Intern-view: Anissa Villaverde on Ogilvy & Mather

Welcome to another episode of Intern-view, where The Border Collective interviews former interns of interesting and cool places and where we ask what’s their advice for the next batch of interns.

Please note that any company featured in this series is in no way endorsed by and from TBC. No one’s advocating that you should go intern at our featured places. We just thought that these people had stories and projects that were great to share.

Today’s episode will be introduced by Bea Pelayo, featuring Anissa Villaverde who interned at Ogilvy and Mather.

Thanks for reading and hope Bea and Anissa wrote something useful for you!

Bea: We often hear about beauty and brains, but how awesome would it be if we add humor and wit to the mix? Anissa Villaverde is just that!

I first met Issa when she was applying to join the UP Advertising Core almost three years ago, and we later on became orgmates in that org and in the UP Association of Business Administration Majors. In both these orgs, she’s known for her creative prowess both in graphics and words.

I remember her saying that she’s often mistaken as a masungit, posh girl… But when she starts talking she’s actually jologs or jej. 😀

Whenever you talk to her, you just can’t help but laugh because of how witty she is. Wanna bet? Just look at her Twitter timeline–choose one random tweet and tell me you didn’t chuckle!

Anissa just graduated with honors from BS Business Administration at UP Diliman and last June-July 2015, she interned at Ogilvy & Mather Philippines! When asked about random facts about herself + what’s her dream job for her intro, Anissa true to her funny self replied

“I don’t know what would sound good, I haven’t won in any international competitions and I don’t have any madrama backstories, pero there I’ll give you interesting (sana haha) options.

  1. I’m quite in touch with my creative side! I Iove making music (most of the time with my uke), I’m learning graphic design and digital illustration, and just recently I learned basic street dance. (So ayan, all bases covered haha)
  2. I’m working towards my goal of becoming a Twitter celebrity (but I’m not funny enough yet HAHAHA, 600 RTs pa lang highest ko I think haha) My tweets are usually composed of rants, lame puns, or memes I make out of my friends’ funny pictures.
  3. I’ve been seen on TV twice in my life (tas very proud na ko dun haha).
    1. on an old local talkshow called MRS: Most Requested Show when I was around 7 years old (just a cameo tho), and
    2. on a local news program called Jessica Soho’s State of the Nation when I was in 3rd Year college since we created a Valentine’s Survival Kit that went viral online (ahy hellew Bea haha).
  4. I was head of the promotions team for UP Fair 2016 and one of our proudest moments was having to put up in 2 billboards along EDSA! (My FA teammates kasi have been told that once you have your work put up along EDSA, you’ve made it.)
  5. I’m currently managing a business with my friends that’s all about creative, unusual, and affordable organizing solutions. It started out as a class project but we’re planning on growing it. It’s still in the works but you can visit our page here:

… Well, I don’t have a clear vision on what my dream job would be. I just know that, whatever it is, I want to be doing something creative, where I can cause people to take action with what I come up with.

So I guess you can put “Creator”? (wuw god pala ganun.) or “Creative”? (“Creative Mover”? “Creative Leader?” HAHAHA tsar yuck baka creative na lang pero ayun i’m sorry if it’s too general.)”

Enough introductions, here’s Anissa Villaverde on her Ogilvy and Mather internship.

How did you find and pick this internship?

I wasn’t sure yet what career path was for me but I knew that Advertising was the industry I wanted to be in. At the time, Ogilvy & Mather was my dream company since they came up with some of my favorite international ads.

Plus, I’ve been to their office and had gotten a glimpse of how they worked through a field trip organized by my org, UP AdCore, and I just knew that I wanted to work there.

I sent in my resume and they contacted me months later. I didn’t expect that they would call since it took so long for them to reply but I was really glad that they did. That’s how my 2-month stint as an account management intern started. 

Related: What’s The Difference Between a CV and a Resume?

Why did you choose to intern?

Originally, it was to fulfil a requirement. It was mainly so I can have it credited as an elective. Eventually, after hearing from my friends how value-adding their internship experiences were, even though they weren’t necessarily from advertising internships,

I became motivated to intern just for the learning experience.

