Noah Betancourt interned at KSM during the summer of 2020 as part of the 4A’s Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP). In an interview, he shared with us his experience interning at KSM, learning more about media, and what skills he’s taking with him into the future.
How did you get started in advertising?
I came into UT Austin as a government major, but I started taking classes and I couldn’t see myself being happy in that program. My Freshman year roommate was taking an Intro to Advertising class and I took that and was so interested. I fell in love with the idea of creating messaging and influencing how people think.
How was your experience with the MAIP program this summer? Obviously it ended up being a little different than you signed up for.
My experience was split into three parts. The first part was kind of like school where the whole class, around 380 of us, were on a zoom call. In part two I learned about specific media disciplines like programmatic, search, and all that good stuff. What was helpful is that KSM had 1:1s where I basically got to learn things twice: once from MAIP and once from KSM, and that really helped me put everything together. And right now I’m in part three where I’m actually getting to do project work with KSM. So it’s been really cool getting to experience the three different phases. The virtual part has been a challenge for sure, but KSM has been really good with the 1:1s and everything else and helping me feel like I was a part of the team.
What has the project work been like?
It’s been great. I’ve been working with one of the strategy teams helping with competitive reports, evaluating channel performance, and learning more about national vs. local media. I also got to work with the Video and Audio team looking at the impact of political advertising in a few different markets and how that affects our ability to buy media there. And a whole bunch of other things, honestly. Oh, and working with my mentor, Jordan Miller, to put together our weekly COVID impact reports.
What skills have you built this summer that you’re looking forward to taking with you into your last year of school and your career?
Excel is one for sure. I’ve always been a little intimated by it since you can do so many things with it, but I learned a ton about it this summer. I’ve also learned soft skills like improving communication; especially with COVID and everyone being online, it’s so important to communicate outwards but also ask “how can I solve this problem on my own” or “who can I ask for help on this?” How can you work to get the job done and get it done effectively? Impostor syndrome is a real thing coming into an agency where [media] is everyone’s job and I’m just peeking into it, but this has all been a great learning experience and also helped me realize that I can do it and that I do know what I’m doing.
Has this experience changed your thoughts about what you want to do after you graduate?
My whole thing going into this internship is that I was still struggling between creative and media. And I found out through many people that you can still be in media and use your creative tendencies. It’s not creative like you’re creating an ad, but do you have to be creative in how you’re delivering it and creative about the strategy behind it. So I really appreciate that you can be both, and what excites me about media is the opportunity to use data as an effective way to tell stories.
Any closing thoughts?
It’s been amazing to connect with so many different people and learn about their experiences. and I really appreciate the fact that Erin [Parker] and Jordan have set me up with so many people to network and connect and I really felt like if this was in person that I could go into anyone’s office and say hey. I also had the opportunity to connect with Joni, KSM’s President, and it was really an inspiring conversation. She shared her own experience and that there’s no one way to get into the industry, and you need to shine in the way that you shine. That conversation with her has really stuck with me. I did not expect my internship to be like this at all, I thought I’d be up in Chicago in person, but I’m really grateful for the experience and it really taught me to take whatever life throws at you and make it the best.