Rocks & Hard Skills


Although I love the opportunities we have to travel around various European countries, I am happy to have spent the last two weekends exploring more of what Ireland (and Dublin itself) has to offer. This past weekend my friend and I took a tour bus to Cork City and Blarney Castle! Despite knowing some of the gross stories of the Blarney Stone, this was something I was dying to check off my list of tourist attractions I visit in life.

Back when I was in Kindergarten, my teacher Miss Cosgrove told us the story of the Blarney stone, and had us paint and decorate our own versions of the stone using rocks from the school parking lot (they were washed, of course). Since then, this craft I made when I was five years old as sat on my mom’s desk at her high school teaching job for all to see. I felt as though seeing and kissing the Blarney Stone would result in a full-circle moment that would make Kindergarten-aged-Catherine extremely happy.

Our bus also stopped at the Rock of Cashel, a group of medieval ecclesiastical buildings that were an ancient royal site of the Kings of Munster and first attained significance as a fortress. The site today represents the lengths the monks and catholics went to to protect their faith. It was definitely the oldest sets of buildings I have ever seen, and definitely one of the most beautiful. As a history nerd, I love the chance to see places with so much history like this. I also found it fascinating to see that Queen Elizabeth visited the catholic site about 10 years ago, I am assuming as an opportunity to extend a sign of peace/alliance as the head of the protestant COE.

Back at my internship, I am learning the functions of marketing and launching a new brand in the alcohol industry. Lately I have been in lots of meetings with my boss and a local social media agency who will manage our new cocktail-in-a-can beverage because there seems to be miscommunication in the essence of the brand through the scheduled social media posts, especially when analyzing the copywriting. The new drink is supposed to represent the energy of modern-day young Irish students enjoying drinks on the go with their friends, but this image is not properly shining through as the messages are passed on. Since beginning this position I am learning more than anything the importance of establishing a brand. My boss explicitly told me “If you do not understand the heart of your brand and can articulate well to others, you can simply not sell the product”. Because of this statement, I have worked to consistently strengthen soft skills such as communication and critical thinking to help aid the launch of this brand, especially when I am a part of the targeted audience and can relate to the appeal of the product. With my somewhat laid-back office, I have also strengthened my own time management skills as I structure my day efficiently between breaks, meetings, and finishing my assigned tasks. Although it can be frustrating to not always have a direct task to work on during the week, I find ways to keep myself productive and involved in the business, like reading various market research reports on the industry, for example.

With a more “creative” intern position in the marketing department, I cannot say I have developed as many hard skills as, for example, my fellow intern working in the operations department conducting demand forecasting and typing away on Excel spreadsheets all day long. I have, however, become more familiar with analyzing social media insights and data. I have developed plenty of graphs, charts, and studied endless statistics to survey the growth of each of our brands and their respective social pages on sites such as TikTok and Instagram.

In terms of both my “soft” and “hard” skills, my developing global competencies of flexibility and empathy keep me open minded to learn about my surrounding, as well as adapt to them. After all, that is the only true way to survive in a new global & cultural setting. I learn something new about the beverage industry, what it means to run a successful business, and how to successfully establish and manage a brand everyday. I am most excited to take what I have learned about brand management with me back to my classes at Pitt and any new jobs/internships I experience in the years to come.

Time is absolutely flying and I cannot wait to see what my last few weeks here bring. Until then!