Working at NBCUniversal is no small feat. With hundreds of applicants waiting to get their foot in the door, the network’s Campus 2 Career program stands as one of the most competitive entertainment internships to land. Especially in Los Angeles.

Maggie Cannan

Yet, for as difficult as it is to enter their ranks, I was hardly surprised to learn that Maggie Cannan had done so. Maggie is a recent graduate of Emerson, having completed her degree as of December 2017 in our VMA program. For those who have just met Maggie, she comes across as one of the nicest people you could meet. For those who have known Maggie for a while, you know just how funny and personable she can be.

I recently spoke with Maggie about her experience in the International Studios department at NBC where she worked as a Scripted Development Intern. Here are just a few snippets from our conversation:

What was it that drew you to this internship?

The way I found it was really interesting. I had actually applied for a different position at NBC and I interviewed for that and hadn’t heard anything. And then, about a week after my interview – I was interviewing for Cable Entertainment there – I got an email from the supervisor of the department I wound up working in, which was International Studios, and she said that she had seen my resume and was interested in bringing me in for an interview.

So I met with her and some of the team and they all seemed really great. Honestly, this was a position that I hadn’t really considered during the application process because I felt like I didn’t know a whole lot about international markets and I wasn’t sure what an internship in that department would really entail.

But it turned out that International Studios is kind of a separate production entity within NBC. So, like, they make shows for both the US and abroad so not everything we did was exclusive to international audiences. It was kind of a combination of interests I already had like screenwriting and development but it was also a fantastic opportunity to gain interests I didn’t originally have as I learned more about international markets. It was a cool blending of things I knew and things I didn’t.

Was this position veered in the distribution side of things?

No, it was all development! And that’s what I was worried about when I heard from their department. I thought, ‘Oh, maybe this is more distribution geared and trying to find the right markets for these shows.’ But basically their division develops these [shows] specifically for certain regions. And it’s really interesting – they actually have certain deals with certain markets to develop things like American procedurals. I guess these markets have a sort of need for these shows so our work helps develop and produce them.

What was it that drew you to NBC specifically?

I had applied to NBC two times before for Summer internships. Each time I applied I got one step further. The first time I applied I heard nothing at all and the second time I applied I got to the first round of video interviews and didn’t hear anything. But the third time I got the actual opportunity to move forward.

What did you like about working there?

I really enjoyed my time there. I think it was the fact that, even though I was at a big company, the team was very small and inclusive. It was about 12 people total working full-time and there were two other interns so I really felt like I got to know everyone pretty well. They really encouraged interns to go beyond their outlined responsibilities but not in a way that felt like, ‘Oh, we could hire someone to do this but you’re here so why don’t you just take it on.’ It was more like, ‘Let me show you how to be an Assistant and how to set up meetings for executives.’

There was one assistant who got promoted to a management position while I was there and she really took me under her wing. She showed me how to set up meetings and do rolling calls. It was something that really felt like it advanced my skills in a way beyond administrative runs and intern duties.

It seems like the culture there was fairly cooperative and helpful.

Yeah, definitely. There were also, aside from my department, events in the overarching intern program, Campus 2 Career. So we had a meet and greet with all of the other interns at NBC on the west coast so I got to meet people outside of my department as well. They also had interns do a project together by section so I was in a section with all of the International interns (like International Marketing and International Distribution).

I ended up working on a project that we pitched to NBC technological execs about their app. It was something I might have never experienced at another internship.

Was there one experience that stuck out above the others at this internship?

It would probably be the manager who took me under her wing and had me serve as a proxy assistant for a learning experience. I don’t think many other internships that much trust is given and I don’t know if I would have experienced that level of trust somewhere else.

Just, overall, the level of trust bestowed on me was incredibly helpful with my comfort and confidence in the workplace. It was something that I think was really important for my growth both personally and professionally.

Have you stayed in touch with that manager?

Yeah! Everyone at the office was very helpful and offered to stay in touch after the internship was over. They’ve been really helpful with helping my applications get noticed at NBC and have just been great contacts to keep up with overall.

Do you have any advice for students who might be starting an internship this semester?

Development, from what I’ve found, is just learning as you go. Even if you don’t have all that script coverage experience, it’s definitely something that can be learned and improved upon.

And just: Put your best foot forward and if you can go the responsibilities of your internship in a way that’s comfortable, definitely do it! But as long as you’re your best self and you’re willing to take on new challenges, you’ll be great.

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Categories: Emterns