By Christopher Lane
Close your eyes (but keep reading) and imagine that you are a new intern—crazy I know—and you have just been given the opportunity to work for the greatest online education company. You do not have to run and get coffee. You do not wear a shirt that says “I am an intern, nice to not meet you too.” Instead you are treated like a king/queen and given trust in a huge social mission to bring affordable online education to all!
Now open them. Wow, you daydream about interning at StraighterLine too?
Hi! My name is Christopher – you can call me Chris – and I am currently living the dream as the new marketing intern at StraighterLine. My calendar entry for the very first day was quite normal – aside from the bold letters, stars, italics, ALL CAPITALS, red circles, and overuse of exclamation points – as I counted down the days to starting my internship. But why should you care? Because it was better than the dream! I walked into the StraighterLine office with only one agenda, to impress and be ready to work. However, working was not on my schedule for the first day. Instead my day began with a scavenger hunt.
This is where it gets interesting, hold on to your dream caps!
Task 1 – 9am: Before I could even say “affordable online college courses,” I was told of my first undertaking. Two women entered the conference room with smiles and a look of mystery washed across their faces; they were Christine and Alex from the marketing team. Whispers from Christine of “Should we wait?” and Alex’s reply of “We should tell him now,” were easily overheard, since I was less than two feet away. They told me: my assignment was to complete a scavenger hunt by talking to every employee in the office! Without considering the potentially long conversations I would have along the way with interesting employees, I said to myself, “Self, this scavenger hunt will be finished in no time!”
Task 2 – Noon: Halfway through the scavenger hunt, I stumbled upon a clue that read: Talk to me if you want lunch. I was soon invited to a new-intern getaway at any place of my choosing! At this point, I was in shock at how much the StraighterLine team cares about their colleagues. This caring company culture extends beyond the office and is even highlighted by StraighterLine student testimonials. My supervisor Lisa, Christine, Alex, and I sat down to eat and chat about the company. Trying not to ask TOO many questions, I learned about the self-paced flexibility of StraighterLine courses, the substantial convenience of transferring college credits, and how much money people really save by jumpstarting a college degree with StraighterLine. I was so focused on the conversation that I only managed to finish HALF of my pizza sub before it was time to venture back.
Task 3 – 3pm: In attempting to complete my scavenger hunt, I witnessed the busyness of the employees in the office. Providing daily improvement and customer support for online college courses is not an easy task. So, I decided to put on my proactive intern hat and began researching, analyzing marketing data, and brainstorming for future projects. I love this place! After discovering many facts and observing operations, it is clear that StraighterLine does so much to ensure student success! Apologies for the sudden burst of energy, but really! I overheard a Student Advisor converse with a prospective student on the benefits of enrolling in StraighterLine courses, witnessed the surprising analytics of how many students take advantage of the StraighterLine free trial, and was able to sit in on my first marketing meeting where the hot topic was enhancing user experience!
To make a long story even shorter than the enrollment process, I did not fully complete the scavenger hunt. Everyone was so willing to chat with the intern and express in detail how much they loved their jobs. And just as an FYI, I met Burck Smith, the CEO of StraighterLine. His humility that made me feel so relaxed, and his passion for affordable education, that inspired me even more to be the best intern that ever was, is a clear representation of why the staff is so kind and dedicated.
In other exciting news, I finished the second half of my pizza sub on the ride home. After getting back to my house I was looking forward to learn new marketing information and vocabulary, but could not fight off the yawning and lengthy blinks from brain exhaustion. I had consumed so much information: online college courses, StraighterLine bundles, marketing analytics, current projects, job functions, and more than enough employee names. It had become clear that this was not some distant and removed virtual education company. Rather, StraighterLine is a group of real people who care about every individual’s education, better yet, affordable education!
So here I am, a marketing intern, with the opportunity to impact the transforming world of education. The only question is: What will I do with it? With great power, comes great affordability. Stay tuned for future updates on my dream internship at StraighterLine.
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