One of the major events that most young men anticipate when they first arrive at Morehouse is their first internship.
I received my first internship offer from Tantrum Agency.
For ten weeks, I was integrated fully into the team and given full access to agency resources. Over those ten weeks, I also developed friendships with coworkers, received feedback from my superiors and dealt with the frustration of the uncertainty in the creative industry, but most importantly—for the first time ever— I was treated like a fully-grown and responsible adult.
In my first week, I had the opportunity to go to two award ceremonies: the Titan 100, which honored David as one of the top 100 CEOs and C-level executives in the region, and the American Marketing Association Awards, where Tantrum was honored for its work with the Alma Domestic Violence Foundation.
There are two experiences, however, that are the pinnacle of my time at Tantrum.
The first: my time spent with Tantrum client ARC. The ARC experience was valuable because it showed me the value of hard work and networking. My conversations with ARC’s co-founder Lorne Clark and his team showed me that even the people we see on tv and with all this money still need people to help them. Lorne is the financial manager for Blake Griffin, CJ McCollum and a host of other players. In an industry where it is so easy to succumb to temptation, ARC has made it their mission to protect and extend the futures of young talented BLACK athletes.
Next, having the opportunity to support the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA), another Tantrum client, with its high school pitch competition. I was initially assigned to create the name tags and program for the event, but ended up representing Tantrum as a judge for its NBMBAA case competition. Although I had to get up at six in the morning for the competition, witnessing the dedication and hard work of these young black high school students in completing this case was not only motivating but also gave me a fresh perspective on the importance of the work we do, no matter how menial it may seem.
My ten weeks at Tantrum allowed me to learn and grow exponentially, through challenging my hard and soft skills.
I learned the value of professionalism, how to ask questions that force people to think further and what creative thinking looks like. I also learned the difference between school and work, because this was my first job as well as my first summer in Atlanta by myself. When I began this internship, I was lost on the expectations of what a job truly expected. I understood I had to deliver but didn’t know what that truly meant. The main difference between school and work that I learned most this summer was accountability. While school holds you responsible, a job holds you accountable. This meant that I had to hold myself to a higher standard that didn’t have the same leniency as a student.
Another challenge I experienced is what I considered circular conversations. Being from a math background, I am used to logical and sequential thinking and conversation that does not leave room for uncertainty. In the design industry, there a lot of meetings and the question that came up repeatedly for me after those meetings was, “So what’s next?” The summer taught me that the design industry is filled with uncertainty and the "What’s next?" question will always seem unanswered. You can never truly know how something makes someone feel no matter how cool or perfect you may think it is. This forced me to become comfortable with uncertainty and not having a solution every time.
My biggest growth came when I stepped outside of my personal pride and began to acknowledge the areas where I lacked. This allowed me to focus on growing those areas while simultaneously showcasing the skills I knew were my strong suits. I not only had to acknowledge my weaknesses but understand what it truly meant to be a life-long learner. Especially as a Morehouse man, I must have the ability to lead but also be led at times.
One of the major assumptions that I had coming into this internship was that creative processes was controlled by the creatives. Much like any other industry, there is always someone who may have no experience but feel they can do your job better than you. Coming into this, I assumed that companies allowed David’s previous work speak for itself and trust his creative process. But in my experience here, I have made the conclusion that the biggest threat to any company’s success is the people who don’t see the chance for growth.
These assumptions were reinforced but provided perspective to the amount of reviews and processes that it takes for a company to develop and claim a brand identity. These challenges to my assumptions helped me learn how to creatively think and push questions in order to understand what people/clients want.
So, I would like to express my deep gratitude to David Tann for not only taking a risk on me but also making it his goal to prevent my failure and thoroughly exposing me to all aspects of his firm. I was the organization's first intern, and I will always be appreciative to David and his staff for believing in me. I came into this internship with a desire to learn and an "end" objective, but I had no idea how to get there. My summer with Tantrum helped me grow enormously professionally and personally.