I wanted to see if I could acquire skills or knowledge that might help me in school or org work as well. Also, I wanted to have first-hand experience on the yuppie life so I’d know what to expect after graduation and how to adjust my life once I start working and all.

A picture with my bosses, Macy and Ello, on my 2nd to the last day of internship. 🙂

How was the experience of applying and being interviewed for the internship?

Like I said earlier, Ogilvy was my dream company so the wait was excruciating for me, especially with the added pressure of all my other friends and batch mates getting their internships already. I was about to lose hope when suddenly they emailed me back and called me in for an interview the very next day.

I’ve already been to a couple of internship interviews beforehand so that’s what I was preparing for, but my first interview was quite different, it was a pleasant surprise. It was with the HR specialist handling the interns and the interview felt more like a casual conversation.

After breezing through all the typical resume questions, we shifted to talking about Game of Thrones (at the time, the 9th episode of Season 4 just came out so it was an exciting discussion).

After the interview, I was told that if I passed, they would call me in for another interview, this time it was with one of the superiors at the department where I was to be assigned. I was halfway home that night when I got the call and I couldn’t hide my excitement. 

The second interview though was quite different from the first. I thought it was going to be as fun and casual as the previous one but I was caught off guard. I don’t want to give away all the details of that interview in case anyone was to read this and was planning to apply, I want you to suffer too (haha).

Let’s just say I was asked one of those “Sell me this pen” type questions and failed miserably. I was given only 2 minutes to think and I ended up just rambling awkwardly and, God, was it painful.

But I guess I did well enough to pass or it’s possible they saw some potential in me because I got the job and I was to start immediately the next week! I was so excited and grateful.

Only some people are lucky enough to be accepted in their dream company right away. 

Related: 14.5 Things You Didn’t Realize Had Resume Value

What would you say were the skills you needed when you applied? Did you pick up any new skills throughout your internship?

I’d have to say that time management and people skills were probably the most essential. 

Being an account manager, it was basically your job for everyone to do their job right, and at the same time keep the client happy. You’re managing different accounts, different teams, different tasks all at once so it’s important that you know how to manage your time.

You have to memorize everyone’s deadlines and make sure everything gets pushed out on time. This was definitely a struggle for me because I’m not the most organized person and I don’t get along well with deadlines, but you get the hang of it as you go on.

I still missed quite a few deadlines during my internship but thankfully my boss was very understanding. Because of that I picked up a few organization tips that I was also able to apply when I came back to school. I had a new found appreciation for Google Calendar. 

Dealing with different people and gauging their personalities was also a bit of a struggle for me, especially when it came to clients and creatives. With clients, you have to tread very carefully because you have to maintain a professional relationship with them and try to keep them happy (or at least try not to piss them off).

One of the favorite skills that I picked up from the internship was actually making formal letters and emails. It’s not that exciting, I know, but at the time I struggled in sounding “professional” and phrasing my thoughts the proper way.

It used to take me hours to come up with a formal-sounding email but now I can just fart it out in seconds.

It was definitely more fun dealing with my colleagues at work since Ogilvy had a very fun and casual environment. What I found to be a challenge was asking creatives to rush or revise their work.

Some creatives can be a bit stubborn, or they could have so many things on their plate so I learned the right way to ask for work that won’t offend them. I was able to use these tips in my future projects where I took on leadership positions. 

Having a basic knowledge on marketing, market research, and branding was definitely helpful as well since account managers are also responsible in ensuring that the output is inline with the brand.

Also, having presentation and design skills were a bonus since I was tasked to do decks or slides for presenting to clients. Attention to detail was also very crucial because files had to be perfect before they was sent to the client, or especially to the ASC (Ad Standards Council).

Related: “My boss ghosted me, what do I do?” – #DearTBC

Another lunch day with a better quality photo.

What was your expectation for the internship? How did the actual experience compare?

The internship experience was as fun and enjoyable as I had expected, but I did not anticipate the amount of stress that came with it.

The workload was unpredictable. There were days where I was just chill, but there were more days where the to-do list just kept on getting longer. There were days that I can go home before 5pm and there were days that I had to stay past 7pm and even take some work home. It was such a demanding job.

