Ten weeks of revealing assignments and one memorable internship

After spending the summer doing an internship in the Acumen offices, Olivia Saunders summarized some thoughts on her time spent here. Thanks for all of your contributions Olivia!

This summer I was fortunate to have spent 10 weeks as an admin/comms intern at acumen public affairs. With some experience in administrative office tasks, but none in public affairs, I was keen to learn more about the profession, and build on my academic studies of International Relations at university. This hybrid internship has been very valuable, and great for people new to public affairs, as it allows for an introduction to a field that can be both difficult to explain and hard to understand without actual experience. Throughout my time at Acumen, I was provided with autonomy to carry out tasks independently, but also supported in the form of friendly colleagues who I could always ask on for help, for both public affairs and admin tasks. The friendly and inclusive nature of the Acumen office meant that I was warmly welcomed, and included in tasks from day one, which in typical public affairs style, varied greatly: from MEP mapping the recent European Union elections, to researching briefs for partner meetings.

These tasks were extremely interesting and helped me gain a greater understanding not only of the projects I was working on, but also of the role of public affairs firms, like Acumen, in acting as a link between business and civil society leaders on one hand and European policy-makers on the other. The dynamic nature of the office is always interesting and full of opportunities to learn – whether it’s designated training sessions, such as one I attended about secondary legislation in the EU, or even casual office discussions over lunch with colleagues. The international and learned background of all staff members provide so many different perspectives it’s never boring!

On the admin side of the internship, the practical skills I developed were similarly invaluable. I was exposed to the inner workings of running a business, and the practicalities that managing a growing team working on extremely varied projects – sometimes in different countries – necessitate. The daily tasks I took to this effect, such as: monitoring time management, organizing schedules, handling the phones, updating the website and tracking budgets, all equipped me with useful skills that are transferrable to many professional areas.

Other tasks undertaken by similar hybrid interns range from event planning and scoping out potential venues to social media communications – all to show that the admin side of the internship is just as dynamic and varied as the public affairs side! Thanks to Acumen I have learnt so much from my internship this summer, and I definitely wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this opportunity to anyone.


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