Spend a Summer with an Ogilvy & Mather Intern

Wednesday, August 2, 2017
MMS rising senior Lucy Cao is spending her summer interning with Ogilvy & Mather
Spend a Summer with an Ogilvy & Mather Intern

For the past eight weeks, I have been interning at Ogilvy & Mather, a global advertising agency, in Account Management.  As an Account Management Intern, I have immersed myself in advertising strategy, marketing communication, and brand planning while working on three different brands within the hospitality category.  Some of my projects have included helping develop a strategic brand planning process, analyzing consumer data for segmentation, conducting competitive strategy reviews for clients, and even helping throw an awesome client karaoke party.  In addition to working on my awesome team across three brands, I’ve also been working on an intern project with my intern class for the past three weeks.

One of the countless lessons I’ve learned over the summer is a lesson in fluidity in problem solving: account people in an agency are advocates for everyone—clients, copy writers, art directors, and strategists—and ensure that the agency maintains profitability.  This role means working as a problem solver for everyone on all levels and understanding problems from all perspectives.  Account managers represent the agency in solving clients’ business problems, figure out how to present a project to a creative team in a way that will ensure fruitful ideation, and manage partnerships with other firms.  I’ve been challenged to think critically about how to elevate the work we produce by ensuring that the account team meets all parties’ needs: the best advertising meets and exceeds business goals, and the best creative comes from a clear understanding of business needs.

One of the things I love about advertising is its position at the junction of business, culture, technology, and creativity.  As human beings, a great deal of our decisions are informed based on the culture and environment which surrounds us, and purchasing decisions are no different.  We buy based on what matters to us—whether it be value, innovation, design, or price—and it is the job of the advertisers to understand, meet, and articulate our needs in an easily digestible, attention-grabbing manner.  I’m fascinated by the gap between our needs and desires as consumers and what companies can offer, and what closing that gap between the two says about us culturally.  I’m truly engaged with my internship because it allows me to think about consumer decision making within the context of our changing society every day.

I think that my studies at Duke—my major in Psychology, minor in Economics, and certificate in Markets & Management Studies—fostered my interest in the interdisciplinary nature of advertising.  My classes within the MMS program like Consumer Psychology and Social Psychology of Business have all informed components of my internship experience, and I would certainly recommend the Ogilvy Internship Program to any MMS students who have similar interests.  I’m excited to return to Duke for my senior year this fall, and am hoping to take my learnings from this summer and apply them in the classroom!


Lucy Cao is a Psychology major, Economics minor, and Markets and Management Studies Certificate student. Markets and Management Studies will be featuring students' summer experiences all summer. Check in weekly or follow us on Facebook to read more about what our students are doing this summer.