My internship at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Anthea Thurston
Anthea Thurston, MSc Social Business and Sustainable Marketing

My three month internship at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce has just finished and I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by! I began at the Chamber fresh from my MSc course at Salford Business School where I studied Social Business and Sustainable Marketing.

Of course I was a bundle of nerves on my first day at the Chamber. This was my first time ‘off-book!’ What if I was quizzed in depth on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy or what I thought about Porter’s 5 Forces Model!? Should I bring my notes? What if I forgot everything I’ve learned? Or my name!?

Internship reality

I was easily reassured as soon as I walked through the door of the Chamber where I was welcomed with open arms. The tasks given to me were challenging but I was never made to feel inexperienced or inadequate. My mentors offered me every form of support possible and encouraged me to take on as many learning opportunities as I could. They really tailored my work towards my interests and skills.

You can’t be an expert in everything

I feel that I’ve been able to develop my skills more specifically as I’ve really taken to content writing, social media management, SEO strategy and marketing strategy in general. I am by no means an expert but I’ve been given a lot of confidence in my abilities including what I consider to be one of the most valuable skills: asking for help when I am unsure about something. I think its natural for a lot of people to fear being wrong and often-times people just avoid asking for help because they don’t want to look like they don’t know what they’re doing.

I think I often overcompensate and just assume everything I’m doing is dead wrong, but I think the happiest of mediums is being confident in your skills while acknowledging that you are not perfect and that technology and techniques are constantly changing which means you simply can’t be an expert in everything.

My main project

My main project at the Chamber was creating a promotional strategy for their meeting centre. This involved using SEO techniques to increase the meeting centre website’s Google rank, creating original content for social media for online communications.

Greater Manchester Chamber internship

I had to think about integrating off-line and online communications too – print publications that highlighted the meeting centre as well as managing several social media platforms and using Analytics to monitor my progress. I learned quite a bit from this project and was able to deliver successful results.

Added benefits of my internship

I was also really fortunate to attend some of the many events the Chamber hosts to further networking among the Manchester business community. My favourite was their weekly ‘Action for Business’ event which starts at a bright and shiny 7:30 AM and includes breakfast, networking and speakers from local businesses.

BBC 4 bottom line

On my last day I was able to attend a taping of BBC 4’s ‘The Bottom Line’ which allowed audience members to listen to and participate in a conversation with several key figures in the Northern Powerhouse movement. I’m from the States but I’ve really come to love Manchester and working at the Chamber only made me love it even more. There are so many dedicated and passionate people working incredibly hard to make Manchester more prosperous and better for all residents.

I’ll really miss my work at the Chamber

I’m glad that I’ve been able to be a part of the projects that I’ve been working on.

I think that everything I’ve learned here will help me continue to grow and build my skills in marketing. I’m so grateful for being taken on as an intern and I’m grateful to everyone I’ve met along the way. I feel confident that I’ve been able to build up some experience to help me in my journey to find a career and I’m excited for what lies ahead.

Have you considered taking on an a placement or an internship? See the Salford Business School web page on internships and placements for more information.

Do you have any questions about taking on an internship – tweet me or link up on LinkedIn and I will try and help if I can!