This week marks the end of my first ever remote internship. Going into the program with CAPA, I had no clue what to expect – all I knew was that I wanted to seize an opportunity to learn more about Italian culture while boosting my resume at the same time. By the end of the internship, I did exactly that and much more. I am most notably satisfied with the skills I learned and applied in relation to international marketing.
For some background, I interned with a company called Batog that was based in Florence, Italy. Batog was founded by Alina Roxana Batog, and she handcrafts luxury headwear, specifically in the form of hats and headbands. She started the company in 2019, so it is very new, and she hired me to provide insights and give advice on ways to gain brand awareness, specifically from luxury shoppers in London, Dubai, the United States, and New Zealand.
Going into the program, I was more prepared to carry out regular, small, everyday tasks to make my supervisor’s life a bit easier. However, she put a lot of faith in me and gave me much more important responsibilities. These included: coming up with a company motto to advertise on the website, contacting and establishing a partnership with the NAACP as a part of their Black Lives Matter campaign, and suggesting and implementing formatting changes to Batog’s official website as well as on their social media profiles.
Most of my applied academic coursework came from my marketing classes taught at Pitt, but I had to take much of the coursework and do further research in regards to specifically marketing luxury products. I also learned a great amount in regards to marketing internationally, and I now have a much deeper understanding of what exactly goes into global selling.
Most of my skills developed were centered around communications and brand/social media management, but it was interesting because I learned these skills in a completely new context. It was challenging to consider the role a luxury brand would play in terms of social media, and much of my posts were meant to be catered towards celebrities and wealthy individuals overseas – definitely not my usual demographic on my own instagram posts. Overall, I think this gave me insight into the different techniques and strategies behind using social media as a way to market internationally.
My biggest challenge was definitely adjusting to working both remotely and without a rigid schedule. I’m typically the type of person who relies on the structure of having very specific class times, so I had to adapt to my supervisor’s very loose schedule. She would often tell me, “It’s not the amount of hours you put into the job. It’s the quality of the work you do.” I found that to be a very big cultural difference between the United States and Italy in that sense. Many professionals in the states are focused on logging a specific amount of hours each week, while those in Italy care much more about how effective one is when they do work.
My biggest accomplishment was helping with the Black Lives Matter collection through the collaboration with the NAACP and structuring the posts to promote the campaign. This was meaningful to me in the sense that it gave my work a purpose – I’m much more passionate about helping others obtain justice and equality than I am about selling luxury hats. This project was definitely the most memorable one for me during my time interning for Batog.
By the end of my internship, I definitely decided that I’m not interested in pursuing a career in marketing or, really, the luxury industry at all. However, it did make me much more interested in learning about Italian culture, and I’m excited to continue pursuing my minor in Italian at the University.
Overall, I am incredibly grateful for my internship experience, and I am planning to stay in touch with my supervisor into the future.