I started looking for summer internship opportunities in February when I was studying abroad in New York. At that point I was interning at the British fashion house Stella McCartney as a marketing associate and thinking about continuing there during the summer. I was also offered a position at Gucci in New York, which was very attractive to me. But after contemplating my options, I realized that I wanted something new, fresh, and more suitable for my skills and interests.
After switching focus, I still had an important choice to make: to stay in New York and work for Goldman Sachs or return to the Middle East and intern at Wolff Olins, a top branding consultancy based in London, New York, San Francisco, and Dubai. It was not a difficult decision to make. I'd wanted to work at Wolff Olins since visiting its Dubai office during my January Term class and quickly accepted the company's offer to be a summer strategist and marketing associate. I am hopeful that I can stay in the UAE or the Middle East after graduation from NYUAD and this opportunity was the ideal way to see how it might feel to be a young professional in Dubai.
When I arrived at the office the members of the team were extremely nice and welcomed me into their family. I say "family" because as strategists, creative designers, and account managers they make up a very small but powerful and accomplished team. My boss and main mentor was Principal and Head of Strategy Zia Patel (pictured above) who has worked in three of the company's offices and now leads its Indian business, currently the organization's biggest market. She introduced me to my duties and what I was responsible for. To be honest, being so new, I was often overwhelmed with the level of responsibility the team was giving to me.
I have liked all my past internships, but this one encapsulated both strategic and creative work, which, as a designer working toward a double major in Economics and Film & New Media, I enjoy so much.
Basically, strategists at Wolff Olins meet with clients, decide what the company will do for them, and then create an overall vision. Many people think that branding is only creating a logo and other visual elements, but this is only a small part. There is also structuring, creating the client's story, and building up an image of a strong company. Wolff Olins has branded such companies as GE, Mercedes-Benz, AOL, Unilever, Orange, McDonald's, Sony, and Skype. The variety of clients and their fields keeps each member of the team busy — there is always something new to learn, to read about, and to become proficient in.
Just a few weeks after my internship began, I was helping with several clients based in India and other countries in the region. And it has become my passion. I realized that waking up and being excited about going to the office and talking about the work with friends during dinners was a good sign of how much I liked what I was doing. Of course, I have liked all my past internships, but this one encapsulated both strategic and creative work, which, as a designer working toward a double major in Economics and Film & New Media, I enjoy so much.
As part of my summer internship I was lucky enough to travel to India with Zia, a design director, and a project manager to meet with clients. We had several meetings and it was an unforgettable experience of work, collaboration, and problem solving. What's more, I started representing the Dubai office in terms of marketing and PR and had weekly calls with the company's other offices to share what we had accomplished.
My internship went very well and I was honored to be asked to continue with the company during the academic year. I left Wolff Olins for the month of August to intern at Ernst & Young (where I worked last summer), but will return to Wolff Olins very soon after an amazing summer!