As a fourth year student studying Public Relations and Communications it’s part of the requirement of the degree that I complete a professional intern placement, and I am so grateful that I have been able to do mine at Stripe.
Although this has been my first internship with a PR company, I get the feeling that Stripe is like no other. From ‘Monday Monitors’ to ‘Tuesday Tutorials’ and ‘Friday Finales’ Stripe is clearly all about the alliteration. Joking aside, it is these regular meetings, catch-ups and huddles which keep everyone in the team on the same page and allow Stripe to function like the well-oiled machine it is.
Stripe has provided me with every opportunity to learn … and then some. As a part of Stripe Academy, the firm’s in-house staff training scheme, I was given a number of inductions and tutorials to help me find my feet. This included a welcome meeting, being trained on the various programmes that Stripe uses, as well as a creative induction to give me an insight into the design side of the business.
From day one I was also assigned a ‘buddy’ – a dedicated ‘go to’ person – who welcomed me in with open arms, showed me the ropes and kept me going in the right direction. On top of this, the whole team has a weekly tutorial where staff learn some tips from industry experts, such as how to pitch to TV and radio media.
I was quickly working amidst the ‘baptism of fire’ I was previously warned about. From what I gathered, my first three weeks at Stripe (just before Christmas) seemed to be their busiest time of the year. I was happy to be thrown in at the deep end and was able to get stuck in straight away. Just as I had hoped, I was doing something different each day and working with various clients. A few of the tasks I carried out were:
- Compiling media lists, guest lists and influencer lists
- Mounting cuttings so they can be sent on to clients
- Ordering, boxing and sending out PR samples
- Creative brainstorming
- Compiling client evaluations
Sending out media releases and following up with phone calls has been one of the more trying tasks (especially when that involves getting through on the phone to a journalist who is having an off day) but ironically this also proved to be the most rewarding job.
The test of patience becomes worth it when one of your clients gets good coverage in the media and at Stripe, when one person’s hard work pays off everyone celebrates with them; just one of the many things I have loved about being here, it is such a supportive team to be a part of.
From Directors to Juniors, it is clear that each and every person here is valued as an integral part of the Stripe family; I couldn’t have been made to feel any more welcome into that family. No matter how busy everyone has been, they have never failed to answer one of my endless questions, and they are always more than happy to do so.
So, what have I learned about PR?
- People still read newspapers, a *lot* of people. I will no longer be fooled by those who have told me that we are in the ‘digital age’ and that nobody reads papers any more. This is something that seems to have been neglected in my degree.
- You have to be brave (especially when it comes to sell-ins). Confidence is everything in PR.
- ‘Fast-paced’ is a serious understatement. Don’t blink.
Although I started at Stripe without knowing what to expect in a working PR environment, I am now leaving with confidence knowing that my future will be in PR when I finish university and the motivation I need to push through my last few months at Queen Margaret University, aiming for that first class honours degree.
Hopefully I have been ‘Stripey’ enough that they might have me back.
:: Toni Dowling is a fourth year student at Queen Margaret University studying PR and Communications.