Midway Point

I’m halfway through my internship and it has been an amazing experience so far. You can learn a lot in the classroom and through textbooks, but you’ll never actually absorb the industry until you have gone out and experienced it. I have witnessed this first hand since starting my internship this summer. Being an intern at Artist Partner Group has exposed me to an environment I don’t usually experience. An environment filled with ambition and drive to succeed in the music industry. But it’s not the standard music industry ambiance that I was introduced to last summer at Warner Music’s headquarters in NYC. It’s way different. The anti-corporate aroma and entrepreneurial spirit are the engines at APG. Everyone is hungry to make things happen for each other and contribute to the company.

At the beginning of my internship, I honestly had sentiments of being underestimated in what I was capable of, but I quickly realized that I just had to be patient and ready. I had to be trustworthy and execute tasks efficiently. Now, as I continue to build reliance and confidence with my co-workers, I’m being trusted with more and more things to do every day. Here are just some highlights and tasks that I’ve taken on since the beginning:

  • Alec Benjamin Photoshoot: Alec Benjamin is one of APG’s exciting new artists. I have been at APG to witness his rise, and all the effort and work put into creating a superstar. Alec has now accumulated millions of sales since I’ve been here (he released new music the week I started). I was fortunate enough to contribute to this in a small way by helping to orchestrate a photoshoot for his cover art. I helped with the setup and angles for the shoot. It was also a great opportunity to converse and get to know Alec in person.

    This is Alec Benjamin! I took this while at the photoshoot.
  • A&R Listening Sessions: Every Thursday I’m at the A&R Department, listening to a bunch of new, undiscovered music and highlighting ones I think have potential. I venture on different websites that shoot out streaming and viral analytics in order to track down up and coming talent that are performing well on the web. At the end of the day, I meet with my supervisor and go over some of the artists I tracked down throughout the day. It is a great experience to bond with my supervisor over new music and also help the firm with potential new artists to sign. I also spend a lot of time discovering new DJs in order for the label to commission remixes for their recent releases.
  • Setting up Artist Showcases: Every so often, the company hosts artist showcases, which are basically small intimate concerts with their artists. These showcases are for internal company employees only and usually occur in a private setting (not at the office). Recently I was tasked with helping set up one of the showcases and helping it run smoothly. Later, I was assigned to create a photo book of pictures from some of the showcases for the office.

    This is an example of an Artist Showcase I was fortunate to attend, featuring Rita Ora.
  • Social Media Audits: This is by far one of the coolest and most educational things I’ve done at the office. My supervisors have taught me the metrics and ways to analyze social media accounts. By doing this, I can now scan through social accounts of company artists and perform a social media audit of their accounts. What this means is that I go through their accounts, gather their engagement stats, monitor their best and worst performing posts, and then create a 10-page report on it. On the report, I highlight what they shouldn’t be doing and I also create suggestions for them based on my research; all of this in order for the artists to perform better on social. This is a unique digital marketing skill that I truly value and will definitely be able to use in any future endeavors.

    One sheet of streaming statistics for the past week that I have to look over every week. I had to blur out the content because of confidentiality.

These were just some of the highlights and tasks that I have done so far. I’m very excited to continue building trust with the company and find out what exciting tasks lie ahead!

First Week at APG

This week I started working at Artist Partner Group in Los Angeles. APG is a company that does many things. They are a music publishing company, recording studio complex and most importantly a record label. They define themselves as being a “modern label for forward thinking and entrepreneurial artists. The invisible army that help build the artist brand and relentlessly execute their vision.” The label is an imprint of Warner Music Group and was founded by Warner’s President of A&R (Artist and Repertoire), Mike Caren. I’ve always admired APG for being an under-the-radar, small firm that does big things. Big things such as pioneering the careers of Charlie Puth, Kehlani and Bazzi to name a few. I am more than thrilled to be joining the APG team for the summer and figuring out what the secret sauce is for their amazing success so far.

I spent most of my first week settling in and completing onboarding procedures but I’m already starting to get a feel for the place and the culture around here. First and foremost, the APG building is an modern architectural masterpiece, casting an overwhelming shadow on the streets of LA. When I first arrived, I was electrified by the space and was eager to go inside. I also quickly started to notice and still realize that APG has a very entrepreneurial, start-up ambience.

