From Broadway theaters and TV shows to NGOs and Internet startups, NYU students intern at some pretty impressive places—and learn a lot while they’re at it (not to mention the perks). For this NYU Stories series, some of these industrious interns described the ups and downs of a typical day on the job, let us in on their secrets to success, and doled out advice for fellow students eager to venture out into the working world. Stay tuned for a new interview or two each week. 

 

 


 

OPPORTUNITY AND FLEXIBILITY AT A STARTUP

Melissa Menta

Name: Melissa Menta
Major: Sports Management
Dream job: Development work for a big-time sports institution (like the NFL)
Current gig: Social Media and Marketing Associate at Ticket Monster

What is Ticket Monster?
Founded by Brian Lefton, it’s a startup ticket retailer specializing in sporting events and concerts.

Describe a typical day on the job:
Send out 2 or more social media posts a day (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn) featuring videos, quotes, facts, pictures, and articles. I have also written press releases published through PRWeb, and have constructed seating guides for all 30 MLB teams. Most of my work is digital—I'm working to drive as much traffic as possible to Ticket Monster sites.

What's the coolest part of working there?
The corporate culture is awesome. Everyone is young and energetic, and my supervisor is very flexible with my work. Working with a startup has allowed me to play a much larger role in an organization than I would at an established company. I've gotten to see my writing published and have had a direct impact on the success of the social media sites.

Most rewarding assignment so far?
My press release about the NHL. Previously, I had not known much about hockey or the league, but writing the article forced me to do extensive research on the topic—and my new knowledge of the league has translated into a lot of my course work and has actually pushed me to consider working with college or professional hockey in the future.

Most valuable lesson learned?
It's hard to stay disciplined with social media and marketing because nothing really happens if you don't advertise the company. But that's exactly it—you have to work to publish and post things multiple times a day or people won't notice you. The more you get your name out there, the better. Even if it seems frivolous, all the effort pays off in the end.

Most embarrassing moment on the job?
I posted about Chris Brown once and I received a lot of negative comments on the post because of his controversy with Rihanna. This was right when I started and I was so embarrassed, but my supervisor was really cool about it.

Favorite internship perk?
I can work from home if I need to. Everything I do is digital, and therefore my supervisor trusts me enough to get my work done from the comfort of my bed if I'm not feeling well or if my schedule is tight for that particular day. I also get really great deals on tickets.

Any advice for other students seeking internships?
Definitely look to intern with a startup at least once. I've interned with much bigger corporations (City Parks Foundation, MetLife, etc.), and I've definitely learned the most from Ticket Monster because they give me so much more responsibility. Especially for people who are considering starting their own firm in the future, learning the standard operating procedures and necessary steps a new company must take is key.  


 

CHILDREN'S THEATER, GROWN-UP RESPONSIBILITIES

Stephen Morrash

Name: Stephen Morrash
Major: Math education (with an educational theatre minor)
Dream job: Not sure—and I think that's a good thing.
Current gig: Development apprentice at the New Victory Theater 

What is the New Victory Theater?
It’s a midtown children's theater that is a part of a larger non-profit: New 42nd Street. The New Vic presents seasons full of artistically rich and thought-provoking professional productions surrounded by enriching education programs and activities.

What's the coolest part of working there?
The staff is so incredibly supportive, both in my department and in the organization as a whole. You are treated like a true co-worker and trusted with a lot of responsibility. So while it's scary sometimes, it's comforting knowing that I can turn to anyone in the office for help or support. They also understand that I am a student and have another part-time job. My bosses even came to see the show I directed on campus! It's this kind of encouragement that makes me love coming to work.

Most rewarding assignment so far?
I assembled and sent out welcome packages for all of our donors. We got some hand-drawn thank-you letters back from some of the kids, which were really special. It's nice to take part in making these personal connections.

Most valuable lesson learned?
Ask questions. It's better to ask if you're unsure about something than to complete a task incorrectly.

Any celebrity sightings?
My lips are sealed!

Favorite internship perk?
I get to see all the shows at the New Vic! There’s something new rolling in every couple of weeks.

