Intern Diaries: A summer full of learnings

Xiong Luyao
This summer, I embarked on my first stint in public relations with SPAG, a regional integrated communications agency, as a Public Relations Intern. My experience was everything I thought it would be, & more – and in the best way possible! I witnessed first-hand daily roles and responsibilities of different PR practitioners, put into practice everything I am learning from Communications School, interacted with the media and executives from different corporations, and picked up numerous new skills along the way.

During my internship, I joined the account servicing team for a leading global health and nutrition company. My team and I helped drive its key agendas of building thought leadership and corporate reputation, stakeholder relations, and digital assets strengthening and amplification in the APAC region.

Quick takeaways!

Through this experience, I sharpened my writing skills and learnt how to create novel and compelling story angles that pique the interest of the “heard-it-all” media. Furthermore, I established multiple media contacts and learnt the ropes of maintaining good media relations through these interactions (tip: research EXTENSIVELY on their content, write a convincing pitch note and most importantly, be sincere).

By the end of my internship, I also pleasantly surprised myself by honing the ability to understand scientific publications, which I had to cite in my articles – something which I previously deemed an impossible feat for a humanities student like myself.

I also took on specialist public relation duties such as writing scientific press releases as well as doing contemporary tasks, including a chance to dabble in social media planning through my work for the client. Social media is the dominant mode of communication for people across the vast and borderless World Wide Web in today’s digital age. As an aspiring communicator, it is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with and this project has given me exposure to this platform.

Additionally, SPAG offered me a very hands-on internship experience and I was granted the opportunity to be a key member in driving the development of SPAG’s coveted year-on-year Annual report. It is a matter of pride for me to be working on the company's annual proprietary and also make significant contributions to it.

Moreover, my interactions with industry leaders during the interviews have inspired me to serve with purpose when I take on leadership roles in the future. I am immensely grateful to SPAG, for being given the exposure to such an important practice so early on in my career.

Furthermore despite my very junior position, I was able to spearhead a research project among Healthcare Practitioners and health companies, to find out their media preferences and media consumption patterns. The insights gained through this project will be useful in helping us serve our healthcare/ Pharma clients better.

As an intern, I was extremely honored to play such a big part in a meaningful project. The experience has given me more insights to the essential role of research in Public Relations and gave me more confidence in leading projects in a corporate setting.

SPAG’s Singapore team is a tight knit one made up of experienced Communicators with rich regional experience. As a novice in the both the Communications scene and the job market, I harboured many doubts about my ability to excel in the professional environment – the “imposter syndrome” was DEFINATELY real! My team and mentors played a huge role in helping me overcome this, by offering constant guidance and support whenever, wherever. I am grateful to have crossed paths with them, both as their mentee and friend.

This internship marked an important milestone in my professional life – my first stint in the practice of public relations. All in all, the experience solidified my interest in communications and reinforced my desire to pursue a career in public relations.