Grace Beck Takes PR Skills to Ireland

Advertising senior Grace Beck packed her public relations skills into a suitcase this summer and jetted off to Dublin, Ireland to intern with Stillwater Communications. She sat down with us to talk about being the public relations and communications intern in a foreign country.

What was a day at your internship like?

Everyday was a bit different, depending on the priorities of the client and the greater need. I would I start each morning by planning social media posts according to which campaign we were running. I would plan Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter posts throughout the week for specific campaigns. By the end of the day, I would research upcoming opportunities for clients, for various events or speaking opportunities. I would send pitches to these different media outlets and schedule events for our clients accordingly.

Often I would sit in on meetings while startups from the U.K. would practice giving their pitch to us before they flew out to San Francisco to pitch to potential investors. My day would end around 5 p.m., but often I would attend events for a specific client that I was assisting. At the events, I would make sure high profile guests were getting their photos taken with our photographer, keep track of the guest list, coordinate drinks and appetizers. My main role overall was to make sure everything was running smoothly.

What was the highlight of your internship?

The highlight of my internship was creating a social media campaign, Political Intelligence in the Workplace for Women. This was particularly impactful for me because I was able to learn how to successfully plan and execute a campaign. I worked with my boss to identify highlights from her lecture and create content. I was also able to work with Canva to pair her pop-art themed slideshow with content to create posts. I worked on this campaign for a month. It was challenging, but very rewarding in the end.

How did you find your internship?

I found my internship through Michigan State University’s Study Abroad Program. Instead of a study abroad, MSU [also] has opportunities to do an international internship which is a unique opportunity and I encourage anyone who may be interested in learning more.

Did you experience any challenges at your internships?

There were some cultural differences I had to overcome at my internship: the way Americans word things is very different than the way Irish do, which was difficult when creating content for our clients. I also had a heavy communications role, whether it was over the phone pitching to clients or in-person when speaking with guests at events. This could be challenging because of the accent and the differences of language.

How did you overcome those challenges?

To overcome these challenges, I had to learn to really pay attention to detail and slow down when I talked. I had a mentor who supervised my social media posts and would often critique my language. This was helpful because I was able to learn from the cultural changes and identify differences between American versus Irish slang.

How did your classes or major prepare you for this role?

I took a course in International Advertising before I had departed to Ireland, which helped me prepare for the various cultural differences that going to a new country brings. I was also able to connect with various people who had done an international internship before through MSU which was really helpful.

What sparked your interest in public relations?

I like the role of media relations, being able to connect with people to help their businesses and ideas grow. I am a very outgoing, people-type of person. I love having a role where I can constantly network and use my creative strengths.

How did you become accustomed to a different culture?

I really immersed myself into the Irish culture. I went out of my way to make sure I tried the native foods, did several activities and made several friends who were locals. With all of my colleagues being from Dublin and neighboring cities, I made a smooth transition into life in the city.

What would your advice be for current students trying to find an internship abroad?

I would tell students to be open to any placement they may receive via the MSU program. Push yourself to get out of your comfort zone and take any responsibility even if it seems challenging.

Do you have any plans after graduation?

I am moving to San Francisco at the end of May to start a position as a junior account executive with Infinite Global. I will play a heavy media relations role with several legal sectors and professional services. It will be transition, but I am beyond excited.

Interview by Brooke Segal