Any advice for other students seeking internships?
Be persistent. If there's a job you want, don't stop until you get it. And don't settle. You deserve to work somewhere where you're appreciated and where you'll thrive.
 


 

BRINGING CHANGE TO THE DEVELOPING WORLD, ONE PENCIL AT A TIME

child with pencil

Name: Jess Littman
Major: International Development and Peace
Dream job: Country Director for an NGO
Current gig: Digital Media Intern for Pencils of Promise

What is Pencils of Promise?
It’s an NGO that provides educational infrastructure and programming where it is needed most. We build schools where students are learning in unsafe and informal structures; provide training for the teachers in our schools; implement water, sanitation, and hygiene lessons for our students; and offer scholarships to help students move on to secondary school.

Describe a typical day on the job:
Most of my work involves social media, so I spend most of the day writing posts for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that highlight the successes of our programming. I also spend a lot of time responding to messages that our supporters send us on social media, because it's really important for our supporters to know that we value them.

What's the coolest part of working there?
For social media, I spend a lot of time combing through our photos from the field. It's really inspiring to look at all the images of children at PoP schools—especially seeing the pictures of schools the way they were before PoP started working in that community, and then seeing the improvements we've been able to make.

Most rewarding assignment so far?
Last fall, we hosted our annual gala, which is our biggest fundraising event of the year. Our guests donated a lot of money at that event, and it was really inspiring to see how people who aren't part of the everyday life of the organization still appreciate our impact and want to help make a difference.

Most valuable lesson learned?
It doesn't matter where you started in life, but where you end up. Our founder, Adam Braun, started with a career in finance, but now he's making really meaningful change for children and communities in the developing world. Most of our students start in schools that are unsafe and inadequate, but many of them are now moving on to secondary school against the odds. I started in the suburbs, but now my life and work are connected to people around the world.

Any celebrity sightings?
Senator Cory Booker from New Jersey and actress Sophia Bush were both at our gala last year, so I saw both of them and spoke to the senator. Katie Chang, the star of The Bling Ring, came into our office last month to shoot a public service announcement for us, so I got to meet her too.

Favorite internship perk?
PoP's founder meets with a lot of interesting people, and they often give a talk to the staff before or after their meetings with him. One time Brandon Stanton, the creator of Humans of New York, came in to meet with Adam, so we all got to meet and speak with him.

Any advice for other students seeking internships?
Ask your employer for more responsibilities and opportunities. This isn't the case at PoP, but at past internships I've often felt that interns are asked to do the boring but necessary tasks that no one else wants. Paying your dues is important, but it's also important to have a valuable and meaningful experience (especially if you're not getting paid). Your boss will respect your commitment and ambition, and you might get to work on more interesting projects. 

 



ON A PERPETUAL SUGAR HIGH WITH JIMMY FALLON

Charlie Redd

Name: Charlie Redd
Major: Undergraduate Film/Television
Dream Job: Film/TV Writer
Previous internship gig: General Production Intern, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Typical day on the job:
I would get to 30 Rock by 9:30 am and go straight to the NBC commissary for breakfast. By the time I was in the office at 10, the writers were already in the middle of their morning pitch meeting. During the day, I was assigned to help out with either ticketing, studio rehearsals, or recording the show. And there were always production errands for the interns to run. I did everything from dropping off a pair of tap shoes at Tony Danza's apartment to buying $700 worth of glockenspiels.

What was the coolest part of working there?
Getting to watch Jimmy and the writers come up with funny ideas every day. It's therapeutic to spend your day with people who laugh a lot. Jimmy and the writers would meet every afternoon in the conference room to read through the jokes for that night's monologue. I would sit outside the conference room and listen to the explosive bursts of laughter coming from inside. I like working in a place where a "meeting" means thirty minutes of hysterical laughing. That's got to be healthy.

Most rewarding assignment?
The graphics department used me for a video in which they needed to composite a moving tongue onto an image of Joe Biden's mouth (in the image, Biden was supposed to be dressed up like Miley Cyrus). This was how my tongue made its debut on national television.

