This is part of Adweek’s series covering fellowship programs at agencies. As agencies continue to face a talent crunch, many recent graduates or career changers are seeking a way into the industry. Here, we cover programs for entry-level marketers at top agencies. Read the full series.
Greenville, South Carolina-based indie agency FerebeeLane offers semester-long, paid internships for college students and is now accepting applications for its fall cohort.
“I talked to a lot of other agency owners, and the common complaint is, ‘Where do we find the good young people to come into this business?'” said Josh Lane, FerebeeLane’s co-founder and COO.
FerebeeLane interns are fully-integrated with agency account teams, but Lane is focused on making the experience even more immersive.
Last year, interns began work on group projects for select FerebeeLane clients. The projects require interns conduct quantitative research, customer interviews and develop a strategic position. Then, Lane delivers intern-created deliverables to select clients to consider using.
“What I’ve told them all is that if we ever get anything as a result of that, then they would be financially rewarded,” Lane told Adweek. Though it hasn’t happened yet, Lane confirmed he’d be willing to give interns between 10 and 20 percent of any income generated from a successful project.
The Clemson partnership
As a smaller agency, “we can really only impact five or 10 young people a year,” said Lane. To expand its reach, agency leadership supported FerebeeLane’s media director, Katie Driggs, when she took on an adjunct role teaching media planning and buying strategies at Clemson University’s Erwin Center for Brand Communications.
Erwin Center professors all have hands-on industry experience. Katie Mooney Hildebrand, executive director at the Erwin Center told Adweek that it hires “people that have background in agency brand management, marketing [or] consulting, so that these students are taught by people in the industry.”
Because of this, Clemson students who apply to the FerebeeLane program will find themselves working alongside their professor.
“It’s really hard to recruit in this industry and feel good about who you’re hiring,” said Hildebrand. “What’s cool about our program here is that these instructors get to know them for 16 weeks.”
The Erwin Center’s roughly 250 students can work across departments—media planing and strategy, account direction or even creative practices like videography—are optional tracks students can pursue.
It’s not uncommon for the agency to hire interns upon their college graduation.
“I was getting close to December graduation and they [said], ‘You know, we really want to keep you on the team. We have room for you,'” said Delaney Neimeyer, account coordinator at FerebeeLane. “I feel very lucky. That was the goal, and luckily it worked out that way.”
Now, as a full-time agency employee, Neimeyer supports new interns who join the FerebeeLane program.
FerebeeLane’s hired six students specifically from Driggs’ Clemson cohort, and they specialize in practices as varied as account services, media, copywriting and design.
“I really appreciated how hands-on it was and how it wasn’t a type of busy work. I was actually being involved with the process of reaching out to vendors and creating RFPs and IOs,” said Lena Barakat, a former FerebeeLane media intern.
TLDR: Check out program details, including how to apply, in our Q&A with FerebeeLane and Clemson University below. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and style.
When did FerebeeLane and Clemson found the program?
The FerebeeLane intern program started 10 years ago. The Clemson relationship started in 2020.
How many students do you welcome each year?
Three classes tied to the academic calendar: Fall, spring and summer.
How long does the program run?
The academic semester.
Does the program pay?
The internship pays $10 per hour.
What percentage of your your most recent cohort are historically underrepresented?
20% of the current class are from underrepresented populations. 83% of the current class are women.
Is a college degree required for this program?
How long is the application process from start to finish?
Applications are accepted over a three month period. Two rounds of interviews are conducted over two weeks.
What do you require from applicants as part of the hiring process?
A resume is required for all positions. A portfolio is required for design roles and writing samples are required for the PR internship.
What percentage of FerebeeLane interns receive full-time offers by the end of the program?
FerebeeLane generally hires one or two full time employees from the internship program per year.
When is FerebeeLane hiring its next intern cohort?
FerebeeLane is currently accepting applications for the fall term. The deadline is July 14 and those interested can apply here.
Q&A with Katie Driggs:
What is your view on the value to the students of having industry professionals as teachers?
The media landscape, and advertising industry in general, is rapidly changing, evolving, and developing new technologies for targeting, tracking, analytics, and more. As industry professionals, it is our job to stay on top of the latest trends and technologies and to understand how they impact our clients’ businesses. We’re able to bring that into the classroom, using examples from our own client projects. When I teach a media strategy, I use an example of how it was implemented with one of our clients (removing confidential information, of course). There’s a difference between conducting research and applying the analyses to a specific client’s media plan to achieve the best results possible. Teaching how to use a design program is fundamental; understanding the nuances of a client’s message and how to delve into design development to land the right creative is critical. This resonates with students because they know that what they are learning is something that has a practical application. I’m not getting the question, “is this going to be on the test?”
What motivated you to teach?
When I was in college as a marketing major, there was no class to learn about media. All that I knew was that it was about negotiating and business lunches. No interest, and I decided I wanted to be in account services. Once I got into the industry, I learned about the media profession, what it’s really like, and it’s a perfect fit. As I’ve met media professionals over the years and we share stories of how we got into this field, there’s a common theme that we fell into it without really knowing much about it because it isn’t taught in most colleges and universities. So, when the opportunity to address this came up, I jumped at it. When most students think about advertising, they think about creative and maybe being an account exec because that’s what they see on TV. It’s incredibly rewarding to show students the range of roles in the industry and have them find something they love doing as opposed to being closed off to an industry because no one shared the possibilities with them.
What makes the Clemson program valuable to FerebeeLane, beyond accessing a pool of tested applicants?
Our entire industry faces a talent shortage and with industry professionals leading the instruction, we’ll have students entering the workforce with more hands-on experience, client applications of the work, and an understanding of the most up-to-date industry trends. This benefits the industry as a whole and whether these students work for FerebeeLane, another agency or for a brand, we are able to make strong connections with these students that will last a lifetime.