I interned at NBCUniversal on the Universal Studios Lot in Universal City, CA for 6 months after finishing my sophomore year. Interning at NBCU was definitely one of the best decisions that I have ever made! Working instead of taking classes for a semester forced me to see what I had actually learned in my first two years in ILR.
The skills and knowledge that I gained from Collective Bargaining and Labor and Employment Law classes were particularly useful in my internship. I sat in on many negotiations, so being familiar with the negotiation process from Collective Bargaining allowed me to focus on the content of the arguments from both sides, so that I could offer a valid perspective in caucus. In addition, I often did research for the lawyers in arbitration, and helped formulate arguments for claims, so the analytical prowess that I was forced to use in preparing my Labor and Employment Law paper absolutely paid off.
What I liked most about my internship was that it showed me how integral Labor Relations are in in the entertainment industry. The television shows and films that we love could not exist without efficient Labor Relations Departments. I witnessed this working directly under managers, directors, and executives in my department who negotiate union contracts with everyone in entertainment industry. From make-up artists and hairstylists to the on-air news talent.
The exposure this internship gave me to the many facets of the television and film industry’s business operations clarified my ideal career path for me. Working at NBCU inspired me to pursue a creative business career in the entertainment industry where I can produce television shows and films that feature positive representations of women of color. I learned firsthand from working on the Lot that what you see on the small and big screens is largely a reflection of who is inside of the boardrooms at the big studios in Hollywood. Therefore, I plan to spend my career working to diversify the industry as much as possible, while also fighting to narrow the gender pay gap that plagues the industry from the top to the bottom.
I would absolutely recommend that students take advantage of the credit internship program and a summer/fall or spring/summer program, if possible! Being able to apply my comprehensive studies of Industrial and Labor Relations, as an intern, in a field that I am so passionate about, at one of the world’s leading media companies was incredibly rewarding. Finally, the network of experienced people that you have the opportunity to leave your internship connected with is phenomenal and stands you in great stead as you navigate your early career.