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Lessons Learned at DSM: A Letter From The Interns

Dear DSM,

Hey. It’s us, the interns. As the summer comes to an end, we thought it was time to put our pens to paper (figuratively, of course, because who even writes actual letters anymore) and share what we’ve learned during our time at DSM. We can all attest to the fact that working here has been the best learning experience, in more ways than one. So, we wanted to come up with a way to say thank you for teaching, guiding and motivating us every day. Here’s our letter to you.

Oh, and by the way, thanks for never making us go get you coffee.


Lesson Learned: Culture Matters.

I learned more about marketing and business during my internship here than I did in all of college. As you might have guessed, college was a lot more expensive. As an intern on the digital team here, I got first-hand experience helping run social campaigns, building websites, analyzing data and so much more.

The most important lesson I learned at DSM was how important culture is to the success of an organization. Everyone at DSM is incredibly friendly and supportive and is motivated to do great work. The terrific culture here makes me enjoy coming into the office every day and motivates me to work even harder to contribute to the team.


Lesson Learned: Apparently, you shouldn’t come into work the day after your 21st birthday.

It’s difficult to sum up my experience at DSM in a few words. Maybe that’s because one can only fully understand why DSM is such a special place by experiencing what it means to work here first-hand. I could speak endlessly to how much I’ve learned about inbound marketing, digital marketing, content creation, account management (the list goes on and on) during my time here. While I’ve gained an immeasurable and invaluable amount of knowledge in the field from my internship at DSM, the most important lesson I’ve learned goes beyond the logistics of marketing and advertising. It has to do with life.

The most important lesson I’ve learned at DSM is that, apparently, you shouldn’t come into work the day after your 21st birthday. No, seriously. Let me explain.

Hard work is incredibly valued here, but so is fun. Without the right balance, work becomes a chore and not a job you truly enjoy going to every day. I constantly try my best to put in the extra effort wherever needed, and sometimes even when it’s not needed, like coming in the day after my 21st birthday. Will anyone drink to that?

DSM has taught me that going the extra mile is always appreciated and will always pay off. However, sometimes you just have to sit down, have a jam sesh with the team and remember to enjoy yourself along the way. Most of the time, that’s how the best ideas emerge – from pure, unadulterated creativity and collaboration.

At DSM, I’ve learned that work is a place where fun can and should be had. Honestly, I think that right there is what makes DSM different, what makes it tick. They work hard and they play hard because, in the end, that’s how you keep going. That’s how you get s**t done.


Lesson Learned: Walk in every day with a smile and never turn down an opportunity, challenge, or chance to learn something new. Keep an open (and creative) mind!

Every morning I walked into DSM with the mindset that I’d be learning something new, which was usually the case. I can’t pick only one thing that I learned, because I feel like I gained knowledge and insight all the time. Keeping an open mind is one lesson that helped me because when you’re open to facing new tasks, challenges and opportunities, you give yourself the potential to grow and strengthen your skill set and understanding. This was possible at DSM; the spirited work environment full of encouragement and optimism has really inspired me. Yes, college is important. But, this summer I learned how to apply classroom concepts to my work while also enjoying each day, meeting talented people and getting an educational experience I won’t forget.

DSM’s cheerful culture balances fun, laughter and hard work. This, along with their devotion to supporting one another and working as a solid team, is what has made such a great environment for a rising college senior like me to explore the marketing world and find her way.

The hands-on exposure to different projects has opened my eyes and taught me an incredible amount about the digital, social and creative processes that all go into marketing. I learned what SEO means and I even learned how to write a blog about the latest trends in the cannabis industry. Prior to now, I had no clue how all of these things worked. I feel like I got a behind the scenes crash course that couldn’t have happened in a classroom.

DSM has taught me what it means to be a team player. I’ve learned that it’s important to build strong bonds with those around you because, in the end, teamwork makes the dream work. As cliché as it sounds, it’s true. I look around and see how well everyone works together, and this is something I admire. The fact that everyone genuinely loves being here motivates me to work harder and contribute more. Around here, hard work is appreciated and striving to achieve more is never discouraged. There’s always a constant flow of stellar ideas. This energy and enthusiasm have taught me to embrace creativity and idea creation, even if something may seem a little far-fetched.


Lesson Learned: Your coworkers and bosses are people, too.

With three summers of internships under my belt, I awaited my start at DSM feeling different. As a 21-year-old, looking forward to a summer of hard work and lessons to be learned can feel stressful and even a bit intimidating. This was never the case with DSM. I even remember calling my mom after my interview and explaining, that was the first fun one I’ve ever had in my life.

Yes, I was guilty of fangirling over the agency each spring during the application process, but in all fairness, I knew there was something special about DSM.

Flash forward to five months later and almost three months with the team, these feelings haven’t faded away. I feel like I’m gushing from the honeymoon phase of a new relationship but it’s true. I’ve had so many moments at DSM where I realize how different this experience is from what I had expected from my internship and really, any job. Every day, I’m given the opportunity to prove and better myself by working on projects that matter to me, our clients and the agency as a whole. Work has, strangely enough, become something I look forward to on a day-to-day basis and for that, I’m extremely lucky.

A huge part of this has to do with the people, my coworkers and bosses (their dogs too). They’ve managed to break down the whole interns are at the bottom of the food chain stigma for me. I know that my voice is always heard by the amount of respect and value that my ideas and work are regarded with. Our small team feels more like a family than a bunch of people who have decided to clock in their 9-5s at the same place. My coworkers aren’t just stock characters in the backdrop of my life. I know about their families, drink preferences and top picks for The Bachelorette. On a serious note, they’ve helped me understand that people above me on the employee totem pole are at their core, people just like me. No need for the nerves.


Lesson Learned: People often say that you’ll gain more experience on the job than you will in school. That was definitely the case at DSM.

From the very start, I was given actual projects that would go on to be used for clients’ brand identities, print ads, and websites. Knowing that my work would be seen and used in the real world gave me a sense of pride and responsibility you can’t find in school. This gave me confidence in my work and the ability to meet and exceed the expectations of a client.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned here is the value of working under a deadline. At school, professors would assign projects with due dates so far-off that procrastination was inevitable. During my first few assignments here at DSM, I saw the scope of the project and its due date and began to freeze. I feared I was in over my head and that I wasn’t experienced enough to complete certain tasks on time or up to the clients’ standards.

With constant effort, guidance, critiques and a few youtube tutorials, I was able to complete these tasks, creating better work, more efficiently each time than the last. I quickly learned how much was possible if time was utilized in the most productive way. Projects at school that would take half a semester could be completed at DSM in just a fraction of the time, with better work as a result. My confidence in completing a given project has gone up exponentially as my skills have improved and the expectations placed on me have been increased.

After a few months here, I feel I’ve gained a substantial amount of work to add to my portfolio. The guidance I’ve received here has taught me the best practice for getting things done the right way. The support and influence I’ve seen here at DSM make me excited to work in this field in the future. I’m happy to have been able to contribute to such fun projects. It’s exciting to watch these projects come to life and know that I was involved in the process that led to them.

Well, DSM, after reading this you’ve probably realized how great you are. Don’t let it get to your heads now, but just know that you’ve provided us all with an internship experience like no other. Here’s to the future. Here’s to you.

– The Interns


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