Archive for Career Advice


The Intern Spotlight: Ashwin Mallya

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Ashwin Mallya. 

Tell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

I went to New York University for college, where I majored in Economic Theory, while grabbing minors in Mathematics and Philosophy on the way. I’m originally from India, where I did my primary and secondary schooling before coming to The States to attend NYU. After graduating college, I realized I wanted an Internship that will help me gain some valuable real world experience, while still being fulfilling in the process. While fishing, I came across Peppercomm’s Business Outcomes Internship, and I realized that it would be a great place to begin. I applied for the post, got called in for the interview, and here I am!

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

As an intern in the Business Outcomes Group, there isn’t much difference in the sort of projects I am required to work on, industry-wise. However, in general, I am interested in the intersection between the technology and the financial sector. I believe that the finance industry’s most interesting work is being done on behalf of the tech industry, which is forcing it to adapt and innovate as new kinds of technologies and products are entering (or desire to enter) the marketplace.

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

I didn’t really know much about PR prior to joining Peppercomm, so almost everything I learn about the industry comes as a surprise. However, I think the most interesting thing I’ve learnt is the importance of social media in managing companies’ public images. I never thought about that prior to joining Peppercomm though I was being constantly bombarded by social media alerts/advertisements on the internet. I guess Peppercomm offers me a way of thinking about social media which I had never conceived of prior to coming here.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

I’m not really sure, your guess is as good as mine!

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This video is an oldie-but-goodie from the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) about what it’s like to have a career in public relations.

Working in public relations, especially at an agency, you’re able to learn a lot about different industries. You are given the opportunity to develop a brands image, through various strategies and tactics. No two days are the same!

See what others in the industry have to say. 

Be sure explore the PRSSA website for more career and education resources. 

What questions or advice do you have about working in public relations? 

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In today’s post, meet current Peppercomm NYC intern and future industry star, Michael Pellessier.

DREW UnivTell us about yourself—where did you/do you go to school, where are you from and what brought you to Peppercomm?

Hello PRiscope readers! My name is Michael Pellessier, but in the office Co-Founder and CEO, Steve Cody, has given me the name “Drew Guy”. I’m a west coaster from Washington (state that is), that now lives in New Jersey and works in NYC. I’m a lover of traveling as I’ve traveled to; all 50 states, London, Brussels and Japan, and am always looking for another adventure to take.

As a recent graduate from Drew University with a major in Business Studies and a minor in Photography, I immersed myself into all that Drew had to offer. Throughout my four years at Drew I was involved with the university program board, orientation committee, student government and was the office manager for the office of student activities. If I wasn’t planning an event, or studying (yeah I found time for that as well), you could more than likely find me in our schools darkroom where I would be developing, exposing and creating film prints for my photography classes.

During my senior spring semester at Drew I participated in the first semester of our media and communications semester in New York City, where we traveled into NYC twice a week for class. As part of the course we spent the afternoons visiting agencies citywide. The first agency that we visited was Peppercomm, and from there it was the agency that I wanted to intern and potentially work at. The office atmosphere, intelligent employees, and small agency size was something that attracted me to Peppercomm, and yes, Co-Founder and CEO Ed Moed being an alumni of Drew was another reason. I enjoy that you’re given the ability to grow within the agency, and are given the lessons you need to learn while also being tasked with challenging projects for the accounts you’re on.

What area of the industry do you find the most appealing and why?

I enjoy that I’m able to work across seven different accounts and learn from the challenges and opportunities that arise in each of the accounts. During my internship here at Peppercomm, the knowledge that I’ve gained through pitching to the media, creating social media posts, interacting with clients, and creating briefing books are all beneficial and appealing to me as I know the skills I’ve got here are going to help me down the road.

Any surprises or revelations about your role, the industry or Peppercomm?

What surprised me the most was that on the day I started I was given so much responsibility for the accounts I was on. It really made me feel like I wasn’t an intern, but was a trusted member on my accounts. Being able to complete the tasks, but also learning that I was able to ask for help when needed, helped me learn even more about it takes to work in the PR world.

Where do you see yourself going in the industry?

Gosh that’s a hard question. The skills that I’ve gained during my internship have helped me understand the PR world even more. The industry is filled with so many different areas that I feel are all interesting and would eventually like to dip my toes in to get some experience in them, but I feel that because of my background with running events at Drew, getting involved with culture events would be an area that highly interests me. What’s to say that also spending time on the digital teams, creating content and visuals would be intriguing to me as well?

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While we hope you enjoy our posts about entry-level PR and insights into being a Peppercomm intern, we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to the people behind the program—the fearless leaders of our fabulous PeppSquad! Each Friday, we will post a Q&A with different members of the Intern Committee. We will answer questions that we frequently hear from intern candidates and would love to hear any other questions you have for us in the comments section.

This week, meet Peppercomm’s biggest fans of leopard print and the Dallas Cowboys, Samantha Bruno (@samwbruno) and Nicole Newby (@thenicolenewby), the co-coordinators of the internship program at Peppercomm.

Nicole Newby (R) & Samantha Bruno (L)

Nicole Newby (L) & Samantha Bruno (R)

Ok, let’s get the basics out of the way. Where are you from and where did you go to school?

NN: I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and went to school at Stephen F. Austin State University (Axe ‘em Jacks!). I’m an equal fan of the Empire State Building and cowboy boots.