Most embarrassing moment on the job?
I was asked to stand in during the rehearsal of a segment called "Duck Dynasty Karaoke" in which I they had me sing bits of dialogue from the show Duck Dynasty while The Roots played behind me. With Jimmy and The Roots watching, I had to create my own melody with lyrics like, "Ducks are like woman; they don't like to get mud on their butts." As you can tell, I was doing some deadly serious work.

Any celebrity sightings?
The highlights were getting to help out on a field shoot with Robert De Niro, chatting with Amy Sedaris, locking eyes with Scarlett Johansson, and dodging a karate kick from Sarah Silverman.

Favorite internship perk?
There was a continuous supply of sugar. Gifts addressed to Jimmy were delivered to the office almost every day and most of them were sweets. A joke about Cake Boss aired on the show one night and five cakes arrived in the office the next day. After Jimmy tweeted about his favorite brand of ice cream sandwich, they shipped us what looked like a month's supply. So we all existed on a perpetual sugar high.

Any advice for other students seeking internships?
Don't be afraid to reach out to someone who could help you make a connection. I initially got in touch with a producer at Late Night with Jimmy Fallon through a friend who had interned on the show a couple years ago. It is important to create a network of contacts and stay in touch. I keep a list of industry contacts who are doing the type of work I'd love to do and make a point of writing to them every few months.

And use the resources that we have here at NYU. If you are a Tisch student, register on College Central to access the online job and internship board. Visit the Tisch Office of Career Development where you have access to online databases of contact information for industry professionals. Set up an appointment with one of the fantastic career counselors—they're there for you!
 


 

NO DOWNTIME AT THE GARDEN

Katie Blinn

Name: Katie Blinn
Major: Sports Management
Dream job: Working in events for an arena, stadium, or professional team
Current gig: Event Production Student Associate at Madison Square Garden

Describe a typical day on the job:
Depending on the day and the events planned, I can be doing anything from running around the arena checking on set-ups, meeting with clients to plan the production of upcoming events, or monitoring the flow of current events and assisting with any needs.

What's the coolest part of working there?
There is never a quiet moment. We always have so many events going on at the same time that there is something for everyone. I enjoy going up to the arena floor and seeing the Knicks play, then making my way down to the theater to see a small concert.

Most rewarding assignment so far?
I've had the opportunity to plan a few small events, like a network event for the Big East during the basketball tournament and some inter-company meetings and series that executives attend. Seeing all of the hard work and preparation turn into a successful event is very exciting.

Most valuable lesson learned?
Make good and personal connections with the people you work with. Always be professional, but if you want to be remembered you must make some sort of impact.

Any celebrity sightings?
Many professional athletes, plus Miley Cyrus, Ed Sheeran, Selena Gomez, Sofia Vergara, Heidi Klum, Robin Thicke, Ryan Seacrest, Billy Joel, Kanye West, Lindsay Lohan...the list goes on!

Most embarrassing moment on the job?
Running into celebrities, musicians, and athletes and not knowing who they are!

Favorite internship perk?
I love being able to work cool concerts, VIP parties, Knicks, and Rangers games whenever I'd like. Also, when free tickets come up I can take my friends!

Any advice for other students seeking internships?
Be persistent. If you show an employer that you are dedicated and passionate, they’ll not only trust in your ability to produce good work but also know that you truly care.
 


 

ALWAYS CHASING A STORY

Lauren Morton

Name: Lauren Morton
Major: Global Journalism (with a concentration in Africana Studies)
Dream job: field producer or content producer for a major news network.
Current gig: CNN New York News Bureau Intern

Describe a typical day on the job:
It's different every single day, whether it's researching and contacting potential sources for a story for CNN.com, writing a story, logging an interview for a producer in the bureau, going out on shoots with photojournalists for longform stories, or microphoning a guest for an on-air broadcast.

What's the coolest part of working there?
Simply being in the atmosphere of a newsroom was exciting to me. Watching breaking news unfold and becoming a part of history as it's being reported is something that I will always remember.

Most rewarding assignment so far?
Just last week, I pitched a story to the assignment manager about a Long Island high school student who had been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools. The next day, I got to the write the story with a fellow news assistant and it got published that night! Seeing something come to fruition is an extremely rewarding feeling.

