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Internship On Fire

War For Talent

Typically people think of an internship relationship as one-sided. The seasoned and experienced mold the young and malleable, shaping them into the image of their business model. But the culture at M3 is anything but typical.

In 2005, M3 began a formal internship program. It started with two interns joining M3 in the Madison office for the summer. Since then it has grown… boy, has it GROWN. In 2016, M3 welcomed 13 interns in both our Madison and Milwaukee locations.

Our internship program has been so successful and has grown so much over the years because it’s two-sided. We learn as much from them as they (hopefully) learn from us.  Our program offers the opportunity for interns to explore various career paths within our agency and industry. We don’t relegate them to a dark corner to do mind-numbing data entry projects all summer.  We treat them like every other employee at M3…

We get to know them, we listen when they talk, we zero in on their passions, and uncover what fills them up. Then, we sync them with work that feeds them and we let them loose. And do you know what usually happens? They bring it.

They bring passion, drive, and hunger. They bring fresh ideas and a new perspective. They bring fire. AND – here’s the best part – the fire spreads. Some of it even ignites and engages existing M3ers. I believe strongly in the talents of our staff. I believe they are smart and resourceful. They do their jobs right and they do them well day after day… after day… after day… after day…  But complacency is a dangerous roadblock on any career path. And after years (in some cases decades) there is no denying that each employee at M3 (myself included) is in danger of slamming right into complacency.

Introduce an influx of interns in such numbers that at some point one of them will certainly work closely with over half of the members of M3’s staff. Those M3ers will have to have a conversation with this young, eager, intelligent, soon-to-be-professional about who they are, what they do, and what they would be doing if there were just a few more hours in the day. And the intern will be eager to help, to use the short time they have to blaze past roadblocks and to leave their mark on M3 before they head back to school in the fall. But the goodbyes are often not forever.

The best of the best will be invited to come back the next summer… or offered a job when they finish school. (13 interns have been offered positions at M3 between 2005 and 2015.) Why? Well, when you start a fire, you’re stoked to keep it going.

To all the 2016 M3 interns – thank you. Thank you for bringing M3 your best. Thank you for your ideas. Thank you for your passion. And thank you for choosing M3.

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