DePaul University Career Center's Blog

DePaul Diaries: Life as a Tech PR Intern

By: Chloe Leuthaeuser, DePaul University communications and media major ‘17

DePaul Diaries is a day-in-the-life blog series written by DePaul students. The series unveils DePaulians’ experiences as interns in their field of choice. Students share their honest thoughts about their experiences, what they learned as an intern and advice for students who are interested in the same field.

The last three months as a public relations intern in San Francisco at MSLGroup have been a whirlwind. But, as the popular saying goes, all good things must come to an end, including internships. So, what is being a tech PR intern all about? Let me tell you a little bit about living and working in San Francisco.

Applying to internships with a variety of top tier PR firms around Chicago was stressful. But, I honed in on a select few places that really interested me and took my time with those applications. For the MSLGroup application, they asked me to select three locations; I chose Chicago, New York and then went wild and chose San Francisco. To my shock, I got called to take part in their San Francisco Summer Insider’s Challenge Day, which is a fancy name for their internship interview process.

The Challenge Day was an 8-hour group interview with seven people. I was warned it was like a shark tank, so needless to say, I was nervous. However, the morning of the interview, I took a deep breath, went in confident and ended up having fun—I know, I sound crazy. The rest was history; after spring quarter, I moved to San Francisco to embark on a new journey.

As a quick point of reference, MSLGroup is a global PR firm with nine offices in the U.S. and is Publicis Groupe’s strategic communications and engagement company. Each office caters to a different market. So, for example, Detroit works heavily in the automotive industry, New York and Chicago are more in the consumer and corporate industry, and San Francisco is primarily technology.

Due to the niche markets, most of the client teams I worked with were in a technology or healthcare-related field. This was totally new for me—I’m not a tech person! Even though I do not see myself continuing in the tech industry, I learned an incredible amount from my experience. It was well worth stepping outside of my comfort zone to orient myself within the world of technology.

So what did I really do? As you probably hear most PR professionals say, every day is different. And although that was true, I also had regular clients, meetings and assignments. Each morning I would complete several industry news searches for clients, sweep for recent client coverage, and update a series of metric grids. Throughout the day I attended internal and client meetings—taking notes and absorbing everything I could—and completed a series of ongoing projects such as blog posts, briefing books, media lists, new business research, and even a video series!

What was the best part of my internship? Exploring a new city was incredible, but internship-wise, working closely with the managing director of the western region/global strategy lead on a series of impact videos definitely takes the cake. My fellow intern and I were given full control over a video series that was promoted to California legislators to garner their vote on a critical piece of housing legislation. We went to the interviews, transcribed content, drafted storyboards, wrote scripts, came up with social media plans, and offered suggestions for the final cut. You can check out the final video here!

What were the top things I learned? Well, if I were to boil it down, I think these are my biggest takeaways:

  • You can learn something from every experience and every person
  • A positive attitude will get you far
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone to try something different is worth it
  • Your hard work will not go unnoticed, so give every task your best no matter how small or trivial the assignment may seem

Want to learn more about Chloe’s internship experiences and career exploration? Connect with her on LinkedIn!


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