The Columns

Interns at Work: Wheeler Reiss ’16 Grow Marketing, San Francisco, CA

— by on September 5th, 2016

Wheeler Reiss '16

” It is pretty awesome to see that our alumni are not just entrepreneurs but leaders in the industry.”

Where are you interning and how’d you land the job?

I’m interning at Grow Marketing, a 25-person marketing firm in San Francisco, California. I started applying for internships in January. I knew I wanted to get an account management role in the marketing/advertising field, but I was open to a broad range of agencies and locations.

I came across the Grow Marketing internship on LexLink. Living in San Francisco didn’t seem like a real possibility; I had never been, I only knew a couple people in the city, and obviously the cost of living is absurdly high. At the same time, I thought it was a cool place with an incredible amount of activity. After doing a little bit of research on the company, I thought I’d give it a shot. I drafted a cover letter and applied.

Grow is a small yet prominent agency. Its size was appealing to me because I thought I’d get both broad exposure to the industry and hands-on experience. Despite its size, Grow works with some huge clients including Google, The Glenlivet and Visa. It offers the perfect combination of intimacy and a prominent track record.

Grow has a strong focus on experiential marketing, which engages consumers and potential consumers with a brand, making them feel included and more likely to incorporate that brand into their lifestyle. I was unfamiliar with experiential marketing before applying to Grow, so working at an agency that takes such a different approach seemed like a great opportunity.

One of Grow’s co-founders, Gabrey Means, is a W&L alum. It is pretty awesome to see that our alumni are not just entrepreneurs but leaders in the industry. Gabrey’s affiliation to W&L was reassuring since I knew I would have an immediate connection and, with any luck, would be able to look to her for inspiration and advice as I pursue my own entrepreneurial endeavors in the future.

Describe a typical day at the office.

I came on board at Grow as my account team was nearing the end of two big campaigns, so the first couple weeks were a bit hectic for me as I tried to catch up while my account team was putting everything together.

I take notes at both client and internal meetings and prepare presentation decks. I’m also working on my own mock campaign for Herschel Supply Co., which is something I’ll work on throughout the summer. Essentially, I received a mock Request For Proposal (RFP) to prepare an experiential series for the company. I will plan the entire series, just as I would if I were a full-time employee on an account team, and at the end of my internship, I will present my findings and make my pitch to the office.

You’re receiving an internship stipend from the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship. How’s that helping you this summer?

I am more than grateful for this stipend. It has helped me secure housing, afford transportation, and get a bite to eat every now and then!

What do you hope to have learned by the end of summer?

I hope to have a better understanding of the day-to-day roles and responsibilities of account managers, as well as the skills and knowledge to effectively manage client relationships on my own. Grow takes pride in its relationships with its clients, promoting transparency and honesty above all else. I think this internship will also provide me with a clearer idea of where I want to go and what I want to do after I graduate.

Have any particular courses at W&L prepared you for this internship?

I took Marketing Management (BUS 211) with Professor Bower during the winter term of my sophomore year. The class gave me a good baseline understanding of account management.

What advice would you give other students looking for internships?

Apply everywhere. You never know where you might end up.

Wheeler Reiss’ internship at Grow Marketing qualified him for a special stipend from the Connolly Center for Entrepreneurship. Stipends are intended to cover some living expenses and are earmarked for students who choose to intern with start-up companies that might not otherwise be able to pay their interns a wage. The Connolly Center expects that, in addition to performing their regular job duties, students will learn about what it takes to successfully get a new company off the ground.