Most valuable lesson learned?
Don't be afraid to be assertive. At this age and in this industry, aggression isn't necessarily a turnoff. Whether it's chasing a story, tracking down a source, or rushing a guest into a study because they have to make their hit time, you can't be passive.

Most embarrassing moment on the job?
It's always difficult when you're interacting with a guest who has a unisex name and you get their gender wrong (before you actually meet them)!

Any celebrity sightings?
At a major cable news network in New York City, I constantly see, greet, or assist on-air talent, reporters, contributors, celebrities, authors, and high-profile guests.

Favorite internship perk?
Working in office directly across the street from Central Park—always pretty scenic, especially in the winter.

Any advice for other students seeking internships?
Be yourself. Your background and perspective on life is what makes you unique and it'll ultimately be how your colleagues remember you. Don't forget to work hard! A ceaseless work ethic is very valuable in a newsroom.

 


 

ON BROADWAY

Brian Hajjar at the Lryic Theatre

Name: Brian Hajjar
Major: Vocal Performance at Steinhardt
Dream job: working in a theatre operations company—like the Shubert Organization, Nederlander Organization, or the Jujamcyn Theatres
Current gig: Theatre Management Intern at the Lyric Theatre
 

What’s playing at the Lyric Theatre now?
Currently our theatre is dark. Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark played its final performance here on January 4, 2014. We are in the midst of renovations and are excited to announce that On the Town will start previews in the beginning of September 2014.

Describe a typical day on the job:
My job varies every day. I have typical intern responsibilities such as filing and copying, but I also get to participate in long-term projects, like a bar renovation we’re planning, that require research and investigation.

What's the coolest part of working there?
The theatre as a physical space—I love the architecture and its fascinating history. Originally there were two theatres here, and during the revitalization of Times Square, they were combined to make Broadway's largest theatre.

Most valuable lesson learned?
I’ve learned how to multitask well. Even though there isn't a show in the theatre, it still is an extremely fast-paced environment with many things at stake.

Most embarrassing moment on the job?
They waxed the floors and I didn't see the sign...

Any celebrity sightings?
None yet, but we do get fan letters still for Megan Mullally (of Will and Grace fame) from when she was in Young Frankenstein here (in 2007).

Any advice for other students seeking internships?
Apply to an internship that you actually want to do. If you’re spending your entire summer or part of a school day in an office you don't like, then why are you doing it? Sometimes, resume building isn't the answer.
 


 

SUPER BUSY FOR THE SUPER BOWL

student Meg Patten in Times Square

Name: Meg Patten
Major: Sports Management
Dream job: Sports Broadcaster
Current gig: Corporate Communications and PR Intern at FOX Sports

Describe a typical day on the job:
Every day is different, which is why I love my internship! One morning I could be writing and editing a press release; that afternoon I might be on a regional press call. I have done everything from tweeting from our @FOXSportsPR account to doing research on reporters to programming schedules to even pitching stories to other news outlets. It's really exciting!

What's the coolest part of working there?
I love the fast-paced environment and the unmatched passion everybody has for sports. Our department is only seven people, so I've had a hands-on experience and have been given a lot of freedom and responsibility.

Most rewarding assignment so far?
The most rewarding assignment would have to be all the prep work that went into the Super Bowl. I was able to see how the little tasks I did impacted the publicity surrounding the events that week!

Most valuable lesson learned?
Have a pen and paper on you at all times— you never know when you're going to need to jot something down for later or get a quote from someone! The best ideas come at the least expected times.

Most embarrassing moment on the job?
I am often in a huge rush from soccer practice to the office, so I've showed up with my shirt inside out on multiple occasions.

Any celebrity sightings?
During Super Bowl week, I saw a lot of on-air talent and professional football players: Erin Andrews, Curt Menefee, Howie Long, Michael Strahan ... the list goes on!

Favorite internship perk?
The opportunity to go on-set and behind the scenes of the on-air broadcasts, especially during Super Bowl week.

Any advice for other students seeking internships?
Don't be afraid to introduce yourself to people in the industry you aspire to work in. I've had the greatest success through striking up conversations and asking professionals about their career journey.