Intern Interrogation ‑ 12 Questions w/ Our CEO

Ever wonder what our internship program is like at Rocket HQ? As we concluded our 2021 summer Internship program, we thought it would be fun to have a conversation with our two interns to learn about their experience and give some pointers to anyone looking to take on our intern program in the future.

Our CEO, Ben Kalkman, sat down with Kayla & Lauren for a fun blogcast conversation.

Summer 2021 Interns: Kayla Reiser & Lauren Young, along with CEO, Ben Kalkman

Blogcast Transcript

You're listening to a rocket Media broadcast prepare to launch as we share another great episode.

Okay, everybody, thank you for joining us. This is a quick little podcast recording with our interns today. They just completed their eight-week sprint with us and we're calling this the Intern Interrogation - 12 questions with our CEO, me, Ben.

I'm excited to have Lauren and Kayla with me today. They both have been with us like I said for eight weeks and we are ready to talk about your adventures here. So the first thing, I've got about 12 questions as it says, that we're going to go through.

I'm gonna start with you, Kayla, tell me your name, where you go to school, and what area of study you're in right now. Well, my name's Kayla Riser. I live in Gilbert. Arizona currently. Um, I am a student at the University of Arizona and my current major is Business Management and Marketing. There you go. All right, how about you, Lauren? Well, hey, y'all. My name is Lauren. I am a student at the University of South Carolina Darla Moore School of Business. I am currently a marketing and operation supply chain major and I am from Phoenix, Arizona.

All right. To Arizona girls hanging out with me today. So listen, we are so excited that you guys worked with us this last week. We got lots of questions for you as you know, we're gonna play this so that others that are interested in joining our intern program can learn from your experiences and have an idea what this is all about. So how did you learn about the Rocket Media intern program to begin with? You think back when you were replying or looking at how did you, how did you hear about it?

Where'd you learn about Caylee Michael first? Yeah. So at the beginning of summer I was just doing some research for different internship programs in my area. And um I actually found this on Indeed I believe. And um yeah, just kind of went from their job listings. How about you? So I don't know if you know this bed. Um I reached out to you in 2020 I see you my portfolio. I don't know if you knew that. Um I see you my marketing portfolio actually know somebody who works here and she's like, oh you should send in your portfolio.

I see you my design portfolio. Never heard anything back. Um but I, she then fall like sent me this job posting this past summer and I applied for it kind of honestly, like, I was like, I'm gonna apply for it, honestly forgot I applied for it. And then I got the email, I was like, oh my God I got an interview, this was the first interview like I'd ever got. And I applied for millions and millions of of internships and you guys are the first person who ever took a chance on me.

I'm very very grateful for you guys for that. Awesome. Well we're glad you didn't sorry we didn't hear about you the first time now that you've been here, you can probably understand the chaos or how it could have slipped through the cracks. So I apologize for that but certainly determination. Um Okay so when you replied talk to me about the application process, what was that like for you laura? Maybe you go first on this one. When you think about the application process you said you heard about and you applied, you kind of forgot about it then you heard you got an interview.

What was that process like? I'm curious. Yeah, so I have been really lucky. I had had a lot of support in school working on my resume. Um, I don't know if other interns like possible interns know this but your school has a really really great um career development center especially probably in the business school and they're more than willing to help you guys with your resume. Um And I've had a lot of experience with that and so um I just had my resume dying. I had I think I had a cover letter submitted.

Um, Just kind of quick wrote a quick one talking about who I was, why I loved marketing, why I wanted this position submitted it. Um And I got it I got an email from the office manager here Nicole, she was like hey I'd love to meet with you one on one. Just a basic interview. Um and that was really, really cool to just kind of sit down and have a quick 15, 20-minute conversation. It's like I get to know you and it was like, okay, this is exactly what the company is, like, this is the atmosphere.

It was really cool to get to know that before I even got into the actual interview with U R S E O Manager Donna and our PPC Manager Kyle. And that was really cool because you guys got to ask me questions about my experience, like exactly what I was interested in you. I kind of got to feel out how interested I was in this and I hopefully, I guess I came across really interesting because I got the position. Um but I really, really loved the interview process because I felt like I was professional.

