Account Management: the most self-explanatory department in an agency, right?
Four months ago, I would have whole heartedly answered yes. This is the story of why that answer is wrong.
Four months ago, my perspective on the inner workings of an agency was limited. Regardless of my senior status as a PR and ad student at Chapman, advertising is a world one can’t fully grasp until entering it. My interest in pursuing an internship stemmed from my desire to learn, first-hand, what it meant to work in advertising.
My textbook understanding of account management, upon starting in my role, was as follows: account management is the middle man between the client and the agency, managing all communication between the two entities.
This one, bland, generic sentence is the reason my former self, and so many others, misunderstand the importance of the department. It is the reason my fellow student’s write it off as a back-up plan if their creative dreams don’t work out.
This pursuit of furthering my education led me to Amusement Park, a company I had admired from afar since my freshman year of college. My “Intro to Advertising” class took a tour of the building, and I vividly remember seeing the values plastered on the pink-painted walls: joy, fearlessness, character, diversity, imagination and belief.
These six words resonated with me, and I admired Amusement Parks commitment to upholding them. For me to feel fulfilled, my work environment must have a deeper purpose, and I immediately saw that at AP. I told my freshman self that one day I would step through the old city hall doors as more than just a student on tour.
When that time came four months ago, I jumped on the opportunity to join the Account Management team.
My time here has taught me that account management deserves much more than the lackluster one-liner it has being labeled as.
Account management requires strategic thinking. It requires the ability to communicate meaning, goals and objectives to thinkers of all styles. It requires problem solving, courageous conversations, and time management like you have never seen before.
During my time at Amusement Park, I have seen the magic in account management. I have heard difficult problems being solved and business solutions being created. I have met a team full of hard-working, pedal-to-the-medal kind of people.
At some companies, it is easy for interns to get lost in the shuffle or feel like you are not making an impact. Not here. At Amusement Park, there are no limits. and that is true for every person regardless of title.
In four months, I have had endless opportunities to grow. I sat on a panel for CHOC’s “Patched” film and discussed my contribution alongside creative directors. I researched food industry trends and created competitive decks for Wienerschnitzel, and even got to help on set… twice! I used my passion for floral arrangements and created over 100 for our holiday party. I organized and prepared materials for KBIS, structured Dole copy for website translation, and so much more.
At Amusement Park, I have grown as a professional, a student, and a future member of the advertising world.
But most importantly, I have learned from my department role models that account management is not self-explanatory. It is not boring, it does not lack creativity and it definitely is not a backup plan. It is multi-teared, and in my humble opinion, the secret-sauce of the agency.
In world where there are endless options, stellar secret sauce it is what takes the experience to the next level and keeps customers coming back for more. It is essential to the business, yet hard to accurately capture unless you have experienced it first-hand.
All the same could be said for account management.
My internship has shown me what ingredients are necessary to create some pretty special sauce. My only wish is that the importance of this department wasn’t a secret. They deserve recognition for all they put in, what it creates, and how it effects the business.
You see, the more we understand the people around us, and what their life entails, the better we can work together and the more supportive our world becomes. I firmly believe this sentiment is crucial in the work environment.
The next time you want to use one sentence to explain account management, or any department for that matter, I encourage you to think beyond the textbook answer. Expand your knowledge and talk to someone actually doing it.
And if you so happen to be interested in account management, whether as an intern or full-time, I have some advice for you.
Be present. Absorb all that goes on each and every day. Push the limits you have placed on yourself. This department requires skills; talk to the people around you and learn. Most importantly, never be afraid to ask questions. Everything you experience is a new tool; don’t ever pass up and opportunity to learn.
Four months of asking questions, exploring my curiosity, and deepening my education has left me more inspired than any textbook answer could have ever explained. This experience has been a highlight of my college career, and I will be forever grateful for how all I have gained at Amusement Park.