From June 2016 to March 2017, I was a Social Media & Communications Intern on The Walt Disney Company’s Talent Acquisition Marketing team. This is the story of how my dream of doing social media for Disney came true (and how it became my dream in the first place).
In September 2013, I had just started my sophomore year of college at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. I had just switched my major from Biomedical Engineering to Biology and was feeling good – until I wasn’t. I loved the content of my courses; I found all of my classes interesting. I just wasn’t passionate about them. I struggled to see where my personality fit, and my passion lied in the professional world.
I had learned about the Disney College Program the semester before when a family friend started posting photos from her program on social media. When I discovered Biology was more of a dead end than a new chapter, I decided to apply for the program. I had nothing to lose, and could use some time to get to know myself better. After submitting an application, passing web-based interview and doing a phone interview, I was in!
I arrived in Orlando in January 2014 to work at Walt Disney World Resort. My role was Quick Service Food & Beverage (QSFB) and I worked at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café at Disney’s Magic Kingdom and the 21st Annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival.
During the program, participants can enroll in classes and seminars. For some reason, I took Exploring Marketing along with Disney Heritage. I had never once considered business or marketing as a career choice for myself until I was in that marketing seminar. A guest speaker from a different part of Disney marketing would come in each week. From Customer Managed Relationships to Advertising to Digital Marketing – I LOVED IT.
When I went back to school in September 2014, I changed my major to Strategic Communications / Journalism and added a minor in Design. I knew I was behind, but I was determined to graduate in 4 years. I had some catching up to do.
Many of my peers had already been working in the Marketing/Advertising industry for 2+ years. If I wanted to be competitive, I needed experience. I applied for a variety of on-campus marketing jobs. I landed a position as a Marketing Assistant at Student Unions & Activities because of my clear passion for the field (and eagerness to learn). I worked there until my college graduation in May 2016.
In April 2015, I became a Brand Ambassador for Periscope. I was able to network with the agency’s employees and gain valuable experience representing a large retail brand. I spent that summer handing out Target’s promotional items before Minnesota Twins games.
In August 2015, I became a Social Media & Public Relations Intern for the 2016 Ad 2 Student Advertising Summit. I regularly posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in addition to penning bi-weekly blog posts to promote the February event.
By the time I graduated in May 2016, I was an active Advertising Club MN member, a Social Media Co-Director for the club’s student-run agency, and had almost 2 years of marketing and social media experience.
I wanted to get back to The Walt Disney Company. I fell in love with it during my Disney College Program, and it only felt right being that it changed my life in such a profound and lasting way.
In January 2016, The Walt Disney Company’s Professional Internships began to open up. I applied for 22, and had a slightly different application & interview process for each one.
I had one initial phone screen for the general Marketing and Marketing Strategy roles. This basic phone interview took place with a recruiter, and she determined whether or not my experience and I were up-to-par with the hiring manager’s expectations. After this interview, I was “No Longer in Consideration” for a couple roles.
While I was waiting to hear back about the Marketing roles, I was asked to schedule a phone interview with a recruiter in regards to the “Social Media Content Management” internship (since then the role has changed to “Social Media & Communications“). After a relaxed chat about my experience and passions, the recruiter pushed me on to the next step.
A few days later, I scheduled my phone interview with the hiring manager. I was nervous, but prepared. They had clearly seen some potential in me, which gave me a sense of confidence.
The hiring manager and I hit it off. I made sure to take time to ask questions and learn more about the position. As much as she was interviewing me, I was interviewing her. I wanted to make sure that – if I was offered the position – it would be a good fit.
Later that week, I received a phone call from the recruiter completely out of the blue. She saw that I had applied for quite a few internships and wanted to know what my preferences and priorities were. Thankfully I had a printed list of the positions for which I had applied and was able to quickly prioritize them.
A few days later, on March 14, 2016, she called again to ask some “clarifying questions”. These questions weren’t new and very logistics-based. Things like “Would you be able to provide your own transportation to and from work?”. At the end of the call, she offered me the role!
After she offered, I had to verbally accept. She sent me the full details and a link to officially accept online the next day.
I graduated in May 2016, and started the internship on June 27, 2016. My original end date was January 2017, but I was offered a 6-month extension in August, which I happily accepted!
Have questions? Leave a comment below or contact me.