There's also really show who I was and be myself. Yeah, I appreciate that experience were very intentional about how we create these processes. So it's good to hear your experience. How about you, Kayla? Yeah. My experience is awesome. So a little bit like what Lauren said, I had a lot of help with my resume um at U. Of A. And so when I initially applied, I got that email from the office manager, Nicole and I was so so excited about the interview and she interviewed me, got to know a little bit about me and my past experiences in college and in high school and really got to know why I was interested in marketing.

Um And then moving forward to the second round of interviews. I actually it's funny because I was on vacation um I was in Hawaii and Nicole originally asked me to do the interview at 7 30 in the morning and I was like, oh no, that's 4 30 in the morning for me, but I can do it. And she goes, oh no, we'll we'll make it 7 30 Hawaii time. And I was like, okay, perfect. And yeah, it went really well. And um, yeah, I guess. Yeah, there you are. I do remember that interview.

We're all super jelly because we're sitting on the balcony of the resort you were at. Remember you said you want to see and you turn your screen and show me all the pools and I was like, thanks. No, it was really cool. So awesome. Okay, next question then. So, um, going into the program, you know, you got, you found out you were accepted and you're going into the program with us. What expectations did you have our hopes and perhaps fears that you had when you were kind of going to this program?

You want me to go first on this one already? So expectations hopes fears. I think some of my expectations coming into this um program, I really wanted to develop a professional aspect um with myself. Like I feel like I haven't had experience with yet. Um And then I think some fears, like I know in the interviews you guys talked a lot about like the PPC in the S. E. O. Program and that was something I've never been exposed to before. So that was kind of the fear for me, like oh how well am I going to do in this?

You know? And I am I am I going to even like it um turns out I love it and I'm so grateful for this opportunity and yeah, awesome. How about you learn? Um When I did the interview, Donna kept saying S. Cosco S. C. O. I had no idea what that meant. I thought it was three letters. I got very, very nervous coming into this program. I was like, I have no idea what you're talking about, I don't know any of the jargon. Um And I that was kind of like one of the things coming in, I was like, okay, I have to learn S. C. O. Stands for and I have to learn that PPC stands for if I can learn that I'm golden.

Um And so coming into that program, I was kind of just how I came in and I was able to pick up so much knowledge this program, like not only do I know what they are now, I can probably do them on the most basic level, which is really, really cool because a lot of people my age probably can't do that. Um And I had that experience going into my next summer, going into the working world saying I've had exposure to this. I know what it is, I know how to do it.

Um That's really, really cool. I'm really, really grateful for that and I might add, when you're being marketed to now you'll be like, I know what they're doing. I know why this is following me around the internet. Yes, indeed. Okay, so now think back to your first day, This will be important for anybody looking to the program. Your first day on the intern job. What was that like? Gosh, it was so long ago, exciting, stressful, scary all in one. Yeah, I know. I got here like really, really early because I live a little bit farther away.

So I left my house like an hour and a half before I had to be here. So I was sitting in the parking lot, I was like it is 7 45 I don't have to be here until 8 30. So definitely it was very very nervous but coming into it like that very first stand up, I had no idea what I was coming into and it was really cool because they were like how would you guys this weekend, like talk about what you did just this weekend. And I was like I read that was just kind of how I spent my weekend and it was really cool because like you got that first exposure to the company atmosphere and then going from there, it was like okay this is the way the HR policy work, you do all the normal on boarding, but then you got to take a tour of the facility in space is just amazing totally and I think like I was so stressed out because I didn't know what to expect but getting into the office like everyone was so friendly everyone introducing themselves and um just creating conversation really get to you know experience that that company atmosphere and how close everyone was and my worries and anxiety totally disappeared.

