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Opinion: Students Should Complete Multiple Internships

Updated: Apr 27, 2022

By Dalila Bevab

Throughout my four years at Bellarmine, I’ve been fortunate enough to have participated in multiple internships that have each benefitted me as I graduate and embark on my full-time career post-graduation. Although most of my internships were unpaid, I am grateful to have had these experiences.

Going into college, I knew I wanted to work within the entertainment industry in some capacity, whether it was in journalism, at a record label or at a live music venue. It was overwhelming to think about the different paths I could take in my career, and I knew I needed to find a way to focus on what exactly I wanted to do within the multifaceted industry.

I majored in communications and minored in political science and marketing communication to develop a well-rounded understanding of communications, media relations and marketing.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the entertainment industry in March 2020, I planned what internships and companies I was going to apply to the following summer and fall.

I researched the application process, short-term student housing options in Los Angeles and New York City and networked with interns who were already working at these companies to prepare myself for the process.

Unfortunately, many companies suspended their in-person internships and transitioned to a virtual platform. As great as it was to know I could intern at these incredible companies without leaving the comfort of my home in Louisville, other students across the country had the same mindset. Remote internships attracted thousands of applicants, and I ultimately knew it was going to be difficult to secure a top internship.

However, I did not let the increased competitive aspect of pursuing an internship in the entertainment industry stop me from seeking out opportunities. I spent hours scrolling through Indeed, LinkedIn and an entertainment careers-focused job board titled “” to find remote internships. I blindly submitted my bareboned resume and cover letter detailing my eagerness to dozens of companies.

In June 2020, I accepted an unpaid editorial internship with a digital entertainment platform, Young Hollywood. I wrote and edited stories about hot topics in music, television, film, social media and fashion for Young Hollywood’s blog, “The Scene.” As much as I loved writing about celebrities and entertainment, I realized I wanted to be more involved with talent.

In August 2020, I applied to intern for CK Talent Management, a talent agency focused on developing and representing actors, influencers and models. I enjoyed brainstorming creative ways to develop and brand talent, but my passion was in music, not film and television.

As a big Jack Harlow fan, I noticed several of his music videos in late 2020 were produced by a Los Angeles-based production company called Riveting Entertainment. I wasn’t having much luck from applying to virtual internships for my dream companies, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to reach out to Riveting Entertainment on Instagram to see if there were any remote opportunities.

I messaged Riveting Entertainment’s independent music label, RIV Music, on Instagram and asked if they offered students internships. They said yes, and a few weeks later, I was RIV Music’s first virtual intern. I registered for internship credit.

I loved everything about working at an independent music label, from the creative environment to the company culture. My supervisors cared about my professional growth and allowed me to focus on my passions during my internship. I developed a social media release campaign for one of RIV Music’s artists, and I realized I wanted to focus on artist management and marketing in my career.

But for a few months in late 2020, I doubted my ambitions to work in the music industry. My imposter syndrome made me think I was not worthy and hardworking enough to work full-time in this industry for the next 40+ years.

While interning with RIV Music, I also worked part-time as a paid communications assistant with Louisville Metro Government’s Office of Resilience and Community Services to explore other industries. As much I liked building marketing materials for a local government organization, I was not passionate about it and knew I needed to keep hustling to pursue what I love – artist management.

After reading interviews featuring powerful artist managers like Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, I learned that I needed to be well-rounded in all aspects of the music industry if I wanted to help propel an artist’s career into superstardom.

I interned at a Miami-based public relations and talent agency, MN2S, as an unpaid public relations intern. I left that internship with a solid understanding of what publicists do, from developing a publicity campaign and building relationships with media contacts, to executing the campaigns and presenting the successes and failures to artists and their teams.

I also continued to strengthen my knowledge of label operations with Sumerian Records and gained an insight into how labels secure brand deals and sponsorships for their artists.

At the 57th ACM Awards, I worked the red carpet and witnessed the behind-the-scenes action of the show.

The turning point in my music industry journey was when I accepted my first paid internship position as a marketing intern for the Academy of Country Music (ACM) in November 2021.

I applied to intern with the ACM in 2020, but I didn’t have enough experience to be successful in the program. I came back and applied with a stronger resume with more relevant experiences.

As a marketing intern, I assisted with the development of the 57th ACM Awards in Las Vegas and gained valuable marketing, publicity and artist relations skills. I escorted A-list country artists on the red carpet and connected with publicists and managers.

Although the internship with the ACM was event marketing-focused, it prepared me with the skillsets and network of connections I need to kickstart my career in entertainment marketing, eventually maneuvering into artist management full-time.

