Molly Burke ’13 has become an expert in time management. This weekend, she is balancing reading for four classes, spending time with her friends, and working at the Michael Phelps Foundation Golf Classic in Atlantic City, N.J.
Burke is continuing her summer internship with Octagon Olympic and Action Sports, an international sports and entertainment marketing agency, at their office in Saco, Maine.
She met with Bowdoin’s Career Planning Center (CPC) last spring to discuss her resume and heard that Michael Phelps’s agent was based in Maine with Octagon.
Coincidentally, Octagon posted an internship on eBEAR a week later, and the CPC alerted her to the opportunity. She applied and was accepted to the program.
Burke began her internship at the height of the summer Olympic fervor, diving right into the world of sponsorship deals and promotional negotiations.
“A big project I worked on was regarding Rule 40, which states that athletes can’t be in any promotional material during the Olympic period,” said Burke. “Sponsors had to stay out of things until the Olympics were over, so a ton of deals flooded in once the Games ended.”
Burke’s responsibilities include researching sponsorship deals and figuring out the logistics of potential partnerships with clients.
“I helped put together biographies that are sent out as part of deals for newly signed athletes and updated ones like gymnast Aly Raisman’s to include her new achievements,” explained Burke.
Though her internship with Octagon is coming to a close, Burke will not be away from the world of sports for long. She interned with the Portland Pirates hockey team last semester as a communications intern and will be returning to work with the team in October.
Burke helped write and edit the Pirates’ Daily Scroll, a publication for scouts and fans released every game day. Additionally, she helped edit press releases and wrote many of the game recaps that were posted on the Pirates’s website.
As an English major, Burke feels that the skills she has developed in a liberal arts setting translate into success in the professional world.
“I’ve found that my English experience has really paid off in every internship that I’ve done,” said Burke. “They know that I’m available to edit or write anything. It may not seem obvious, but I find the two worlds to be complementary.”
In an ideal world having a full course load, an active campus life, and a stimulating internship would be easily managable. But Burke has had to make certain sacrifices.
“It can be tough at a school like Bowdoin balancing course work with actual time spent in the office,” said Burke. “I’ve had to decide between spending time with friends or going to the library to do internship work after a day already spent at the office. Time management has been a challenge, but the more I do it, the easier it gets.”
Burke committed to working 20 hours a week for Octagon, so her class schedule needed to accommodate the internship.
“I have four classes from 10 to four on Mondays and Wednesdays. I don’t have any classes on Tuesdays and Fridays, so I work nine to five at their office in Saco as well as eight to 12 on Thursday mornings from Bowdoin,” said Burke.
But at the end of the day, juggling the hours is worth it.
“I like looking at potential sponsorships and partnerships, and this is something I can see myself doing after graduation,” said Burke. “People in the office have been very encouraging and really want to help me get to know the business.”
Acknowledging that it’s not for everyone, Burke recommends that students with flexible schedules, good time-management skills, and a passion for a certain industry seek out academic-year internships.
“It is an invaluable experience that will give you an edge after graduation. I definitely feel more comfortable entering the work world now, and I think that’s something that doesn’t come naturally,” said Burke.
Burke can attest to the importance of reaching out to companies, even if it doesn’t lead to an internship right away.
“If there is a company you’re interested in, just email them because the chances that they’re willing to take on an intern are pretty good,” said Burke. “You could end up with an awesome experience or at least a great contact for the future.”
At each of her many internships over the past few years, Burke has made herself an integral part of the company thanks to the advice of her brother-in-law, Jared Porter ’03. His undergraduate internship with the Red Sox turned into a job with the team, he is someone whose advice Burke takes seriously.
“He told me to make sure they miss you when you leave,” said Burke. “That’s one really good reminder that your work should be so valuable to them that they notice when you’re gone.”