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Meet Ian Young.
Current LSA undergrad, transfer student, and extern with United Talent Agency.
What’s an externship? As defined by UTA, externships are experiential learning opportunities, similar to internships, provided by partnerships between educational institutions and employers to give students practical ‘hands-on’ experiences in their field of study.
Who is United Talent Agency? UTA is “one of the world's leading talent and entertainment companies,” as per UTA's website, focused on helping “the world’s most inspiring people make the world a more inspiring place.” They represent a wide range of creatives: actors, artists, storytellers, entertainers, and brands. And to represent these individuals they have agents, responsible for helping their clients “move, entertain, inform, and inspire the world.”
To create a path and succession plan from intern to talent agent, UTA implemented their Agent Training Program, “the industry’s best known and most desirable early career development opportunity,” due to their “upfront investment in new hires.” Interns, or agent trainees, will “be exposed to a broad range of the agency business and can expect to have hands-on training in everything needed to succeed,” while being “encouraged to use the resources provided to learn skills, foster relationships, and develop into their best selves.”
This program has recently proven incredibly impactful for the trainees. A recent Variety article shares that among 50 employees promoted at UTA, “over 90% of those promoted to agent — and over 80% of those promoted to coordinator — started their careers in UTA’s Agent Training Program.” Variety also highlights that over half of the individuals promoted were women, and a third were People of Color. The promotions confirm the promise that UTA makes to their agent trainees: “UTA is a place where you can do well through hard work and determination. In return, there are opportunities for advancement.”
So how do you become one of these Agent Trainees? According to UTA you need to be “curious, innovative and hard-working” with “impeccable interpersonal and communication skills to join the legacy of successful participants who created a meaningful foundation for their career in the UTA Training Program.”
Ian Young checked those boxes because in the summer of 2021, he joined the ranks of UTA’s agent trainees, working with other interns and established UTA agents to learn about script pitching, develop critical communication skills, and practice living and working as a seasoned UTA agent.
Want to hear how he did it? Follow along as the Hub’s Employer Engagement Coordinator Ashley Parker sits down with Ian in this virtual coffee chat to learn how he utilized his network, his involvement on campus, his creativity but also his grit to turn ideas into realities to ultimately make a lasting impression during his summer externship with UTA.
Ashley: So, what did you do to really make yourself stand out as a candidate?
Ian: As far as my application, I think my involvement on campus is what separated me from the pack. I was involved in a few clubs on campus, the Black Student Association, History Club, and a marketing club where we did some broadcasting and worked on writing scripts to read on air. What I've been telling others is that although it matters what you want to bring into your work, it’s also very important to be involved where you are. They want to find people that are going against the grain: people that are going to be the next innovators, movers, and shakers in the industry. They want to find the people that are hungry for work, individuals who have an entrepreneurial spirit and mindset.
Ashley: Yeah, definitely. What would you say would be your most memorable, or impactful assignment or project that you've worked on with the externship at UTA?
Ian: There are two things for me. The first was an assignment. They gave us two weeks and copies of three screenplays—confidential screenplays—to circulate among the externs. At the end of those two weeks, they were going to bring in agents and we would pitch one of the scripts to them. During those few weeks we would try to fit actors to the roles, practice pitching with the other externs, and talk about ideas or critiques we had for the scripts. We got to practice doing the job and live as agents trying to get the green light for our project. It was amazing. It felt real, and gave us a taste of what it is that we would be doing at the agency.
Ashley: That sounds really cool! What advice would you give to a student entering the role in order for them to succeed in the first 30 days of the externship?
Ian: Be hungry and work as hard as you can. During my junior year of high school, my English teacher hammered into our minds the meaning of grit. You have to be able to do the work that no one wants to do, and you have to be able to do just as well if not better than the person next to you. That's the key to success—you have to be great. You have to not be too satisfied where you are. If you want to do something, there's nothing holding you back besides yourself. There are a lot of other things going on, but at the end of the day, you have to persevere, to get around whatever obstacles or whatever roadblocks are holding you back.
Ashley Parker: Thank you so much for your time!
Ian’s shared wisdom for impressing your employer during an internship:
- Campus experience. Get involved with campus clubs and organizations aligned to your personal values and interests Ian was able to stand out as a candidate by holding leadership positions and curating clubs to meet his campus’ needs.
- Got to have Grit. Do not be afraid of hard work and always be willing to challenge yourself to be a leader and best.
- Innovate, don’t replicate. Most employers want to see that their interns are dedicated and hardworking but also willing to create new opportunities. For Ian, this meant giving his fellow interns the opportunity to connect with a leader in the industry that he already had a connection with.
- Be yourself. Employers like UTA want you to embrace your identity and bring your authentic self into the workplace so that you can connect on a personal level.
The Hub’s Approach to Career Exploration:
- Student Groups - Identify one to two student groups that relate to your identity and explore the possibility of holding a leadership position. Use Maize Pages to browse U-M 1,400+ Student led organizations.
- Campus Jobs - Campus jobs allow students to gain their first professional experience and can often be used as leverage during your hiring process. Check out the Student Employment site to browse on campus offerings.
- Most Impactful Courses - Choose classes, like ALA 125 (first-years) and ALA 325 (seniors), that allow you to actively explore the connection between your LSA degree, identity, and career aspirations. Click here to explore the Hub’s Applied Liberal Arts (ALA) offerings.
- Coaching - Coaching is an opportunity to receive direct feedback and support from one of the amazing Hub coaches on career development, internship searches, graduate applications etc. Click here to learn how to schedule an appointment or find out more about drop-in hours.]
- Internships - An internship can help you explore career interests, build up your experience, expand your professional network, and increase your probability of finding meaningful opportunities after graduation. Explore summer internship opportunities still active on the LSA Opportunity Network.