Looking back on my multiple internship and part-time experiences, I realize that every experience led to another. I don’t think a single experience was useless or unnecessary. If I didn’t take on several internships focused on specific disciplines within the entertainment industry, I would have entered the workforce lost and overwhelmed.

In every position, I learned a new skillset that proved to be beneficial in my next internship. My internship experiences provided me with lessons I did not find inside the classroom.

Naturally, I made mistakes at my internships, but I also learned how to implement solutions to fix real-world problems.

I learned how to communicate with other professionals, how to build and maintain relationships, how to draft internal and external emails, how to work in a teamwork setting to complete a project in a specific timeframe and how to use online media monitoring programs that my public relations class did not mention.

Of course, I’m not the first BU student to complete multiple internships. Bellarmine alumna Molly Jett said she participated in multiple unpaid and paid internships that helped prepare her as a multiskilled journalist for WMAZ-TV in Macon, Georgia. Jett interned for companies like the YMCA, WHAS-TV, the Kentucky Association of Counties and Bellarmine’s department of marketing and communications.

She said, “Overall, my internships helped me because whether it was writing, learning how to speak in front of an audience of strangers, being able to communicate via text messages, emails, over the phone or in-person, I just felt like my writing and my communication skills grew in every single position.”

Jett said she also learned industry-specific skills, such as learning how to shoot photographs and the rules associated with it.

“With the YMCA, some kids can’t be photographed. Well, it’s the same in real life of news, you can’t photograph two things everywhere,” she said. “Everything kind of correlated and all of those skills translated over to my real job.”

She said Bellarmine pushed her to pursue her internships, but she said she knew she wasn’t going to be able to grow like that after being a student. “Using that student card really helps you and people will let you in,” she said.

Jett said she attended a Bellarmine job fair during her first year where she learned about the YMCA internship. “After being with the Y, I was like, ‘I need another internship because I don’t like public affairs. I need to do something else.' It all kind of came together and I kept doing it until I got to WHAS and then I loved that, and then it fell into place.”

Jett returned to WHAS after interning as a part-time associate producer and assignment editor before landing her full-time position with WMAZ.

I recognize that not all students are able to accept unpaid internships or student positions that pay less than a regular part-time or full-time job. I worked part-time at Dillard’s on the weekends and received financial assistance from my parents while working unpaid internships for 20 to 30 hours a week.

Certain majors, including communication and business administration, require students to complete three credit hours for 90 hours of internship participation. The same majors also offer the opportunity to earn an additional three credit hours for 90 hours of internship participation, which can substitute for an elective.

Jackie McNatt, the assistant director for the Career Development Center, said, “Our team believes that everybody should at least have one (internship), and we’re not necessarily saying everyone should do multiple, but we encourage that, certainly.”

McNatt also said experiential learning for some students looks like clinicals, student teaching or research that is built-in for their major. She said, “We know that for some majors it feels like they don’t have the space for it, but that’s our wish and hope that every student gets to do at least one, and we’re happy to help them get to that point.”

I participated in unpaid summer internships in 2020 and 2021 and worked upward of 30 hours per week because I had more time in my schedule to do so. McNatt said summer is a great time for students to participate in internships if they don’t have the time in the fall and spring semesters.

Bellarmine offers a summer internship scholarship obtained by completing BU-299, a one-credit, seven-week class intended to prepare students for a successful internship search and experience. McNatt said taking a summer internship course for credit might feel like a financial barrier, so the summer scholarship encourages students to pursue a summer internship for credit.

I registered for only one internship for credit due to enrolling in 18 hours most semesters. But McNatt said not all internships have to be for credit.

“Sometimes, a part-time job is really an internship experience if it’s in your field. They don’t always have to be for credit, but we do encourage everybody to get out there and get that first-hand experience,” McNatt said.

I feel confident in my ability to translate my skillsets and knowledge gained from my internship experiences into my first entry-level job search. Most communication and marketing-related job postings require a strong understanding of social media platforms and Microsoft Office, as well as soft skills such as organization, teamwork, interpersonal communication and problem-solving – skills I’ve acquired through my experiential learning journey.

McNatt said the Career Development Center has seen a high correlation for students who completed at least one internship and how soon they secure a full-time job in their field of interest. She also said experiences and skills accumulated as a student are just as important as a degree for employers.

“When you’re seeing these entry-level jobs that say ‘one-to-two years’ experience preferred, you’re thinking, ‘How am I supposed to get that?’ Well, that’s through those internships and getting the experience while you’re a student,” McNatt said. “It’s not just about your major anymore, you know?”


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