A Barbarian Group Intern Reflects On the Summer That Was

By Kiran Aditham 

We know, our intern reports from the trenches have been sorely lacking this summer, but as we wind down the season, we’re glad to give you some quick perspective from one such person who shall remain nameless but offers some thoughts on their time at The Barbarian Group. We’ll have more from 4A’s interns on Monday as we slowly say goodbye to summer. In the meantime, it appears that this particular intern enjoyed themselves while at TBG’s summer “program.” We asked for a recap and we basically got it. Read on if you’d like.

I’ve had my fair share of internships. Fresh out of college, I interned at an arts-and-culture webzine—I fact-checked, I made coffee, and lunch-runs. I stuck around in editorial for a few years, and after burning out hard on the whole writing thing I decided
to go back school for graphic design. Which brings me to this summer, which I spent in a creative internship at The Barbarian Group. Once I got over the initial stomach butterflies of being an intern once again, I found myself pleasantly surprised: Barbarian gives its interns a full crash-course in the advertising industry, trusting them with an uncommon share of real responsibility.

The Barbarian Group’s is an internship program, thoughtfully organized and enthusiastically run. The 12 interns—comprising Account Management, Earned Media, Development, Production, Strategy, CMS, and Creative—were initially put through a
battery of seminars, covering the ideation and pitch processes, the structure and history of the company and the industry in general, before being put to work in their respective departments. And work we did. This was a completely different experience than I was used to, as we were effectively dropped into the agency at large and expected to make real things. It was a sink-or-swim kind of situation, —albeit a friendly one—as I had to design website wireframes, logo mockups, comp images for new-biz pitches, the whole deal. To my astonishment (and initial terror), our ideas were being thrown into the pot  with those of the more senior creatives, to be debated internally and developed like any other.

While neck-deep in client work, the interns were charged with constantly documenting our experience—blogging, hashtagging, in addition to designing and building our own website as a learning tool for future Barbarian intern hopefuls. We organized a day of
community service at an LES early-education nonprofit, where we lead creative activities for a gaggle of four-year-olds [ed: TBG group shot from the effort above]. We shot videos and Vines. We designed a series of novel 404 pages for the company website. All while providing genuine support (no coffee runs!) to a bustling agency and learning our faces off.

As a creative, I got to log a few hundred Photoshop hours with guidance from some very talented designers, did a bit of copywriting, a bit of ideation. The Barbarian Group takes its interns very seriously, and in turn they become a part of the agency almost immediately. My internship is now over, and I’ve got another year of school left until I’m (once again)  spat out into the ol’ Real World, but the kind folks at The Barbarian Group pushed me many steps further towards my professional goals. I feel like I could jump into a full-time  agency job tomorrow. Which is pretty much the best outcome I could have hoped for.