The odds of landing an extraordinary internship only increases with the more opportunities you apply for. I would also advise students to be as open as possible to interesting job roles and geographies.

Will you pursue a career in this field after graduation?

I learned a lot this summer and I would definitely consider a career in the tech/media industries. Hulu is at a perfect intersection of both industries and I feel fortunate I received in training in both tech and media products.

Describe your experience in a single word.

Sunny!