Internship spotlight: Tommy McConnell

Tommy McConnell
Tommy McConnell is a senior advertising major from Atlanta.

Where do you work? I currently am an account management intern at breen★smith advertising in downtown Atlanta.

What are your responsibilities? Because breen★smith is a relatively small agency, I have responsibilities in pretty much all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the agency. Even though my official title has "account management" in it, I still get creative input in most of our projects, help traffic run smoothly within the agency, as well as interact with our clients on a regular basis.  

What valuable information or skills have you learned thus far at your internship?
Honestly, this interview would run on too long if I listed everything I've learned thus far. I'll try and keep it as brief as I can: 

I've become (fairly) proficient at software like Excel and Powerpoint and I've also observed creative programs like Photoshop and InDesign being used at its best, which in turn helps me understand more and more of the programs.

Organization has been really crucial to keep me at my best.

Always keep a little notepad and pen with you on all times to write down any of your ideas; you never know what might be the next big thing.

Embrace coffee. I know some of you might not drink it because of myths of adverse health effects but trust me, those are wrong and coffee is just so right.

Finally, I've learned how great agency life can be when things are running smoothly but also how stressful they can be when the deadlines come closer and closer. Take everything with a grain of salt though, because in the end our jobs are much cooler than everyone else's.

What part of your Grady experience (classes, professors, etc.) has been helpful in your internship? Grady has pretty much prepared me for every aspect of this internship. Message Strategy with Dr. Kirsten Strausbaugh-Hutchinson has had a huge impact of my knowledge of working in an agency, from making creative briefs to knowing how to brainstorm. During my time in Cannes for the Lions Festival, Dr. Reichert provided me with invaluable knowledge of what the industry is like and how to take it all in. The actual Grady study abroad to the Lions Festival has served me as a source of constant inspiration. Every time I'm trying to think of a new idea for a client, I think back to a workshop, a masterclass, or a guest speaker that shared some insight with me.

What has been the best part of your internship experience? Working at an ad agency isn't really like "work" at all. I don't mean that it's easy because it certainly isn't, but it provides so many cool opportunities to see your artistic side in a real life setting. I wake up every morning and look forward to coming in for the day because I literally have no idea what the day holds for me. It seriously is a better alternative to the every day monotony that so many other careers have. I also feel like I'm a part of the breen★smith family as opposed to a co-worker or colleague which is a great feeling.

What are your career goals? I'm still keeping my options within the field of advertising very open. My plan once I finish my time at UGA (I'm still coming to grips with the fact that the end is in sight) is to enroll in either the Portfolio Center or the Creative Circus to pursue my dream to be part of the creative side of advertising. However, if I fall in love with the account side of advertising, I would absolutely pursue that path. Just look for me to be strolling down the red carpet to accept my Lion in Cannes soon enough...

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