From internship to full-time offer

by Mary Catalfamo

April 18, 2018

How four Newhouse in New York alumnae made it happen

It’s the question lingering in the back of every intern’s mind: Can I see myself working for this company? For those who can answer with a resounding, “Yes!” the next thing to consider is how to make that happen. Several Newhouse in New York students have accomplished this during their semesters in New York City. Here are their stories and some best practices they suggest for turning your internship into a job offer.

Rona Shang '17
Rona Shang '17

Rona Shang '17, advertising
Analyst, CPG Effectiveness Team at Nielsen

Rona Shang spent her spring 2017 Newhouse in New York semester interning at Nielsen, and as proof of her hard work, she was asked to stay on through the summer. So she was thrilled when, during the summer, her supervisor pulled her aside one day and asked her if she had started looking for jobs yet.

“Every single person on my team was incredibly transparent with me throughout this entire process and how likely it was going to settle before the end of summer or afterwards,” said Shang, who accepted their full-time offer shortly thereafter.

During her initial internship, Shang sometimes stayed until 9 p.m. to help her team manage the analytics for the advertisements that ran during the Super Bowl in 2017. She would advise current interns to never turn down tasks and to show a genuine, constant interest in the work of the company.

“Ask so many questions. Just be insanely curious about what you’re doing,” Shang said. “Not only do you learn so much from that, but it shows that you care and it shows dedication. And it really doesn’t go unnoticed.”

As Shang also pointed out, companies often hire interns as full-time employees because it is practical not to train someone brand new in the position. For instance, as an intern she was already producing a full analytical report each week and learning various tasks that their employees do.

Tessa Latrenta '17
Tessa Latrenta '17

Tessa Latrenta '17, advertising

Associate sales planner, Sports & Olympics at NBCUniversal

As a sports fanatic, Tessa Latrenta interned at NBCUniversal’s Sports & Olympics department during her fall 2017 Newhouse in New York semester. In November, the company offered her an amazing opportunity: the chance to stay on as an associate sales planner after she graduated in December and help with the Super Bowl LII, the PyeongChang Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. Her current position with the group is a temporary one, she said, but she is confident a more permanent opportunity will materialize soon.

At first she wasn’t sure how to stand out as an intern in a large corporate setting, but eventually she found her way.

“Making yourself invaluable can just mean putting in the time and effort,” Latrenta said. “When somebody teaches you how to do something, make sure you know exactly how to do it, so next time you can just own it—maybe so your supervisor doesn’t have to do it anymore eventually.”

Hard work and going the extra mile were a couple other ways Latrenta learned to establish herself during her internship, leading to the incredible opportunities with NBCUniversal she has now.

“It’s more just showing your attitude and how much you really care and want to help,” she said. “I think that made a difference at internships I’ve had.”

Lindsay DeStefano '17
Lindsay DeStefano '17

Lindsay DeStefano '17, public relations

Account coordinator at Relevent

Lindsay DeStefano interned for the experiential agency Relevent during her fall 2016 Newhouse in New York semester. One of the first clients she worked with was the tween clothing brand Justice, formerly known as Limited Too. She ran an online social media campaign and even hand-picked the client’s young brand ambassadors.

Relevent kept her on retainer, which allowed DeStefano to work into the spring semester of her senior year. Her internship and subsequent job with the company also took her temporarily to Miami and Chicago to work on projects.

During her internship, DeStefano prioritized displaying a hard work ethic and always making herself available for extra work.

“You want your supervisor to have the feeling that you’re not just there because you have to have an internship,” she said. “Even if they asked me to do a simple contact sheet, I put everything I could into that contact sheet.”

She advises trying to do the smallest of things perfectly, like taking a coffee order, because those tasks are often used to gauge if interns can be trusted with larger responsibilities. This thoughtful mindset is what DeStefano says she looks for now that she is involved in her company’s hiring process.

As a student in the Newhouse in New York program, she said she learned to “take advantage of every single contact you have,” even if it’s to offer to babysit for a guest speaker. “Make sure you come out of the semester having at least two contacts.”

Kiara Bunting '17
Kiara Bunting '17

Kiara Bunting '17, advertising

Assistant account executive at Situation Interactive

After graduating in December 2017, Kiara Bunting now works at Situation Interactive, the same advertising agency she interned at during her fall 2017 Newhouse in New York semester. She got her job after deciding to inquire about the position that would soon be vacant by her supervisor.

“I think my biggest concern was coming off presumptuous, like, ‘Well, I’ve been here, so it’s mine.’ Because it’s not,” she said. Already knowing many of the professionals involved in the hiring process was also helpful to her when she was interviewing, she said.

The former advertising major suggests that interns always offer up their time and services to their supervisors on a slow day. One of her biggest pieces of advice is to treat the internship period as a trial run for the job.

“Always show up fifteen minutes to half an hour early, because then if you’re running late you’re not actually late,” she also advised.

While students are part of the Newhouse in New York program, Bunting recommends taking advantage of being a part-time intern before becoming much busier in an employee role. “Take as much time as you can to be a student and relax,” she said. “Outside of your internship, take time to just enjoy where you are in life and where you’re going.”

Mary Catalfamo is a junior newspaper and online journalism major and a current Newhouse in New York student interning at The Week.