Still, I wouldn’t have it any other way because I believe that the stress is one of the things that contributes to the fun organizational culture that the office had. People were losing their minds together and they were trying to make work bearable by playing gags on each other, having surprise dance breaks, or just simply making each other laugh. The fun work environment makes up for the really stressful days.

I was also surprised how friendly and casual working relationships were. I knew ad agencies had a bit of an informal environment but I still thought that it would be still similar to a corporate setting, where there was still distance between you and your superiors. Instead, they treated us interns as they would their other co-workers.

I didn’t call anyone “Ma’am” or “Sir”, in fact my boss didn’t allow me to use those words in the office. We were discouraged to use “po” even when talking to our superiors.

We were encouraged to ask questions and my bosses and other colleagues were always very willing to help out, even when they have a lot of work on their own. It’s great to work in such a collaborative environment like that. This really made the internship a great learning experience.

Related: Intern-view: Nicole Wong on Christian Dior

My first print ad photoshoot!

What did you do during your internship? What kinds of tasks and projects were you given? Did you volunteer to take on a task yourself?

Essentially, the account manager is the liaison between the client and the agency so most of my work revolved around communicating what the client wants to the team assigned to execute them and presenting the outputs to the client.

I was tasked to handle the accounts of 5 brands (Athena, Vistaland, Clearascar, Mang Tomas, Qantas, Conzace) from very different industries, each with different executions so I can’t explain them all in detail I guess.

In terms of communicating to clients, I gave them outputs from creatives or community managers for their approval, gave them updates on the progress of certain materials or how the campaigns were performing, and prepared the necessary documents for them to review and sign.

As for communicating with agency colleagues, I brief the creatives and community managers about what the client wants and give them direction for their output. I also critique their work and ensure that it is in line with the brief and the brand, remind everyone of their tasks and deliverables and ensure that it is done on time, and I’ve also participated in brainstorming meetings. I was able to work closely with the creatives and some of the production interns and it was fun seeing their work as well.

I also dealt with other external entitites like the ASC (Ad Standards Council) by preparing ASC application forms for certain materials, I made progress reports and kept record on the different projects I had going on, and I did quite a number of presentation decks. I was also exposed to parts of the ad creation process like pre-production meetings and photoshoots.

That’s basically the summary of it. There were times that I’ve done work that weren’t really part of the tasks I was assigned to do since I wanted to help out my boss, but they weren’t really full-on projects.

What would you say were the best parts about your internship?

I think the best parts of my internships would have to be getting to see behind-the-scenes of different ads, which was one of the reasons why I wanted an internship in advertising.

Getting to be in pre-production meetings, seeing the studies, scripts, and the storyboards get revised, getting to be in an actual photoshoot for a print ad (and seeing incredibly attractive male models up close for the first time); those were what made the job more exciting for me.

And this was not just for the accounts I was handling; I was interested even with the brands my co-interns were handling and it was fun learning new things from them. I loved getting to see all the work that gets put into the creation of one ad before it gets released into the world.

Some of the best parts of my internship were just simple moments in the office where everyone was just laughing and fooling around. There was a time where a group of people just danced to “Watch Me (Whip/Nae-nae)” out of the blue.

There was one day where everyone was sending funny videos to each other and the whole office would watch it on just one computer. There was also just one chill day where everyone was just doing their work on their own computer while listening and singing along to one Spotify playlist that was playing “jologs” songs on full blast. I cherished those simple moments.

Related: Intern-view: Arby Cuevas on Globe Telecom

What would you say were the worst parts about your internship (or interning in general)?

I guess I would consider my work screw-ups to be the worst parts. There were times where I missed deadlines, sent things with typos, or just times where I know I could have done better with my output. I just felt bad that I was disappointing my boss, but I know that I should take these as learning opportunities and use them to improve myself, which I believe I did.

Most of the worst parts however didn’t involve the actual work as much. It had more to do with the financial and logistical things that went into interning like transportation. Commuting to and from work was such a hassle, not to mention expensive.