SB: I grew up in a suburb in northern New Jersey. I actually still live there in my hometown, which makes it a fairly simple commute into the city every day. I went to Rutgers University and am proud to bleed scarlet!

How did you get into PR and Peppercomm?

NN: When I was in high school, I came to NYC to visit with different experts in the industry. I knew I wanted to work in communications, but I wasn’t sure exactly which direction I wanted to pursue. Peppercomm was one of my stops to learn about PR, and needless to say, it stuck with me. I started here as an intern seven years later, and now I’m about to celebrate my fourth year as a Peppercommer!

SB: In high school, I had my heart set on being a journalist (it was the age of Gilmore Girls and I thought I was pretty much Rory) but as I went off to college I wasn’t sure if that was a great fit. I very quickly realized that PR allowed me to use those writing skills while also utilizing my people skills and do what I love (talk!). I started working for Janine Gordon Associates, a small boutique firm in NYC, which Peppercomm acquired a little more than two years ago.

What are the main things you look for when reviewing resumes?

NN: It’s definitely great if you have previous experience in PR or the media, but it’s not a deal breaker. What’s more important to me is having the ability to connect the skills and experience from other positions to PR. This is why a cover letter is so important—it’s your opportunity to pitch us on why you would make a great candidate. It’s also really important to me that your cover letter isn’t overly generic. Including a reason or two as to why Peppercomm is your top choice for an internship really goes a long way.

SB: Sometimes I think Nicole and I are the same person (and not just because the obvious love of leopard print). I couldn’t agree more. A lot of candidates have extremely interesting experience outside of traditional communication and PR, but they either never think to relate it or fail to do so in a manner that showcases how their skillsets will be beneficial for Peppercomm. On a more practical note, I appreciate creative resumes, but it has to be organized in an understandable manner.

What makes a great intern?

NN: I think we are going to pretty much say the same thing here. Enthusiastic, Proactive and Entrepreneurial – those are the top three qualities that all Peppercommers embody, so we look for the same in our interns. Most all interns complete great work, but the ones who stand out the most have a great attitude about the work they are doing, take initiative on assignments and asking questions about the bigger picture, and have an entrepreneurial mindset.

SB: Again, Nicole took the words right out of my mouth.

Nicole Newby (L) & Samantha Bruno (R)

Nicole Newby (L) & Samantha Bruno (R)

What is the best account that you’ve worked on?

NN: This is always a difficult one for me to answer because there are so many options! One of my favorite initiatives was working for a large global organization that was dividing into separate companies. I was involved mostly with the internal communications aspect of it, helping to plan and execute Day One launch parties across the world, from Australia, to Germany, to Singapore, to the US. I also helped plan their launch day on the NYSE as a new company and had the opportunity to walk the floor of the stock exchange that day. It was a really cool experience and I learned A LOT about global relations as well. Another favorite of mine was when I got to take a road trip with a coworker, a Great Dane, a Chihuahua and a Bulldog in a MINI to upstate New York for one of their events.

SB: Over the years, I have worked on a lot of great accounts and had great relationships with clients. While I started working strictly in consumer, lifestyle and non-profit, at Peppercomm I now also work on B2B. On the consumer side, I particularly love working with restaurants and have had the opportunity to work on some really cool initiatives and promotions over the years that have taught me a lot about building relationships with the media, dealing with crisis, handling events and so much more! Plus, I was able to make my TV debut with a cameo on Bethanny, when she was on the air, which was an added bonus!

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My Experience with PR Measurement

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Today’s guest post was written by NYC Business Outcomes intern, Addi Dabiri

Prior to working at Peppercomm, I had very little idea about what the Public Relations industry had to offer. During my hunt for jobs, I came across many opportunities in PR but ultimately passed them up, thinking: “what could I, someone who studied Economics and Computer Science in college, possibly stand to gain from or offer to a PR firm”. It wasn’t until I saw the job description for an internship with the Business Outcomes team at Peppercomm that I thought, “Woah, I could work in PR!”

Fast-forward through the four months that I’ve been on the Business Outcomes team (and loved it); I’m able to share some insights about the lovely world of PR Measurement:

1. (Insert quant major) is not required
I studied Economics and Computer Science which tend to be quite quantitative but I’ve found that it’s not absolutely needed to do carry out basic analyses. All you really need is an eye for spotting trends and the desire to learn! My supervisor majored in Media Studies and he’s amazing at his job.

There’s no escape. Learn to love it. Love to learn it.

3. Find the Story
There’s quite a bit of numerical variables involved in measurement and your clients most likely won’t be too thrilled by random and inconsequential statistics being thrown at them. It’s essential to get comfortable with looking at data from different angles and extracting meaning from them. Numbers aren’t very fun to look at all day but what really helps is…

4. Visualization
You’re not going to stand a chance against all those stats if you can’t turn them into pretty charts and graphs. It’s also important to know when to use which form of visualization in order to portray the main story behind the data: if you have a large array of words, are you going to use a bar chart or a word cloud to show the most common ones?

5. Analytic Tools
If you’ve taken on a role that will be involved with measurement, chances are you’re going to have to get acquainted with one analytics platform or the other. From my experience, these platforms usually come equipped with many options that allow you to customize several aspects of the data you get. However, they aren’t always very intuitive to use so it’s important to wrap your head around all the useful functions as it could save you several hours of number crunching in Excel.

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Intern Video

To find out more about life as a Peppercom intern, check out this YouTube video produced by former Peppercomm interns who share their experiences. Click Here