Winning IdeaNation, my aged Intern’s story

Below is an interview I did for SapientNitro about how I won my internship. You can read more about them (and me) on their blog. all you need to do is copy and paste this long URL (and you’ll even get a glimpse of my knobbly knees).

SapientNitro London held its first Idea Nation portfolio event in April – hosted in conjunction with Hello You Creatives. The idea behind the competition was to give some of the best young creative thinkers in the industry uncensored insight into developing their careers in the creative world. A group of 30 was invited to the event held at the SapientNitro London office and the participants were given several on-site, impromptu exercises that included concepting and drawing a brief given that night, an on the spot copy exercise and a mechanics challenge where the creatives came up with a marketing launch approach for a product. The ideas presented were inspiring and energetic. After deliberation by a panel of expert judges, a SapientNitro internship was awarded to a blossoming young copywriter – Andrea Bowie.

We sat down with Andrea to find out a little bit more about what makes her tick, her experience in her internship, lessons learned and advice for other up and coming creatives who want to break in to the industry.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and what did you study?

I graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 2008 with a degree in English and making stuff-up, Creative Writing. Having been raised in Cricklade, Britain in Bloom’s reining champion, I was eager to move to London where there was the promise of beer in cinemas (no really, beer in the cinema!) and buses more than once an hour (unfathomable).

What were you doing before starting your internship?

Before starting the internship, I had a real job as a copywriter for an agency. After two years, I left a little bit of my heart there, along with some toast crumbs underneath the keyboard. I will always be grateful to the Chief Creative Scribes and Picture People who gave me a chance and taught me about the all-important ‘big idea’.

How did you hear about the Idea Nation internship?

It was an absolute fluke, it was a pretty slow day at the office and the love bench (a bench by the canal outside the office window) wasn’t providing much entertainment. As I surreptitiously scrolled through Facebook, I saw that Hello You Creatives and SapientNitro were running a competition. I love competitions. I enter them all. Occasionally, I win free samples of soy milk. This proved a lot more fruitful and the next thing I knew there was a ping in my inbox and an invitation to Idea Nation promising ‘Free pizza, Free beer, Free Sick bucket’. All I needed to do was bring my book. And then some young people started making out on the love bench outside – I don’t think the day could have got any better.

What have you got out of the internship?

It’s such a privilege to work with people who are motivated and excited about what they do. And that’s not just on their projects; many are creating strange contraptions after hours too. There’s a certain buzz about working in such a ginormous agency where it feels like anything’s possible. If you have an idea, it doesn’t need to be scaled down – there is a way to make it happen. I love knowing that just around the corner are some technology whizz-kids who can transform a doodle into fully-functional gizmo. I did a wee stalk of some of the people within these walls and was absolutely gobsmacked. But regardless of who’s done what in the past (not in a criminal record kinda-way), to see their approach everyday is inspiring and really makes me want to do something useful, even if its only small, just to say thanks for picking me out.

What are you looking for in your next role?

I’ll be handing in my pass in October, so I suppose I need to pull my polka-dot socks up. I’ll be looking to work with people who are creative and in a place that makes things happen, and hopefully make the world a little happier too. It may sound like hippy-dippy bull but I think it’s important to enjoy what you do because then you’re more likely to make someone else’s day better too – and if they buy that Air Freshener you’re advertising as a result then sobeit. We’ve all got to eat after all.

Do you think your internship has equipped you for future plans?

The internship has left me slightly nervous for the future. I think this is a good thing. It just means that I’m more determined than ever to do something interesting. I’m also planning on taking the company MacBook, so that should equip me pretty well!

If you had to give one piece of advice to someone considering an internship, what would it be?

Make decisions (this is actually advice I’ve been given here). Decide which ideas you want to share. If they’re just in your mind or lining the recycling bin, they don’t exist. Then listen, because those strange creative types really do know what they’re talking about and might even see something you don’t. Oh and go outside.

About Gary Baggings

Andrea is a former farm girl who is currently living and working in London. She spends her days writing words for other people, and the long nights penning her own. When she grows up she wants to be cleverer than she is now and run an emporium of some sort. For no good reason, and against sound advice, she writes under an inexplicable pen name, visit for more.
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