Mary Clare Lacke talks about how strategic communication courses helped jumpstart her career
With a strong love for social media, Mary Clare Lacke — a senior at the Missouri School of Journalism — was ecstatic to be able to spend the summer working in Austin, Texas, as a social media and influencer marketing intern for jewelry company Kendra Scott. After impressing her mentors, Lacke was given the opportunity to remotely continue her internship through the school year.
Lacke found the internship through a LinkedIn posting last October, explaining the company had a lengthy interview process. She applied for the position, wrote an essay as to why she would be a good fit, interviewed, and was offered the position.
“I would consider myself very lucky that it worked out so well for me,” said Lacke.
In her time at the School of Journalism, Lacke has gained relevant experience related to the position as well as the jewelry industry as a whole. Last year, she had an internship with Claire’s working as a social media intern, an experience that led to her being featured in a New York Times article about collegiate social media interns.
Lacke felt that Professor Brad Best’s digital strategy class played a huge role in preparing her for this internship, providing a foundational understanding of the various things she’d be tasked with. In order to grow their Pinterest account, Lacke and the Kendra Scott Company worked directly with a digital agency to generate key search words, popular content that has a connection to the company, and search engine optimization (SEO) in an effort to reach a wider audience.
“That aligns almost directly with what I learned in Brad’s class and I felt very prepared for that because I knew what SEO was, I knew SEO strategies,” Lacke said.
You got the internship because you are creative and have a good head on your shoulders, so be confident in that.Mary Clare Lacke
While working for Kendra Scott, Lacke focused on content creation, influencer scouting and managing, content strategizing and planning, as well as reviewing content for the company’s college brand ambassador program. Working with the social media team, Lacke spent a significant amount of time this summer creating content in order to grow Kendra Scott’s Tik Tok, Instagram and Pinterest accounts. She was given the opportunity to participate in brainstorm meetings with the team, contributing her ideas and opinions.
“The team was always really receptive to anything I had to say and welcomed me with open arms, which was a really wonderful experience,” Lacke said.
Having both of her previous internships extended remotely into the school year, Lacke learned some helpful insights and key takeaways for those looking for their first internship experiences.
“Don’t be afraid to speak up,” said Lacke. “It can be intimidating since you’re in a room full of professionals and people you look up to, but you are providing a fresh, new, young perspective.”
Lacke believes it is important for interns to be assertive, reminding themselves that no idea is a bad idea and all ideas can be built upon and snowball into something great.
“You got the internship because you are creative and have a good head on your shoulders, so be confident in that,” said Lacke.
After receiving feedback directly from her mentors, Lacke says specific qualities helped set her apart from other internship candidates. She is a quick learner, which she credits to the J-School, since the Missouri Method places students into real-world work situations. Lacke was not afraid to ask questions when necessary and immediately applied the guidance she was given. She added that it was important to listen to directions and explanations in order to gain the confidence to do work independently.
Of all that she’s learned over the last year, Lacke has one main takeaway for those about to enter the internship application process: “Don’t be afraid to apply for internships,” said Lacke. “While seeing the applicant pool can be daunting, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”
Updated: November 13, 2023