Um It was it was super awesome experience for it was awesome. First day. Great. Alright we're down to question number five. So it's been eight weeks time has just flown by hasn't it? Yeah you guys each had a four week sprint in a department. What was your first sprint? And what did you do? So what was the first department worked with and um how was it when you were going into that? Like what was your feelings? So go ahead and go first. Um So I was first I first worked with the S. C. O. T. I was very grateful.

I first worked with them because like I said I had no idea what the ceo met. Um I did a quick google search before I even got here that day and I was like ok search engine optimization now when I wrote stands for I don't know what it means. Um And so that really first the very first day I first got here we did like a two hour presentation and they were like this is what S. C. O. Is this is what it does. I was like okay now I don't feel like so confused anymore like I kind of have a good idea and I spent that first we just in training is learning all the different software really working with the team and they were really awesome like sitting down and explaining things to me in ways I understood it.

Um, I was lucky. I've had a little bit of coding backgrounds. They were like, okay, I can explain this to you the code way, which is really, really nice to have that technical scr side of it. Um, but in all, honestly, like, I'm so grateful, I got to look at them first because it was like, okay, now I know what I'm capable of. So when I went to BBC, I was like, ok, I know what I can do now. You got your chops to ward off a little bit Okay, good, Lauren, what department are you in?

Kayla? It's okay, it's okay. So the first four weeks I was working with the PPC team and um, the first week it was just a lot of exposure to like what PPC is and I like, like Lauren, I had absolutely no idea. So once Kyle kind of like walked through everything with me and was able to really teach me what PPC is. I, I felt pretty confident in my, in my capabilities and I really think my favorite part of that four weeks was being able to put my knowledge to the test and start working on different projects and different client accounts.

Um That was my favorite part of everything. Okay, good. All right. So you did that for four weeks and then you switched. So each of you guys went to the opposite departments. Um going to the next department. Now it's probably a little bit easier because you had each other to talk to me like what was it like what did you go through? Right. Oh yeah, for sure. But even still when you switch, what was it like when you switch to the next department? Was there any apprehensions?

Was there? Um Just curious what your thoughts were there? I think. Um At first I was a little like oh I'm just getting in the group of PPC. Like I wonder if I'm going to do well in S. C. O. Um Kind of all that. And me and Lauren we're talking about. Oh I wonder which one we're going to like better. Um But do you have an answer for that? Do you know which one you like better? Lauren? I don't know. I think there are aspects to both that I really liked.

Um. Yeah I don't know coming in when you did the switch it was interesting because like she had her experience PPC and I had my experience as a ceo um and part of my S. C. O. Experiences I did give a presentation about like what I learned. So she kind of had like a little bit knowing what she was kind of getting into and just talking with her doing all of our other things together. I kind of understood what she had gone through and it was interesting like measuring up how our experiences were saying but different, like we learned a lot of the same things we all worked on different accounts were two different projects.

So it was cool to compare and contrast our experiences because they really were unique to us. And it was also super cool because after like that first four weeks I was able to give Lawrence some advice on PPC and like help her with her projects as she could. Give me some advice on S. C. O. Stuff and you'll help me through myself. Especially with the S. E. O. Project. Like Lauren was a big help. So thank you Lauren. Yeah, definitely. Having a buddy probably made it a little bit.

For sure. So if you're new looking into this program and you're thinking about these different departments, you'll be working with what not? Tell me your experience with the teams. Did you guys feel like you were just thrown into the fire and you have to figure out yourselves? Did you feel like you had a lot of support? Too much support? I mean, sometimes people can overshadow that kind of thing. Just tell me a little bit about that experience. Like what kind of resources did you have available to you?

I thought it was perfect. Honestly. Um, any other, any question? I had any concern? I had both the PPC team and the S. C. O. Team were there for me. Um, without hesitation, honestly. Um, everyone explained things so well to me and you know, just they were great mentors in the sense of they never got frustrated with me. Even though I felt like there are moments where I was kind of asking a lot of questions. I was like, oh, I really hope I'm not being overbearing. Um They were, they were super awesome and I will say everybody here like it's an honorable job, everybody is really busy, but they're not too busy to make time for you and that was something I really appreciated.

