Cole Taylor is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2016, sharing their story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A journalism and media writing major at Lasell College, they are studying abroad in Dublin this semester.
In this week's post, Cole tells us all about their internship experience with social media analysis company, Olytico.
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It was a twenty five minute interview over Skype. I got dressed up and had some notes next to my laptop in preparation for both the expected and unexpected questions. I nailed the interview.
Less than two weeks later I received an email saying that I was granted the internship placement at Olytico for the spring of 2016. Although I had no idea what my responsibilities would be, I was thrilled to know that I was placed in one of the most valued internships through CAPA. I was not only about to embark on an incredible journey of travels and cultural immersion, but I was about to partake in my first professional internship—international experience.
Olytico is a social media analysis company based out of Dublin in Fitzwilliam Square. I love saying Fitzwilliam. Olytico is a startup company and continues to innovate and improve every day. With a small team of six, the company helps brands and organizations make sound decisions. The insights that Olytico provides to clients are powerful and essential to a company’s growth. There are four major elements that contribute to the responsibilities of the Olytico team: social media listening, retrospective reporting, news media monitoring, and influencer identification. Olytico has been operating for about six years; from Stephen’s kitchen table to the top floor of 34 Fitzwilliam Square.
Stephen founded Olytico in 2009 after studying journalism, software and sponsorship. He is a tremendous conference speaker, having spoken at several events including the Sport and New Media Conference in Paris, the Dublin Web Summit, DMX, The MBA Conference and the National Digital Media and Marketing Summit. Stephen also lectures in Online Journalism at Griffith College [where I currently study in Dublin]!
Lorcan Bannon, the head of Client Strategy is particularly strong with brand building. He has spent a large part of his developing career launching and managing local and international brands; Jameson Irish Whiskey and Absolut Vodka. Lorcan sits at the desk directly behind me and is a terrific resource for all the questions I have. Not to mention, he cracks an occasional joke which contributes to the existing unperturbed office environment.
Across from Lorcan is the junior Media Analyst, Alan Ryan. Alan has a degree in Creative Multimedia from the Limerick School of Art and Design. While at the university, he established an interest in Social Journalism which led him to Olytico. Alan also has an adorable puppy named Alfie.
Behind Alan in one of the four corners of the office is Megan Gleeson, a Media Analyst. Megan joined Olytico in 2015. She was one who surpassed the standards in the Marketing Communications department of Ulster Bank. Megan is a silent yet humorous person who typically lightens the mood and kindly asks if anyone needs anything before she steps out—classic Irish hospitality.
Directly, smack dab in the middle of the office is me. I have my own desk with a computer and plenty of space to put my personal belongings. I feel as though I am part of the team not only because I have my own work area, but because of the instant ease I felt when welcomed as the new intern. To say the team is incredible is an understatement. There is a healthy balance of focus, humility, and comicalness that makes me feel at home.
The physicality of the office is just as satisfying as the group of people. It is small and quaint overlooking Fitzwilliam Square—the best view of Fitzwilliam Square in my opinion. Although the six flights of stairs to the office get no easier, it is worth the climb. Stephen likes to refer to the stairs as a free gym membership; I’d say. The office has seven desks that were clearly strategically placed. On one of the desks there is an arranged line of glass jars holding healthy and wholesome snacks for us to enjoy throughout the day. The walls of the office are plastered with achievements, greeting cards, autographed Gaelic sports memorabilia, and posters. Next to the door is a table that rises to my knees and has a miniature refrigerator, instant coffee, sweetener tablets, jars of tea bags, mugs, and an electric tea kettle. Needless to say, our office is not going without.
My first day on the job was well-paced and I was given minimal tasks in allowance for settling in and finding my groove. Although this was the case, I was ready for more within the first couple of days! Normally, I do not have to ask for more because Stephen is great at judging when to add to my agenda or pull back. He guides me through every task that is put before me and makes sure that I ask questions.
Being a quick learner has assisted in adapting to a new culture and work environment. Compared to America, working in Ireland is honestly more enjoyable thus far. Whatever pressure people are under in Ireland is sorted out with communication and patience, but in America it seems like people default to saying they are stressed. In America, workplaces are lacking strong communication. I am not only gaining experience in social listening and understanding the power of social media platforms, but I am acquiring transferable skills. By the end of this professional internship, I will be able to suspend my judgments, communicate effectively, propose ideas or concepts, listen to other pitches and innovate off of them, and I will be able to make connections or conclusions regarding American work values and Irish work values.
In all honesty, I could not have handpicked a better placement especially for my first professional internship experience. Olytico has become my home in Dublin. I feel comfortable and significant to the team. Although I am only three weeks into my experience at Olytico, I already know it is going to be an unforgettable semester full of innovation, creativity, improvement, and intercultural involvement.
Olytico says on it's website: "Knowledge is power, but with an overwhelming amount of content and conversations taking place online at a rapid pace, you need understanding to harness that power."
I believe you need understanding to conquer YOUR world; maintain open-mindedness, take risks, listen to others, and learn everything you possibly can. Interning abroad is a great place to start.
Food for thought: Always go above and beyond. If they have nothing left for you to do, find something to do that benefits the team.
Cole's journey continues every Friday so stay tuned.