The Unternship: An Unlikely Experience

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Posted: August 4, 9:53 a.m.
by Katie Vette.

Public relations is one of the most competitive industries to date. To land that first entry-level job you not only need to be creative, but you also need to be able to bring a fresh perspective to any challenge that comes your way.

Some of you have clawed your way to the top and graduated with a great position or internship at your dream agency. Then there is the rest of us average Joes who are taking the summer months to find our perfect fits. And guess what? That’s OK.

“My experience with college students […] is that they are stressed out and they are worried about their futures and they are under the impression that they have to follow this very strict path, one step at time, in order to get this perfect job the day you graduate from school,” Golin CEO Fred Cook said.

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Did he just describe every college student, especially graduating seniors? I think so.

Lucky for us, Golin took a stance to break the mold. This year Golin launched the Unternship program, an anti-internship. Around 300 students applied to this program in hopes of being selected to gain real creative and fearless perspective with unlikely life experiences.

Three finalists were chosen to meet senior executives in Chicago and assigned a final surprise test. They were each given $40 and two hours to venture out into the city and make “unlikely experiences.”

The Bean in Millenium Park, Chicago must be one of the best examples of urban sculpture anywhere in the US. It's spectacular during the day but the warped reflections of the city skyline on its mirrored surface at night are truly spectacular.

Akinbola Richardson, who was selected as the winner, took his time to help a homeless man and drive a taxi down Michigan Avenue. Richardson will take on his unique experiences starting in June. He is scheduled to wrestle an alligator, live with the Amish and build houses for the homeless. After these adventures, he will be hired on by Golin as a full-time creative associate, according to a March 31, 2015 PRWeek article.

“I think there’s many different paths to success and I think by following the straight and narrow one you miss a lot of the opportunities and experiences that you might [have] if you had a more interesting route to take in your life,” Cook said.

So, stop being hard on yourself and take it from one of the most successful CEOs in the industry. Stick to the route less taken and do something crazy for the rest of this summer.

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