As we entered the Madison Avenue offices of Havas Life Metro, a large TV screen near the front desk projected the banner “Welcome Princeterns!” That was the first indication of the warm reception we would receive over the course of our visit there. Despite the large size of the company, the attention we received throughout our Princeternships was highly personalized.
Our visit was extremely well organized by alumna and VP Associate Creative Director Jess Wey ‘07 and VP of Human Resources Lorraine Forster. At the beginning of each day, we were given printed schedules outlining the day’s meetings. To give us an idea of the wide range of fields incorporated within medical communications, the company arranged for us to meet with members of all the various departments. Each employee we met with had prepared a short presentation describing his or her position, daily responsibilities, and professional history. We heard about the varying journeys that led employees to their current positions. Many also showed us some of their past work, bringing to life the diverse type of projects Havas Life Metro produces.
Jess shared her portfolio with us, as did one of the copywriters on her team. The art director with whom we spoke showed us sketches from a pro bono campaign for a veterans fundraising event on which the company had worked this past summer. We saw the team’s earliest ideas, how they evolved and were refined, and ultimately, the brochure in which the ad was printed. We spoke with an account planner who demonstrated some of the workshop activities she completes with clients to help them identify the personalities of different brands. The account supervisor with whom we talked invited us to a kickoff meeting with her team. At the end of our first day, we attended one of the company’s monthly “birthday and new hire” parties at which cake was served and a raffle was held while employees socialized.
From account services to the medical and creative departments, I have a much better sense of what is involved in health-related marketing communications and the wide range of skills that successful companies in this industry must draw upon. In addition, I have a much clearer understanding of all that a marketing campaign launch entails. This is certainly a career path that anyone interested in communications should consider. Seeing the employees’ enthusiasm for the work that they do and learning about the substantial employee benefits (including tuition reimbursement for continuing education), the community spirit fostered among employees through birthday and new-hire parties, and the pro bono campaigns the company conducts to advance such causes as veterans’ health care, Havas Life Metro certainly seems like a very welcoming place to work.
I would recommend the Princeternship program to other Princeton students because it offers an opportunity to develop deep personal insight into potential career paths with which students may be unfamiliar. I would recommend a Princeternship at Havas Life Metro because the company goes out of its way to make the Princeterns’ experience the best it can be and to provide them with a wealth of information about the health-related marketing communications industry and their particular company.