In the summer of 2016, Jay Liebowitz, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Princeton Lightwave, was in search of some interns well-versed in digital marketing to help him reposition his company as a leading supplier of technology for driverless cars, with the end goal being to sell the company into the automotive industry. He contacted Rutgers School of Communication and Information (SC&I) in the hopes of finding some valuable talent and posted his internship opportunity on SC&I's Career Services website.
That’s where Dana Shang, Master of Communication and Media student, and Eric Cooperman, Communication major, come in. Where students usually attain internships strictly to learn, both Shang and Cooperman were able to provide the company with knowledge of current trends in marketing, which proved to be instrumental in the repositioning of the company. “They helped in creating a new website, in increasing our presence on social media, and in creating digital content. They had a hand in every marketing task we undertook in this process,” Liebowitz said. “Eric was involved in the dashboard and the tradeshow work, and Dana was involved in the point cloud image that is superimposed behind the dashboard. They worked with our outside suppliers and they made a big difference in coordinating activities internally. They also helped me with many decisions that went into the overall marketing of the company.”
The interns were able to truly put their skills from the classroom to work, being given a generous amount of freedom to execute their ideas. “I took initiative to put into place a new inventory management system and techniques to help in both digital and process manners,” Cooperman said. “The internship started out with a 3-month time slot, however with proven tactics and efficiency, I was asked to extend my internship which lasted a total 10 months all together.”
For Shang, the opportunity helped her solidify her future goals. “It was a place where I learned a lot about the digital marketing industry and through which I built my career plan,” Shang said. “I know what competencies I am expected to possess and I am striving for them.”
Their hard work paid off. Princeton Lightwave was acquired by Argo Al, a subsidiary of Ford. The contributions from Shang and Cooperman helped to make this possible, giving Princeton Lightwave a ‘millennial perspective’ on marketing that assisted them in attaining the sale.
The New York Times recently wrote “Executive Mentors Wanted - Only Millennials Need Apply” on the current trend of organizations hiring junior mentors to educate staffs on everything from social media to trend spotting. Companies including Mastercard, Cisco Systems and Mars Inc. are just a few that have hired millennials as junior mentors. Jay Liebowitz attests to the success of this approach. “I am one of these executives who sought mentoring from the new generation. Thank you for having a program where I could work with these students.”