Colin Gilbert is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A marketing and supply chain management major at the University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
In this week's post, Colin talks about his marketing internship experience in Sydney so far with global start up Marley Spoon.
“What do you mean you didn’t bring a coat?” my supervisor asked as I arrived on the first day of my internship. For some reason, I thought I could logically omit winter jacket from my packing list for a semester in Australia. A quiet chuckle swept through the office as they looked at me and Matt, my friend and fellow intern, in disbelief. We were instructed to wear “long pants, runners, and a jumper” as we’d be working in a refrigerated area for the day, so we donned the thickest sweaters we’d packed and hoped for the best.
She handed us—I kid you not—a balaclava. As in, an over the head, fleece-lined ski mask. This time, Matt and I were the ones chuckling in disbelief. We followed her into the refrigerated food packing area bustling with workers in heavy parkas, scarves, gloves, and hats. Kept at 2-3°C (37°F), it was definitely brisk, but it wasn’t the arctic! If it were a 37° March day in Pittsburgh, there’d surely be several pairs of shorts seen on the streets.
We spent the rest of the day on the floor working amidst the production associates assembling dish bags for Marley Spoon customers across Australia as part of our orientation. Picking and packing ingredients, perfecting the bag fold, and inserting promotional materials into boxes were just a few of the tasks included in this eye-opening experience. Having never worked in such a setting, this helped me understand the company from the ground-up and see exactly what my impact as a marketing intern has on Marley Spoon and its customers.
Photo courtesy of Marley Spoon
Marley Spoon is a meal-kit delivery service bringing delightful, market-fresh and easy cooking back to the people while re-engineering the food supply chain to make it faster, fresher and less wasteful. A truly global company, they operate in seven countries including the US. Australia launched just two years ago and has already outgrown two offices and is moving to a new, custom space in a few weeks! It’s a fast-paced start-up atmosphere of driven individuals striving to improve the customer experience and change the way people think about groceries, cooking, and sustainability.
As a marketing intern, I work to ensure current Marley Spoon customers are satisfied and engaged with the product, while continually seeking new segments to enter. This involves considerable amounts of market research, implementing and evaluating marketing strategies, and collaboration with other countries to compare techniques. Many believe marketing to be an creative, opinion-driven industry with no real numbers or critical thinking. The truth couldn’t be more opposite. Every photo, flyer, or tweet at Marley Spoon is implemented based on research, then analyzed to review its effectiveness, because effective marketing is always driven by data.
The office is much more casual than back home: my daily attire consists of shorts, converse, and a tee. However, we’re just as hard—if not harder—working as offices in the states. Popsicles flow freely among desks and I think even sailors might blush listening to our conversations, but at the end of the day, the work accomplished is incredible. While not all offices are like this, the general consensus among my friends is that hierarchies are much flatter, communication is more open, and everyone is a bit more relaxed compared to previous work experiences.
Of course, there are days I’d rather be adventuring with friends than sitting at my desk, but I’m so privileged to receive the opportunity to intern while abroad. I constantly remind myself it’ll make a great talking point in interviews and provide a competitive edge in an applicant pool. Plus, it’s said that Aussies divide their day into three parts: 8 hours of work, 8 hours of play, and 8 hours of sleep, so my 9-5 is technically considered part of the Australian lifestyle.
As far as the balance between play and sleep?
I guess I’ll sleep on the flight home.
Colin's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned!