Indiana INTERNnet celebrated internship excellence on February 8, 2017, at the 11th Annual IMPACT Awards Luncheon. Though the event is over and the winners have been announced, we are continuing to celebrate the nominees’ successes.
These are their stories
Wes Wagner is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and corporate innovation at Indiana University. Last year, he completed a digital marketing internship with Torchlite Marketing.
Indiana INTERNnet: How was your internship experience with Torchlite Marketing?
Wes Wagner: I started at Torchlite in February 2016 as a remote intern, worked in their temporary offices from May-August, and I resumed working as a remote intern until I left in October 2016. During my internship, the company went from 10 to about 25 employees and almost tripled their annual recurring revenue. It was a “rocket ship” to say the least!
My favorite aspects of my experience with Torchlite were the flexibility of my work, the team and its culture, and the combination of trust and autonomy I had in my day-to-day work.
Indiana INTERNnet: What was the most challenging project you were assigned?
Wes Wagner: At the beginning of the internship, my supervisor gave me Torchlite’s social media accounts, showed me what they were doing, and then gave me the reins. Compared to the end of my time at Torchlite, I knew almost nothing at the time about using social media as a business. Over the course of the internship, I developed the company’s social media brand, its process, implemented new tools, proposed software to buy, and was trusted with more decisions of how to use social media as a way to drive revenue to the business.
Torchlite’s level in trust they had in me was flattering and the most challenging–I read books on digital marketing, took online classes, and constantly went through trial and error to improve what I was doing.
Indiana INTERNnet: Could you describe your experience as a remote intern?
Wes Wagner: I approached Torchlite in the Fall of 2015 for a summer internship, and when they asked me if I wanted to start remotely in February 2016, I jumped on the opportunity to get started.
Overall, working remotely was an amazing experience. I’m a pretty independent and disciplined person, so it wasn’t too difficult to create my own flexible work schedule while in school. I was also thrilled I had the opportunity to earn money and gain real-world experience when most of my peers weren’t. That said, my remote internship experience made me realize that students and businesses generally don’t take advantage of the relationship enough outside of the summer, but we really should. (In fact, after I left Torchlite, I won 3rd place in a startup competition trying to address the issue of seizing the benefits of student-business relationships during the school year!)
I recommend that students pursue remote internships to gain real-world skills, earn money, and connect with potential employers during the school year. I also recommend that businesses try to set up unique programs to try to find great remote interns during the school year so they can build their talent pipeline and get intern-like projects done throughout the year.
Indiana INTERNnet: In your opinion, why are internships important?
Wes Wagner: Internships are important, because they help businesses grow their talent pipeline and get projects done, and they help students gain real-world experiences, connect with future employers, and sometimes, earn money.
If you’re curious about the earnings aspect of internships, I’ve published some of my thoughts in USA Today College.
Indiana INTERNnet: What are your future plans and career goals?
Wes Wagner: I plan to continue helping grow technology startups through their digital marketing. I’d love to be a part of an education startup one day, too.