September 26, 2016
By Annie Dittberner '17
Amanda Baloun spent an entire day in a quaint London coffee shop during her study abroad trip spring semester. But she wasn't studying for a test or enjoying a nice cup of java.
Instead, Baloun situated herself at a corner table as she scoured the Internet for a summer internship.
"All of my roommates kept talking about what their summer plans were and the internships they had," she said. "And I realized I didn't have anything. It stressed me out. I had to do something about it."
That's when she saw an open position at Pandora Media.
Baloun, a communication major from Sartell, Minnesota, was one of 80 interns nationwide to be selected among nearly 7,000 applicants as a summer intern for Pandora Media.
Throughout the summer, Baloun worked on various projects for big and small clients. In one particular project, Baloun and her team of coworkers helped market an account for the clementine brand Cuties.
"We basically needed to market to them why it's worth investing in advertising with Pandora," Baloun said.
Baloun then created a deck, or PowerPoint, for the company's contact person. She included different case studies and statistics from similar accounts that had significant success working with Pandora Media.
After the project was finished, Baloun and her team landed the sale.
"I felt like I truly had a hand in making something big happen that day," she said.
Although Baloun worked specifically as a client services intern, Pandora Media's Road Crew Program allowed her to acquire hands-on work experience that helped familiarize her with all different facets of the company.
Through the Road Crew Program, Baloun and other college students and graduates received on-the-job training, mentoring and career-pathing exercises to help them discover their futures at Pandora. Baloun and the other interns also flew out to Pandora's California headquarters for an orientation at the start of the summer.
"I feel like I learned so much and received so much hands on experience," Baloun said. "I don't think I could've received that anywhere else."
"It helped familiarize us with the company, introduce us to Pandora executives, figure out what [Pandora's] mission is and what our intern-specific duties are," Baloun said.
Because Pandora's Minneapolis office is considered a remote location with approximately 20 employees, Baloun was the only intern in the office. She spent her first week completing an online training program that helped her understand industry jargon through media plan tutorials, webinars and podcasts.
"You don't get treated like an intern when you're there," Baloun said. "The training that you go through is exactly what an entry level employee would go through."
Baloun spent most of her days managing client accounts and creating broadcast and digital media plans.
"We had to figure out what kind of ad spots our clients were looking for," Baloun said. "We would ask, 'Do they want audio, video or sponsorship ads?' It was really narrowing down what they want, how much money they want to spend and how to distribute that amongst their demographic or whoever they're targeting."
Baloun also completed a final project at the end of the summer.
"I received a request for proposal, which is essentially a client coming to us and saying, 'What can you do with this much money?' It was my job to take it from start to finish and provide a media plan that I thought would fit best," Baloun said.
From her first media plan to her last, Baloun experienced a range of emotions.
"I was so stressed out my first week," she said. "I didn't understand where numbers were coming from and what these acronyms were. All of this information was getting thrown at me. But at the end of the summer, I was throwing media plans together in five minutes. That felt really rewarding."
And had it not been for CSB and SJU, Baloun says that she might be telling a different story today.
"I don't think I would've ever been able to get the internship had I not taken the communication classes I've had here that have prepared me so well," she said. "Being a Bennie, you have the biggest network. Going forward, I know that I have soundboard of professors, classmates and friends who will support me."