There was also the problem of where to eat for lunch. My co-workers and co-interns always wanted to eat out and the cheapest option available was fast-food. It’s either you’re unhealthy or you’re broke.

The yuppie life is expensive.

If you could go back in time to the first day of your internship, what is one piece of advice you would have given yourself?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. That fear of screwing up actually caused you to screw up. Step up and show initiative.

Related: Intern-view: Earl Viray on Nestle Philippines

What was the most interesting thing you did at your internship?

Not sure if this counts but I think the most interesting thing I did at my internship wasn’t actually work-related.

Since my first day, I was live tweeting all the funny things that I was overhearing at the office (with #OverheardInternshipEdition), most of the quotes coming from my boss (she’s really funny).

My boss discovered it right away and apparently shared it with her friends. I only found out that she knew about the tweets on my third day of work when one of her friends something funny during lunch and she turned to me and said “Oh, ano? I-ttweet mo rin yan?” I thought she and her friends would be mad about it but they actually found them funny and encouraged me to keep tweeting. That same day, she followed me on Twitter.

My coffee mug series. I tried to use all the Ogilvy mugs at least once before my internship ended pero I got to use 8 lang. Not sure how many there were tho.

What would you say was your greatest learning from interning?

Passion over pagod.

When you’re doing something you really love with people who are just as passionate about it as you are, you won’t mind all the stress. I chose this internship over an internship in a top FMCG company and I had no regrets (even if the other one paid an allowance).

I knew that I wanted to be in advertising so I went with my gut and chose Ogilvy.

No matter how stressful work was getting or how exhausted I felt once I got home, I always had a sense of fulfillment, especially when I come across an ad by one of the brands I handle.

I also had a newfound admiration for ad people after my internship because I don’t know why else they would stay in such a hectic environment if they didn’t really love what they were doing. I was stressed AF and my workload wasn’t even half of theirs.

Related: What do I need to research before going into an interview?

What advice would you give anybody who wants or is about to start interning?

An internship is actually a time machine in such a way that it lets you experience for a while what your future may be after you graduate college.

By interning, you’ll be able to see how you’ll fit into the workplace and how difficult the yuppie life is. It’s a great way to prepare you for your actual future career because no matter where you intern, you’ll definitely learn a lot. It’s best that you do what your passionate about because that will make the learning experience more worthwhile.

Although, if you’re still not sure what your passion is, interning may be a way for you to figure that out.

If you’re struggling to get an internship, don’t lose hope. Don’t let the rejections discourage you. Ask for feedback from the recruiter if you can, that way you can improve yourself for the next interview. You’ll find your match soon. Parang love lang ‘yan.

If you actually have multiple offers, don’t go for one just because it has higher pay or just because the location is more convenient. Be in it for the learning experience. Think of your internship as an investment so, as much as possible, go for the one that you really want to do, one that you feel will bring out the best in you.

Do you have anything else you want to share with the readers?

I hope I made sense HAHA. If I was able to help (or kahit entertain lang) at least one reader out there, that would be enough for me.

If you’re one of my bosses or previous co-workers, oh my lorde please don’t read everything you’re probably judging me right now stop hahahahahahaha bye

And that’s it from Anissa for today’s Intern-view! Personally, I found it eye-openingly informative about ad agencies and the culture inside them because I had a skewed perception of them, thanks to Mad Men.

In case you have no idea where you are, welcome to The Border Collective, where any question you’ve got on internships, resumes, or careers in the PH can and will be answered. I’m Justine, founder and writer of all things here.

In case you have no idea where you are, welcome to The Border Collective, where any question you’ve got on internships, resumes, or careers in the PH can and will be answered. I’m Justine, founder and writer of all things here.

Intern-view is a whole category where we ask people who’ve interned at other places here in Manila to share their experiences and advice for anyone and everyone’s reading. Hopefully from their experiences you’ll feel like there’s a lot more possibilities out there. We want you to feel like sky’s the limit for you!

If you know someone with a cool story to share or you want to volunteer for Intern-view, check down below on how to reach out to us! Hope we can feature more places that gave out great internship experiences~

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Hope you read something useful, til the next time we feature someone on Intern-view, bye~

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