For my first week, I began helping out with the Instagram accounts; coming up with new initiatives and branding ideas to help improve the account. I also was given weekly tasks like making sure the label’s music releases have been distributed to different streaming services and have promotional placement on playlists. Another weekly task I was given was to accumulate the streaming sales for the week. Other than that I haven’t really been given any big projects or tasks to complete as I continue to get settled in. I acknowledge that a lot of the times, I’m going to have to take initiative and create opportunities and tasks for myself if my supervisors are busy or have nothing to give me.

Another exciting thing that happened on my first week was that I was introduced to a guy who works in A&R who needed an intern for the summer as well. After a great conversation we agreed that I would split time with him and my other supervisor. Now I have a great unprecedented chance to gain experience in two different fields of the business this summer. Another great chance to not only contribute and help out my superiors, but hopefully make a difference and impact whenever I can.

 

Last Day at HunnyBon

It has been an emotional day here at HunnyBon HQ in NYC. I am going to be saying goodbye to my mentors, Kim and Yoav, who have taught me so much about both business and life during my seemingly short time here. Excitingly, I am going to be studying abroad in Russia this coming semester, which is definitely something to look forward to.

 

I am excited to say that I have exceeded my learning goals for this summer, which have changed significantly since the beginning. Initially, I was excited to just start working with financial reports, but I have actually done so much more than that. I have worked on content creation and management (using photography, photoshop, and email marketing software), social media research and outreach, managing daily orders and special order projects, vendor outreach, website testing and improvements, growth strategy and data analysis, and TONS of bookkeeping. In addition to all of this, the most exciting parts of the summer were the days that Kim took me to meetings all over the city. We visited accountants, designers, and lots of companies interested in selling the product in their shops. Although I am still not sure exactly what I will be doing five years from today, working in HunnyBon’s small office allowed me to be comfortable and creative, and I understand that this is the ideal work environment for me. I also know that my work was really appreciated here, and I always felt accomplished after working hard on a project.

         I believe my biggest achievements this summer included becoming more organized and being less afraid to communicate my thoughts. My advice for students who are interested in an internship at this organization or ones similar would be to breach your comfort zone and never say no, even if you are asked to do something you have no experience with. Also, ask a lot of questions, even if you think they are obvious, because it’s better to ask a “dumb” question than to make a huge mistake. Overall I have definitely matured this summer and believe I am a much stronger applicant for the job market because I am more confident in myself and my skills.


Wish me luck in Russia!

Chantal Tepper

The Sweetest Internship Ever!

I’m not trying to sugar coat it…my internship at hunnybon is more intense than ever! We are doing big things here in our New York City office..

Kimberly, hunnybon’s CEO values communication among staff and is always eager to teach me about the business. I spent the first month learning both the e-commerce and retail side of the business, how inventory management works, order fulfillment, and about daily operations. I even got to visit some of the candy retailers and I have sampled more organic sweets than you can imagine.
 On a typical day, you can find me checking in on our locations to make sure they have enough candy supply, checking on the setup of the products, making sure that they look nice and are visible, and talking to the workers about the shop, making sure they know all the benefits and qualities of HunnyBon’s sweets. I suggested a training manual, or information that could be given to the employees whenever they get a new store, so that the workers can become more educated about how awesome this candy is. Kimberly and the team loved the idea, and I’m going to work on this for them.
 
It’s been interesting to see things from the inside of the company, when usually I’m on the other end, ordering from a website as a consumer (Amazon is my usual go-to.) I noticed that Inventory organization is one of the most crucial aspects necessary for a small office like HB to function. I have also been working hard on the social media aspect of the company, and have been studying how to appeal to HB’s target customer. I put together a plan with social media influencers to reach out to, different types of campaign ideas, and spend slow periods in the office taking pictures of the product. Sometimes, I am encouraged to leave the office with a bag of sweets to take photos around the city.
 
The second part of the internship is focusing more on the financial aspects. I met with Kimberly and a financial consultant to learn about Quickbooks and it is my job to  organize and clean up their QB for 2017, and then generate financial statements. Although I learned a bit about these things in my accounting class, there is no true way to prepare for the challenge that is organizing a new company’s financial statements. The most difficult part is knowing how to categorize certain expenses because there is no fine line that determines expense categories. Sometimes it is up to my judgment and other times I need to bombard a senior staff member with questions. 
 
