My MAIP 2020 Fellow Experience

Sarika Persaud
Aug 20 · 4 min read

What's a remote internship experience like during COVID-19?

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At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted office-based programs, the MAIP VEP (Virtual Engagement Program) is a new 12-week virtual learning series for college students and recent graduates in advertising. Fellows receive professional development opportunities through virtual spring training, one-on-one coaching, MAIP labs, and various opportunities to network with MAIP alumni and industry leaders.

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4A’s MAIP Statistics

When you look around your office, how many people do you see who look like you? Being a woman of color, it was hard to find my place in the advertising industry. The most important thing I’m looking for is a workplace that meets diversity and embraces it. Through the MAIP fellowship, I was able to connect with people of color in creative industries, celebrate the diversity that inspires the next generation, and expand my network connections. I learned many tips and tricks in navigating my field and how to build relationships with industry professionals.

The series kicked off on May 2020 through a Virtual Spring training where fellows had the opportunity to attend pre-recorded sessions on topics in different advertising disciplines. From interviewing 101 to negotiating a salary, MAIP ensured the fellows were prepared for their agency experience.

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In June, fellows are paired with a MAIP coach based on their disciplines that would guide them through the program. I was extremely fortunate to be paired with a visual designer at Huge agency. Bi-weekly check-ins allowed me to share my experience and receive feedback on my portfolio and resume. Throughout the program, my coach was attentive to any concerns I had and gave me advice on today’s critical issues and how to use creativity to build better futures.

As the MAIP labs began in early mid-June — July, agencies across the country led panel workshops and events to engage with fellows. Weekly Zoom meetings covered everything from safe space chats, industry trends, marketing strategy, design, emerging technology, and culture. I connected with many leaders on LinkedIn across agency brands and others from the MAIP network.

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Speakers engaging with fellows on Zoom
Speakers engaging with fellows on Zoom
Speaker Jezz Chung engaging with fellows on Zoom
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August is where fellows got down and dirty with weekly summer projects. Teams consisted of art directors, copywriters, designers, strategists, and more. My team worked on brands ranging from Whataburger, Respond 2 Racism, and Jaguar. We collaborated as a team to design concepts and solutions based on creative briefs and the client’s business strategy. My role as a designer included deck/ presentation design and making eye-catching digital graphics for social channels. Working under pressure was a challenge for me to execute an entire campaign in a week. I was able to gradually work with my team to tighten this skill by structuring and prioritizing my tasks.

Whataburger x Tiktok
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Respond 2 Racism
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Jaguar Campaign

Dream 16 #TheDreamTeam

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“In a vibrant land of Zoom calls, coffee, and different time zones, ‘Dreamer’ isn’t a word but a mindset. It refers to the kind of people who spend minutes, hours, and even days pursuing a single dominant idea.

It refers to the people who are willing to give it. They're all in great work.

The Dreamer doesn’t settle for good, intelligent, or serviceable, but instead, they push for unique, revolutionary, and life-changing.

Here at Dream 16, when they ask us, what could Dreamer’s possibly have to offer? We smile and say, let us show you.”

The MAIP VEP has been an enjoyable experience, and I highly recommend it to creatives of color seeking a career in advertising. The 4A’s foundation advocated for and connected diverse talent to the advertising industry. I had an unforgettable summer postgraduation, and I am coming away from the program with a professional network and private network of MAIP Alumni. Coming into this program during a time so uncertain, I felt reassured by my peers. Through internship cancellations and more, MAIP allowed me to surround myself in a safe space. I received opportunities like no other. Until next time, MAIP. Time to go crush it in the real world.

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