My first six weeks with Corporate Marketing & Communications team here in St. Louis have been intriguing. After interning twice with Monsanto, I thought I knew a lot about the company – but I’ve been humbled. It’s a completely different world from what I experienced before. I am an economics major; marketing is something of a foreign concept. In the past I would see Monsanto ads, websites, commercials, handouts, and tweets and think about the company as I knew it.
I never gave thought to the amount of work, talent, and planning that actually goes into such projects.
My first week on the job coincided with the initial development of a new corporate marketing program, about how proud Monsanto is to be part of the St. Louis community and being “St. Louis Grown.” When my manager told me about it, I was psyched. “Awesome,” I thought, “we’ll take some pictures, play with some designs, and then up on a billboard the ads go.”
We’re now six weeks into the program and I’ve already spent countless hours organizing employees to be in our ads, coordinated photoshoots, and gotten up at 4 a.m. to journey to the St. Louis Arch just to find out “the lighting was a tad off.” Okay, now I am finally starting to understand how much work and detail gets poured into a single marketing program.
It’s a lot of work and a major project within the department, but it’s not the only thing going on. Two websites are being re-designed, one’s being constructed, and even more are being maintained. What this means for me is writing. Once again, I am an econ major, not an infamous Mizzou J School student. So this is yet another new experience for me. Most of my previous writing has been policy one-pagers and research papers, not philanthropy stories, grower interviews, and, yes, this is even my first time blogging.
The biggest challenge and one of the biggest opportunities I’ve encountered during my rendezvous with writing is working with international colleagues to develop stories about Monsanto’s philanthropic efforts around the world. By around the world I mean China, India, Argentina, Canada and Indonesia, just to name a few. Coordinating with these employees means every morning when I open my e-mail I have 15 new messages received at 2 a.m. and sent by someone who doesn’t speak English on a regular basis. This has been teaching me the meaning of working in an international business.
From a day-to-day aspect, the office is an awesome work environment. Everyone I work with is eager to teach me new things and give me new projects to work on. Interning for Monsanto is not the “stereotypical” intern experience. My team is great about giving me responsibility and treating me as a member of the team. I’ve interned in other areas and I must say Monsanto exceeds my expectations every time I return.
I’ve learned a lot in the first six weeks. I’ve learned about the actual time and effort it takes to launch a successful marketing program. I’ve realized the value of creating genuine website content. And, most importantly, I’ve learned: do NOT drink the coffee in the break room!
Kate Hangley is interning with Monsanto this summer.
Photograph: Fast Internet by Petr Kratochvil via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.