Gaining Valuable Work Experience

July 19, 2019

When Jon Bailey ’19 landed a coveted internship at Meredith Corporation in Des Moines in May 2018, he was excited to test out his chosen career path at the mega-media conglomerate. “Meredith is one of the biggest publishers in the world, so graphic design is held to a pretty high standard there,” he says.

Working part-time during the school year and full time during the summer, Bailey, who just received his BA degree, met those standards in the corporation’s brand licensing department. His projects included designing presentation slides, packages, signage, social media graphics and booklets for Better Homes & Gardens products. Beyond the design work, he learned how to successfully apply himself in a professional setting. “I learned a lot about time management and communication, and I learned how to tackle large projects in a way that is most efficient,” he says. “It gave me the confidence to take on any job that is assigned to me.”

Grand View has a good relationship with Meredith, says Dr. Cyndi Wiley, associate professor of art and design. There are usually two to three internships available in the brand licensing area each year, and the art director tries to spread the internships among the three area schools with graphic design programs. But in the end, it’s the strength of applicants that determines who gets hired. “Two spots were occupied by Grand View students during the 2018-19 year,” Wiley says.

While internships are not required, they are highly encouraged, she says. “We want our students to hit the ground running after they graduate. An internship gives them experience that the classroom cannot.” The environment and people in Grand View’s art department encouraged creativity, Bailey says. “There was a good sense of craft and focus on originality that helps students create unique pieces.” The value of an internship, he says, is learning how to use that creativity in practical ways.

Bailey minored in interactive media, a digital platform that incorporates multiple disciplines. “My interactive media classes helped me to think more about the user experience and how that person will interact with what is being created,” Bailey says. “It’s an extra step beyond producing something that just looks cool.” Adding a minor to a degree program is also emphasized at Grand View. “It’s a way to strengthen a student’s portfolio and be competitive in the job market. We put a lot of focus on these much-needed skills,” Wiley says.

Bailey now works at Doll Distributing in Des Moines. He is confident the Meredith internship was a factor in his being hired. “I would recommend everyone do an internship,” he says. “It is a great learning opportunity that helps connect school experience with the real world.”