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What exactly does a marketing intern do?

Completing my English and American Literature degree at the University of East Anglia left me at a crossroads.

I knew the transition from student life to full time work would be difficult. I managed to get some short-term work experience after I graduated, and while I was there someone suggested I should look at the UEA internships programme (now the placements and internships programme) at Career Central.

So, after these jobs had ended and my graduation was looming ever closer I logged onto MyCareerCentral and searched for marketing related jobs in Norwich. I applied for an internship at UEA’s own Career Central to be a Marketing and Market research intern with the Placements and Internships team there. I didn’t feel that the interview went well. I was nervous and stuttered my way through what I felt were nonsensical answers. Imagine my surprise when they called me a few hours later to say I had actually got the job.

The first day

When I turned up on my first day I wasn't sure what to expect. Everyone in the office was very friendly and my team leader Evan, explained that I would be doing market research into UEAs courses and its competitor universities and documenting the data. I would then be developing a new webpage for UEA to promote placements to employers. It all sounded very exciting but daunting too since I had no real experience in the field.  

Over the next few weeks I threw myself into learning about marketing and market research. After a while in my internship I grew comfortable in the office environment and with managing my own work. It was so much fun learning new skills such as project management, communication within my team and building working relationships.

Developing new skills

I carried out my own market research that involved looking into other universities’ placement provision, doing data entry on what courses had placements attached and writing a report to summarise the placements market in the UK. I then did the same for UEA to document what we already do in terms of non-professional placements and wrote a report for my manager on what the placements market looked like.

I explained my findings to the rest of the team at a meeting and after that I was tasked with helping to create team building resources for new recruits. This involved formalising the aims and goals of the placements and internships team and figuring out ways in which we could work that would make the team more efficient - we ended up using slack and Trello, online resources to aim communication in remote teams.

The rest of my internship was taken up helping to produce a flyer for the Recruitment and Outreach fair, writing copy for a new business facing placements and internships website to be added to the UEA website, working with the Careers Marketing team on getting the website up and creating resources for employers to help them understand placements at UEA. Working in an office and exploring the world of work showed me that I did actually have useful skills that I could develop as I started my career in marketing.

What I learnt

Advice I would give to literature graduates would be to start looking for a job or getting part time work early. It gives you confidence you’ll need after you graduate and it also helps you to get a graduate job faster as you have more experience of work.

Planning a career is hard so, if you see something that interests you on your job search, don't be afraid to try it out and learn as much as you can from it - that could be the thing you do for the rest of your life. Even if you don't like it you can always try something else, that's why the flexibility and short term work an internship gives you is so great.

Finally, I would recommend keeping a journal of things you have learned and skills you can put on your CV. Once you have learnt new skills it’s easy to forget the effort it took to gain them and devalues the process. When I documented my own skills it really helped me to remember what I had learned and be proud of my achievements.


Alis Avis recently graduated in English and American Literature from the University of East Anglia. After doing internships in marketing and copywriting, she now continues to work at the University of East Anglia and hopes to move into a career in marketing in the near future.