Marketing Automation Strategist Chase Bertrand recalls his 2014 internship experience with Blue Wheel.

You want to know what really gets me going?

When my plans pan out the way that I had hoped they would. Probably not what you were expecting I would say, but I should probably keep this PG. But seriously, I am a planner and when I see everything fall into place, my world is at peace.

When I transferred to Oakland, I had a plan. My very last class was going to be my required advertising internship. That way, if I found myself at a company that I loved, then maybe, just maybe, I could weasel my way into full time position.

It all started with my best friend, roommate, and former Blue Wheel intern extraordinaire, Ethan Scott. He was the reason why I ended up at Blue Wheel. While I was stuck serving tables and doing old school sales calls for a previous marketing internship, Ethan was at Blue Wheel creating amazing digital masterpieces (He was a design intern… so his life was pretty rad). He would go on and on, day and night, bragging about how awesome the atmosphere was at Blue Wheel. How everyone was so young, fun, weird, and strangely brilliant. How they had a shuffleboard table, a whiteboard wall that was used more for games than it was for work, and eclectic music playing constantly. Needless to say, I grew extremely jealous. But then, like the angel he is, Ethan informed me that Blue Wheel was looking for new interns. I just so happened to be graduating in a few months, and was looking for my final internship. So I was like, “Dope. I’m gonna intern there.”

I was one of three interns hired in for that fall semester. Each of us came in with our own experiences, skills sets, and styles. The very first day, we all gathered in the large conference room where all the magic happens (shout out to MTV cribs). The leaders of Blue Wheel took turns telling us exactly what it was that we were going to be learning, practicing, and implementing. To be honest, I was terrified. I knew how to use social media, but I didn’t know how to utilize it. I knew how to spell SEO, and I’m not even a good speller. Quite quickly I learned I knew nothing very little about digital marketing. I felt as if I was jumping into a pool without knowing how to swim. Thankfully, Blue Wheel provides some excellent floatation devices (a.k.a. the team).

While my fellow interns found their niche writing content, I struggled to find my place in the digital marketing realm. I jumped around for a while; doing a little bit of everything, but never really found my footing. I started to get scared that my big plan wasn’t working out.

As frustrating as it was to not find my home within a specific region of Blue Wheel, it was probably the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I was able to learn about every area equally and I had the chance to spend a good amount of time with everyone on the team. So even though I couldn’t find my fit within the current digital spectrum at Blue Wheel, I was able to find my fit within the team (Including, but not limited to, being their Macklemore look-a-like).

So when Trevor approached me near the end of my internship and expressed to me that he wanted to bring me on full time, I was ecstatic. However, I was unsure why. I didn’t have a specialty or really a place within the current system. That’s when Trevor told me about marketing automation; a fairly knew type of marketing that allows clients to not only nurture leads over their lifetime, but also to identify leads that used to be unidentifiable. The pool that I felt I as thrown into when I first came on, now felt like an ocean, and I still didn’t know how to swim. Yet, I felt safe. If my internship had taught me anything, it was that if I didn’t know how to do something, I was going to learn. So I accepted the job, not knowing how to swim, but trusting that I was going to be rescued by a boat full of the overzealous nerds, weirdos, and quirky characters that is Blue Wheel Media.

All jokes aside (at least for the time being), interning at Blue Wheel Media turned out to be the best decision I had ever made. I had two previous internship, but neither was as educational or as fun as my time at Blue Wheel. Even though the internship was unpaid, I gained a wealth of knowledge. The Blue Wheel team did an absolutely amazing job of not only providing us with real, important, tangible tasks, but they spent time critiquing our work, giving us extremely valuable feedback. I was able to learn all aspects of digital marketing, and even though my strengths were not in areas such as writing, they were persistent with me and I ending up creating some amazing pieces of work. Most importantly, I didn’t feel like and intern; I felt like a part of the company. No classroom, no internship, no project could possibly have given me the same knowledge and experience that I gained at Blue Wheel. I am extremely blessed to have had such a positive internship experience and that my plans panned out even better than I could have possibly imagined. I am happy to say, my world is now at peace.