Overall, the experience has been great so far, both at HunnyBon, and living the New York City life. Everything is pretty fast paced here, so it’s interesting to understand how businesses can be successful and the hard work it takes to make it here. Kimberly and the team of HunnyBon have been so great at both making me feel welcome at the office and in the city, and guiding me to make sure I really get the most out of the experience. Some pretty major companies have taken an interest in potentially selling some HB products in their stores, so we are all very excited to see what will happen in the near future! I will let you know what happens in my next post. Over and out.

 

My First Week as an Intern for HunnyBon

I am beyond excited to be starting my internship at HunnyBon in NYC! HunnyBon is an e-commerce candy company whose products have been researched, hand picked, and approved by a nutritional counselor, with the health of you, animals, and the planet in mind. HunnyBon candies and chocolates are organic, vegan, sustainablyproduced, minimally processed, and are always free from GMOS, refined sugars, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dairy and animal products, artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, and additives, preservatives, pesticides, and trans-fats. With Hunnybon sweets, you will never have to feel guilty or shameful about feeding your sweet tooth. The best part is, these candies taste so good. They are of significantly higher quality than the chocolates you buy at the grocery store, and they are made with real ingredients such as natural sweeteners. Please feel free to learn more about these sweets (here).

Besides gaining experience working with a startup, I am proud to be a part of this project because I believe in the product. It is unfortunate that 2 in every 3 adults in the United States are considered overweight. (National Health and Nutrition). For most people, putting on weight is much more difficult than losing it because humans crave sugar. Many of us have a sweet tooth and need to satisfy our cravings. This is where Hunnybon comes into play! These natural chocolates and candies help us indulge without putting chemicals and unnecessary fats into our bodies. People need to limit their intake of artificial flavors and colors, corn-syrup and high-fructose corn syrup, refined sweeteners, cheap processed ingredients, GMO ingredients, preservatives, transfats, and even plastics because all these ingredients have been linked to serious health disorders like ADD/ADHD, Autism, Cancer, Infertility, Diabetes, Obesity, Heart Disease, Asthma/Allergies, Learning Disorders, Nerve Damage and even Brain Damage. HB I am passionate about HunnyBon because it provides a healthy alternative to the sweets we crave.

On my first day of work, my boss Kim had me sample almost every candy! I couldn’t possibly try them all in one day, but I definitely tried everything by the end of the week. Kim has been in the nutrition business for many years and has experience providing nutritional counseling in both Israel and the United States. She is passionate about what she does and she started this business to merge together her love of sweets with her healthy lifestyle. She enjoys making people happy and feels that helping people to live a healthy life is a wonderful thing.

After conducting a taste test of each product, my favorite HunnyBon snacks were the no Sugar ‘Milk’ Chocolate Hearts and the strawberry SuperFruit Chews. After sampling the products, Kim gave me a tour of the office and the warehouse and demonstrated the storage and packaging process. The candy is kept in wine coolers to stay fresh since it is not made with chemicals or preservatives. The company values its’ careful and delicate shipping and storage process to ensure the products arrive in perfect form.

During my first week at HunnyBon, I am focusing on marketing and public relations. I am helping to manage the company’s social media platforms, specifically Facebook and Instagram. This includes taking attractive photographs of the products and thinking of creative marketing campaigns that would be relevant to the candy and themes of the season. Kim and I talk out our ideas during one-on-one meetings and I hope to discuss more of my ideas and how they have come to life in my next blog post.

I am also communicating with different organizations about how to ship HunnyBon sweets to Canada without the product getting stuck at customs or racking up high export fees. I called the Canadian Consulate to request information and am now in the process of getting the proper documentation in order. Hopefully we can get the company approved to ship the product across the Canadian border without hassle.

In the near future, Kim and I will be working on standardizing financial statements and preparing information for investors. The company is currently seeking angel investors and hopes to expand into physical locations but first they need to complete their fundraising package. This includes organizing their financial information to show how HunnyBon sales are growing and expected to grow even further. I am looking forward to the financial aspects of the internship most because I am excited to implement the skills I have learned at Brandeis into the real world, for a this small but fierce startup.

