One of my proudest heritage is living in the Bronx as a Nigerian immigrant. I love to speak from my personal experience here because it differed from my peers who live at home and attend schools in the city or who attend my Clark.
Summer 2018 was the breakthrough moment in my career exploration track. I landed an internship at Ogilvy, a well-respected agency in the advertising industry. (maybe add two sentences historically).
But like many summer internships, one of the many obstacles I faced was the commute to work. I live on the 5 line, ten minutes from Baychester train station, and Ogilvy is at Hell's Kitchen. The best way to describe my location to people who don't know is that I live on the edge of the Bronx. Just like Wall St is on the edge of Manhattan.
My ETA to my internship site is an hour and 15 minutes, not a minute less and may include additional train delays due to unforeseen circumstances.
At first, my morning routine includes having not less than 3 alarms set because there are many times when I snooze them without realizing my actions will result in being late. My little brothers also go to school, so we have to battle out who gets to use the bathroom on a first come, first serve basis. After an early morning Hunger Games of the bathroom, I am off to work.
Getting used to the train commute did not come easy. There were times when listening to music for an hour was exhausting. This led to multiple podcasts downloads that are intellectually stimulating. My favorite is Conversations with people who hate me.
Additionally, I wrote some blogs, like this one haha. I concluded that if the commute was going to be long, I might as well be productive. It helps to relax me when I am stressed. Sometimes, I journal about my day and networking strategy for the next week: who to get whose business card, who to grab coffee with, and so on.
And I get it, for some of you reading, you may not appreciate writing after a full day at work. I would grab a book or two. Make a reading goal to finish some interesting books over the summer.
I was in your shoes, 10 months ago, during the rigorous application process. Unlike you, who might have learned about the Multicultural Advertising Internship Program (MAIP) via an ambassador, a student-led session, or through emails, I found about the program by chance. My sister, who attends Wellesley College, sent me a list of summer programs to apply to.
However, I discovered MAIP in my sophomore year and I thought it was too late. Luckily, I researched more on the details and I realized that I could apply during at least from my junior year. So yes, one can apply as a junior, senior, and a graduate student. Most of my closest friends in MAIP are college graduates. This goes to show that age does not matter, in terms of networking and working within teams.
Being a MAIPer comes with many benefits. One of them is having a network of an amazing organization existing for more than 45 years. That’s more than twice my age haha. Some of our noticeable alums include Chris Vega, MAIP’2010, 2011 (Apple), Elaine Welteroth, MAIP 2007 (Teen Vogue), Emely Perez, MAIP 2011 (J. Walter Thompson), and many more to come. MAIP is built on the mentorship on the program, and this goes from the application process to beyond.
The application process is rigorous as well. However, that should not swerve you away from applying. Trust me, it is worth applying if you qualify. An applicant must identify as multiracial, multiethnic, or as a person of color. You should also have been born here as a citizen or as a permanent resident. Finally, one must be interested in advertising (your essays must demonstrate some high level of interest) and must be available to do the internship. If you ticked all of this, then you are set to go.
The disciplines that are available include Account Management, Art Direction, Community Management, Copywriting, Digital Design, Media Buying, Media Planning, Production, Project Management, Public Relations, Strategy, and UX/UI. The application process is composed of two parts: Semi-Finalists and Finalist. Before you start, every applicant is given a mentor who will guide you through the process: written essays, transcript, creative video, etc. Luckily for me, I had two AMAZING MAIP mentors: James Ramseur (my official MAIP Dad) and Melissa Julien (my foster MAIP Mum).
QUICK SHOUT OUT: When I discovered earlier, Melissa was one of the first individuals to accept my LinkedIn invite. She was one of the few MAIP alums who took their time to chat with me on the phone. Because of her and James, I am a MAIPer. So special shutouts to my nonbiological MAIP parents.
Around mid-November, the Semi-Finalists will be announced. If you made it this far, congrats. Pat yourself on the shoulder but the race is not over yet. The next step is the interview stage. My MAIP class of 2018 was the first partner with HireVue to record our interviews virtually. A question would pop up and you will have to answer it on spot. Dress code for this is casual but not too casual or too business either. Find the right balance. It’s advertising, remember that.
In December, the 2018 MAIP Finalists are confirmed and announced once your interviews are in and screened. Now that you are a finalist, you can relax because you have done your part. During February, ad agencies are responsible for handpicking talented students for their disciplines Thus, it’s literally a digital version of the hunger games. MAIP directs you to update your application where you can choose your location of choice.
Most fellows prefer to stay in New York City. Out of 213 fellows, more than 100 fellows were placed in New York City. This depicts the eagerness of agencies to host as many multicultural, talented students. However, many are spread across the United States, for example, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, etc.
This summer, I was placed at Ogilvy working under the Lenovo account management team. As an Economics and Film studies major, there is a steep learning curve with new advertising vocabulary. The fast pace of the industry and the many meetings to take notes in, make learning fun. My Lenovo team is patient to teach me as well. MAIP also hosts #Maiplabs at different agencies where students learn about specific sectors of the ad business to spark new interest in other disciplines different from our current one.
So yea, do MAIP. It will change your life.