Kate McGrath, Publicis Health Intern, Class of 2017

Here’s a Story All About How My Life Got Flipped, Turned Upside Down … by an Internship

By Kate McGrath, Account Management Intern, Razorfish Health Philadelphia

When I was on the phone with my mom last week, I would not stop talking about clinical trials facilitated through apps.

“What? I didn’t even know you were into this stuff!” my mom said after I ended my seven-minute soliloquy.

And you know what? I didn’t either. But as I’m reaching the halfway mark as a Publicis Health Intern, I am a completely different individual than the small-town, Western Pennsylvanian girl who blindly moved to Philadelphia just four weeks earlier.

I’m surrounded and supported by a network of ambitious colleagues who want me to learn as much as I can about pharmaceutical advertising — from FDA regulations to department interactions to what seems like thousands of acronyms. But they’ve also welcomed me and my questions without open arms: sitting down to talk about individual agency roles, giving me Netflix and Hulu recommendations, allowing me to contribute to social media strategies, and always talking with full transparency about the business and industry as a whole.

Every day, I am greeted with new challenges and opportunities that strengthen my critical thinking and communication skills. Just two weeks ago, I listened with wide eyes to Richard Schwartz of Digitas Health about the emerging technology and healthcare’s pending “delta of disruption.” I found myself questioning the future landscape, and he posed a challenge to me: experience it firsthand. I couldn’t believe a senior-level executive took the time to engage me, an intern, in relevant conversation and asked for my thoughts.

As the program progresses, I’ve found these open discussions across management levels is very much a staple of this organization that I value above anything else. That face-to-face, genuine curiosity has stuck with me more than anything, so I was left with no choice but to face my skepticism head on. I walked out of the room with a La Roche-Posay “My UV Patch” sticker on my left hand and its accompanying app, which tracked my UV exposure by changing color and alerting me on my phone. Needless to say, I had no sunburn that week!

But this wasn’t the only time this summer I’ve been encouraged to explore the boundaries beyond my comfort zone. Even though I’m an Account Management Intern, my manager has made it a point to expose me to the Project Management, Analytics, Creative, and User Experience teams — and everything in between. Because of this, I’ve learned how to leverage things I didn’t know existed to enhance the whole marketing experience. I’ve seen the topics covered in the classroom brought to life right before my eyes. Wireframes are no longer a vocabulary word on a PowerPoint but one that is being used in everyday conversation.

While I came to Razorfish Health to understand and immerse myself in healthcare marketing, I’ve noticed an unexpected and welcomed side effect: personal growth. I’ve discovered the ins and outs of public transportation (after a bit of a learning curve), expanded my taste palette, became more confident in my interactions with new people, and have taken advantage of every opportunity — big or small — that presents itself. Bowling trip to Lucky Strike? Yes, please. After work bike ride along the Schuylkill trail? I’m there. Roam the hallways of the Philadelphia Museum of Art? Count me in. Go to dinner with my roommate of five days and three of her friends? Why not! Because this internship required me to push my limits in a short eight weeks, I realized I had nothing to lose by saying yes to the unknown. I unearth more about myself everyday — things I didn’t know I could do or see or taste or feel.

Finding out who that girl from Western Pennsylvania truly is, coupled with my growing fondness and knowledge of the ad industry, has made for the perfect summer storm. With the tools and opportunities Publicis Health and Razorfish Health have given me in just these first four weeks, I feel myself internalizing the soft and hard skills that make me a competitive candidate in this industry. I do not know where to begin with thanking the people at this office who have guided me, challenged me, mentored me, and befriended me. I never thought about healthcare playing a huge role in my future, but now I’m starting to see a connection between my nerding out over clinical trials apps and who I’m becoming as a young professional. Maybe healthcare isn’t the only thing at a “delta of disruption…”

Kate McGrath is a 2017 Account Management Intern at Razorfish Health in Philadelphia, a Publicis Health agency. She is pursuing a major in Marketing with a minor in Digital Media Trends and Analytics at Penn State University (Class of 2019). When she’s not taking in the sights and sounds of her work environment, you can find her hunting for the best neighborhood coffee shops and stumbling upon new 20-minute sitcoms (recommendations are always welcomed). Connect with her on LinkedIn.