Um I know I said this other times, but like Mike China's is like the goat right now, in my opinion. Um I shared like the desk area with him and he was just really awesome. I was working with PPC team, but I ever had a question. He was just right there. I feel like hey China is going to ask you a quick question. Um And so he was always so willing to help to with me. I'd be like hey hey can you come over and help me?

Yeah totally. Um So china's is amazing. The S. C. O. Team is amazing brian nana Nathan. Um Just working with them even in the rest of the PPC team they were all just so willing to help you the job of a hat. They had a meeting, they might just be like okay give me like five minutes but they were always just so willing and available to help you. Okay good. You know it's interesting to with the world changing a bit as it has with Covid. Um The working settings have adjusted quite a bit too.

So you came into the program where we were mostly remote. We had maybe a few handful, I'd say a third less than third of our team that was in office versus surveillance being remote. Did I impede you in any way? Did you feel like you still had access to folks? Did you feel like that? I mean looking at it now going uh the feeling of rocket, Did you, did you feel anything? I'm curious as we look at the new working world and how people are adjusting things. Yeah.

Um I know. So Nathan on the S. C. O. Team lives in Ohio three hour difference right now. Um He was a little bit harder to get a hold of because there's such a time difference. But I mean I would get up early and just lacking of like, hey I'm up, can you help me with something real quick? Um And it was nice having that little bit of change and being able to work a little bit remote as interns because there were things that came up, we're both home for the summer and when you're home for the summer, you do have to do basic things like doctor's appointments, dentist visits, things like that.

So it's nice to have that freedom to be able to work from home when you had those things come out, things like you just don't see come up very often. Um so that was nice to have that and it was nice to be able to connect with people on zoom. More than likely you probably would have really have been able to connect with them any other way besides zoom. And I think that's the beauty of the program is we had the opportunity to come in and see people in person and you know, get that in office work experience.

But like Lauren said, I had multiple appointments that I needed to go to and I was able to work from home and still feel like I could get all my stuff done while you know, if I had any questions like although all the co workers were able to zoom me immediately and like help me with anything that I needed help with and it was awesome. Glad to hear. Okay, next question is so in addition to the two sprints that you guys had, you were assigned a team, project you worked on together in tandem um that was presented with the first day, I believe.

What was that project experience like walk me through that a bit because I know I helped you a little bit but that a lot of people help you with that I'm sure. But what was that like? Because that was a different thing. You kinda had your own beat, right? Like we gave it to you and said, okay, you're going to project, manage it yourself, you're gonna run it yourself, put the onus on it, you, I feel like this project was unlike anything I've ever done before honestly.

Um I've done projects at school but but I did like, we literally started from scratch, which was super interesting. Um I I really didn't think I would be capable of doing something like that and it turned out um awesome exceeded my expectations for sure. Um And just so everybody knows our project was like a marketing campaign, so we just created a marketing campaign from scratch. I had a little bit of experience with it. I was a deck a student in high school. I've done a couple case cops in college but like I really hadn't done it from scratch really just the two of us and we were brand new.

We really hadn't met each other and just being able to form that connection. I think informed that partnership is really, I think what helped us do really well in the project because we were, we were, we weren't afraid to be honest with each other. We weren't afraid to say, okay, I like that idea, but how can we build it and change it? We weren't afraid to say, okay, maybe we shouldn't do this, but let's try something else. And I think that honesty in that building that relationship is really what helped us do really well in that project because we weren't afraid to be honest with each other.

We weren't afraid to throw out some ideas that we knew were probably pretty bad, but we ended up turning into great ideas. Awesome. Okay, good. All right. So today you kind of concluded your term with us, you had your presentation, talk about that. I know you guys both were here early and you guys did a little warm up beforehand so I know there's a little bit of nerves involved but um and you got to probably feel a little bit relief now that that's accomplished right, so talk about that presentation today, well for me, I have always had a hard time presenting, so I was really proud of myself for you know putting myself out there and Lauren, she's absolutely incredible at presenting, so I was able to like you know get some advice from her and she definitely helped me through the process and gave me a really good pointers and tips on how to become a better presenter, so thanks a lot, thank you for that.

Um No, but I mean I'm definitely glad it's over, I know it was like a really big stress for us, but I mean I love creating slide decks, I think I could do that for a job if I got paid for it, but doing that presentation like it was so cool to have all of our co workers and everybody is we worked with whether they be virtually or in person around us for that period of time and they were like really just supportive and they were amazed by everything we did um and Kayla is selling herself, she's selling herself short, she did amazing.

Um She really did do amazing, I'm really proud of you, I really think that we had just an amazing presentation. Yeah, it was it was a really cool experience to be able to put everything together and just to see all the co workers come together at the end and totally support us and ask us questions about. It was it was awesome. It was great type of experience like presenting in that half virtual, half in person environment. I think it's probably going to be that way for a really long time.

Um And so it's just great experience to have that. Um There were there were a few technical difficulties but everyone was just so understanding and helping us learn even in that way, like you're always learning here. Indeed you are. Okay good. So thinking back on this eight week journey, where do you feel you know you are now with regards to your digital marketing experience, Do you think you'll be able to use this experience in future potential career opportunities or in your schooling? The 1st 100%. It's funny that you bring that up because I have a trainer um and he was telling him well yeah like I got this super cool digital marketing, inter japanese like oh my gosh, like the S. E. O. Stuff right?

And I was like yeah how do you know? He goes I he goes I'm trying to learn that like I need help after this, do you think you can help me? And I was like totally. Yeah like I would love to put what I've learned into practice and I think that's going to be a really cool thing to be able to help him market his company. That's how it starts. Yeah. I mean I think this is just any time you have real world experience I think is invaluable.

I think there's so much you can learn from and apply it to everything else. Whether it be like the small things like the actual industry things like what is sc oh what is PPC What is content? How do you do it all? But also the things that just come along with having an internship, How do you create manage google calendar? How do you reach out to people professionally? But also personally, how do you form those connections in office and on zoom. I think all of those things, whether they be industry specific or just general are important things that you're always going to put into practice, whether it be continuing school or just going into the working world. Beautiful.

All right, last question for you, number 12, what advice do you have for future interns looking to join this program? Mm hmm mm This is a trick when I guess do you want me to go? There you go. Okay. So some future, some advice for future interns. I'd probably say like any internship, especially your very first internship can be very challenging um and this was my first internship, so I, you know, had some nerves coming into it, but it's really important to make sure you stay positive, ask questions um and just really put your all into the program.

Okay, good advice. How about you learn? I definitely agree with that and I second everything you just said um with your first internship, this is my first internship as well. Honestly, with any internship you're going to be nervous, you're not always going to know exactly what's going on and it's okay to not be the smartest one in the room. You're not supposed to be, you are supposed to be there to ask questions to learn. It's okay to come in knowing nothing and ask questions and come out knowing a whole bunch of things and just being willing to be vulnerable.

You can be vulnerable, professional and personable all at the same time. And this is just a really, really great experience and really great environment to figure that out. You're able to kind of have it professionalism and you're also able to have that personal connection and creating connections with everybody in the office and getting to know everybody and I think that's something that's really important, especially the first internship to learn and I'm really grateful, I got that experience. Yeah, definitely take full advantage of this opportunity because it is such a privilege to be here.

Rocket is amazing and you definitely put in when you get out. So if you put in the effort you're here early, you stay late. I mean if you as long as you put in what you what you want to put in, you're going to get out so much. Well we're very appreciative you both being here and going through the program with us ladies. You did a great job. Um, for those that are looking to join the rocket internship program. Just head over to our website and go to our careers page.

You find some information on that. We are pretty much taking applications all year round. We currently are doing a summer internship program. We're kicking around the idea of maybe doing a winter one as well. So keep your eyes open for that. Thank you both for being here. This has been a lot of fun. Thank you so much. Thank you, Ben. All right. Bye bye.

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