 

 

Technology Consulting – Goodbye Lessons

As we get closer to the final presentation to the C-suite, the pressure is on since this is one of the most important customers in the Middle East. In previous weeks, research on several sites was performed using internal audits which required a lot of manipulation in Excel where once again Visual Basic programming saved me a lot of manual labor. I generated graphs to showcase the distribution of users and volumes on several spots across Dubai where Ericsson technology was deployed previously. After generating dozens of graphs, it was time to create master PowerPoint. Even though the analysis part was over, it was very challenging to fit two months of research and analysis into a 45-minute presentation, and on top of that still have the CTO and CMO not fall asleep. The hardest part of the PowerPoint creation was deciding which parts of the analysis should be included and which ones were to be excluded. My mentor and I created the master PowerPoint and headed over to the Abu Dhabi office with several other colleagues to meet the Key Account Manager (the main person responsible for the relationship with the client). While my mentor presented our slides, I sat there just hoping there were no mistakes that none of us saw before. Luckily, the presentation was very good overall and the KAM was very pleased with the multi-site analysis that I had performed in the past weeks.

I will be leaving Dubai soon with a lot of very nice memories tied to the city, but more importantly many important lessons about my future career, meeting tight deadlines and navigating through corporate life.

Technology Consulting – Life outside the office

I did not let long working hours prevent me from enjoying the benefits of Dubai and warm weather (as you can see in the picture above – one of the sunsets with the Dubai skyline). One may notice that here everything is in progress, as if the authorities decided to build the city yesterday since numerous projects across Dubai are flourishing. Nowhere else I have I seen such harmony between contemporary style and the local culture. Dubai is a vibrant city with many things to do, especially in the evening.

Moroccan tea was one of the major discoveries and a favorite activity to relax after work (the best one that I tried was at the City Walk cafe, shall you ever visit). Since it is the month of Ramadan, it was very hard to notice many people on the streets – on top of that, Dubai isn’t the most popular destination in the summer due to its high temperatures – but it was very nice to walk around in a non-congested city meeting different people, mostly expats in their late 20s working in Dubai. One of the most interesting feelings was going to The Palm and while driving down to the one of the hotels for tea, imagining that several years ago the place I was driving on was nothing but ocean. All in all, Dubai has a very healthy, positive vibe, with a lot of energy originating from the young minded people populating it.

Technology Consulting — Life Inside the Office

Getting out of the plane at 11 pm, a heat wave strikes. Typical of Dubai, I thought, but it was only 34 degrees Celsius. Soon I will discover that 45 would be something much more appropriate for Dubai. Below you can observe The Galleries at Downtown Jebel Ali where the Ericsson Dubai offices are. An interesting part about the Ericsson office is that there are no assigned tables but rather everyone is welcome to take any spot every morning which greatly enhances an open corporate culture that facilitates sharing and collaborative work.

My first day at the office, briefing with my mentor and straight to work, consulting in a nutshell, I thought. Research on pricing that I have done previously needed to be expressed through graphs and put into PowerPoint until the end of the day. I thought that would be easy. What’s a bit of Excel manipulation and PowerPoint? I did it so many times at Brandeis before. But alas, the required graph was nothing close to what I have seen before, so Lynda.com came in as a great resource to learn Visual Basic and a bit of programming that was of great use throughout the entire internship. In the coming days, my mentor gave me a fast course in working with cash flow statements and how to analyze them, along with an introduction to Ericsson-specific technology and basic information on how it works. I won’t lie, I was so happy that I had a good physics teacher in high school who enabled me to grasp the concepts much faster and perform the analysis more efficiently. After learning about cash flow analysis, it was time to perform the forecast and update the business model which was used to estimate the revenues from specific technology installed on-site. Forecasts are always very hard for anyone since they include many assumptions, but with right data and many years of working in field, my mentor’s model was very accurate in predicting which sites needed to be updated and with what technology. This is yet another time when previous learning of Visual Basic was more than welcome.

Technology Consulting – What Is That?

The first part of my summer internship working as a Business Analyst for Ericsson began with a long explanation of what needs to be done before I arrive to the office at the end of the month. First things first, Ericsson is a company with 100,000 employees spread across the globe whose primary business is production and implementation of telecommunications radio equipment. Ericsson worked with most of the carriers you are very familiar with to enable you to read this blog using their LTE technology, for example. As setting up an antenna with radio equipment isn’t cheap, business cases need to be developed for almost each and every spot where the carrier thinks it would be beneficial to provide coverage. With no previous experience in the telecommunications industry, I was assigned to research two carriers and compare them on several criteria. The first part of the research was focusing on press releases and social media presence to determine the presence of both carriers and their interaction with the consumers. My mentor checks in with me once a week to set goals for the next week, discuss deliverables and explain the plan for the next part of the research. I’m really looking forward to meeting him in person in a few weeks.