Confessions of an Intern: My First Month At McCann
Arriving at McCann just four weeks ago as a strategy intern, I stepped onto the 23rd floor with wide eyes. At first look, you see an office of hundreds of people grouped into their respective bubbles. But when you sit down, you find yourself in the middle of a community. Look even closer and you learn that every project is webbed throughout our inter-office platforms and you begin to understand that this network of individuals actually thrives as a collective.
McCann is truly a place built to produce creativity, where no part is identical. So as an intern, you think your greatest challenge is to figure out where you fit in. But after a month of diving headfirst into the work, you realize that your objective is not to “fit in” and that your team values your voice and your ideas more than anything. So the real test is figuring out how to use your perspective to raise the standard around you and become a part of that collective.
In my experience so far, the office culture of McCann cannot be fully defined -- nor should it be. As you immerse yourself into this new world of researching, thinking, and creating, you can begin to feel a bit lost. At points, you can’t help but wonder if you’ll ever find a moment to define your space, asking yourself: when will I get the opportunity to show everyone what I can do?
But there is not always a breakout moment. Working in strategy is something like sculpting where you are constantly creating imperfections, recognizing flaws and chipping away until you finally step back to see your progress. Then, you reevaluate and continue chipping. So I find myself working towards self-improvement because in order for my work to add value, I have to value myself.
In the beginning of the program I was asked: What is your goal here at McCann?
My answer: If I leave at the end of the internship program, I want my team members to think, “Wow it’s weird that Eljay is not here.” And if I’m fortunate enough to stay, I want them to see that they have gained an integral part of the team who will continue contributing, growing and bettering himself and everyone around him.
As a company, McCann challenges people to create new ideas, and as a community, to refine them. It may be the creative environment and recognizable brands that draw people to McCann, but it’s the teaching mentality of the teams and leaders that make people want to stay. So now as I sit on the 23rd floor right in the middle of it all, I realize, well, I would not have it any other way.