Onboarding and First Tasks!

This marks the end of my second week working with Western Heads East, and I am in a whirlwind of excited and nervous emotions.

Over the course of these two weeks, here’s what I’ve done so far:

  • I’ve met with my supervisor from Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT), Professor Delphine Kessy. On the call with her were the program assistant, Constantine, and ten out of the eleven SAUT students who would be working on this program with us.
  • I also met our Youth Opportunities Unlimited supervisor, Nick Martin, who is in charge of many of YOU’s food enterprises.
  • I attended my first Swahili lesson!
  • I reached out to my group of SAUT students to begin researching our target market for SAUT’s marketing and business plan.
  • And I have begun to research into YOU and its target market, compiling my findings into a digital marketing analysis report for future reference when I begin to construct the new marketing and business plans.

The aforementioned whirlwind of emotions comes from the continuing realization of how big this project is going to be, how little time we have to complete it, and how little guidance there is. None of these are bad things – on the contrary, they’re thrilling! I love the sensation of taking these projects into my own hands and being trusted to deliver high-quality content that will ideally help these organizations thrive for the next few years. It is my first step into the working world, and I couldn’t be more grateful that I get to start on my dream path: marketing.

There are two other factors that give my future internship tasks an interesting twist: I am trained as a digital marketer, and only that. While there is much overlap, I do not have training in business. Learning how to think in marketing terms also opens the door to being able to think in business terms, but as I pore through research and informational sites on how to analyze a company’s business structure and produce a business plan, I realize there’s still so much I don’t know. It feels as though there’s an entire angle, a whole perspective lost on me yet. And as the marketing intern, there’s considerable expectation to create the business plan alongside the marketing plan.

There is also the fact that it appears thus far that SAUT, and perhaps the community in Mwanza, Tanzania, rely on traditional marketing practices – posters, brochures, flyers – to sell their products. More research is necessary to determine whether this is still the case, but SAUT’s Fiti Yogurt marketing resources all seem to be posters and related materials. As a digital marketing intern, adapting what I know to traditional marketing practices will be a new experience and I think I will pull a lot of insight into the foundations of marketing from this!

While nervous, there’s this intense feeling of excitement and determination within me. I’ll be learning so many new skills to reach my goals for this internship. While it seems like a lot right now, I know that with some compartmentalizing and task-sorting, everything will fall into place.  In the meantime, my first steps will be to continue compiling my research on our target markets, to learn more about what it takes to build up a reliable business plan, and watch the next steps unfold as all this information comes together.

I couldn’t be more excited!

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