When applying for internships, most students work on compiling cover letters and refining their résumés. Students over at Bentley University, however, prefer to take a slightly different approach – one that involves a dose of healthy competition, a taste of Donald Trump and the hopes of hearing, “You’re hired,” mixed with a guaranteed paid internship.
Sixteen Bentley students entered the Tech Apprentice Competition, and now three are left standing, all vying for an internship at the marketing firm Allen & Gerritsen. Modeled after NBC’s The Apprentice, students have been competing in challenges designed to test their abilities in emerging technology, digital marketing and social media.
“The challenges have been very interesting, mostly due to the fact that we’re helping real companies solve real problems,” said finalist Brian Shea, a sophomore studying marketing and media arts and society at the University.
“It was tough to find times when we could all meet as a group,” Shea said. “Also, BlueTrain Mobile is in an emerging industry. Therefore, we weren’t able to point to many concrete examples when backing up our proposals.”
For the Celtics and Converse challenge, students were able to work individually, but were tasked with devising a mobile marketing strategy for each brand. Ian Cross, the director of Bentley’s Center for Marketing Technology, said he was most impressed by how quickly students were able to understand the brands and how skillfully they were able to assimilate the research they’d gathered into their proposals.
“They know what their generation wants,” Cross said. “They want compelling and engaging content. [The students] get we live in a multimedia world.”
Although Allen & Gerritsen has guaranteed a paid internship only to the winner of the competition, Cross said they’ve been so impressed by the caliber of the students, that they’ve encouraged everyone to apply for other positions.
The brand participating in tonight’s final challenge is Boloco. Students have been asked to come up with recommendations on how the company can use location-based technologies, such as foursquare and Instagram, to create buzz about their new store set to open its doors in Washington, DC. The finalists will present their ideas from 6-9 p.m. to a panel of judges comprised of Bentley professors, Allen & Gerritsen experts and representatives from Boloco.
Shea said he’s ready for the pressure and loves nothing more than a new challenge. Through this competition, he has not only been given the chance to engage in real-world experiences, but he’s also received exposure to a group of people who love what they do.
“One of my teachers once told me, ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life,’” Shea said. “That’s the vibe I get from Allen & Gerritsen. Sure, everyone there works hard, but everyone there loves the work they’re doing. I want to have a job that fulfilling.”
Hopefully, tonight, Shea will be granted that chance.
The “Tech Apprentice” has been being filmed as an online series, and the competitions will soon be released as mini-episodes. To get a glimpse of what tonight might look like, however, check out the trailer here —