August 23, 2021

Tisch Center Internship Spotlight: Wessel Graafmans, SongDivision

Wessel Graafmans is a student in the M.S. in Event Management program at the Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality. In this post, he tells us more about his internship this summer semester.

Where are you interning, and what is your job title?

I am interning at SongDivision, the global leader in interactive songwriting experiences. SongDivision helps organizations unite around their purpose (e.g., engage and strengthen teams) through the science of music. My job title is Marketing & Public Relations Intern.

What projects have you been working on so far?

I have taken on various initiatives from graphics/design requests to copywriting, marketing research, and virtual showcase planning. In addition, I spearheaded the P.R. department by utilizing social media channels including LinkedIn, TikTok, and Facebook. In my final weeks, I will continue to work on P.R. initiatives and support SongDivision wherever I can.

Have there been any challenges in your internship so far? If so, how have you learned to overcome them?

When reflecting on the past few months, I realized that I have overcome challenges concerning communication & working remotely. When I heard about this opportunity through my connections during the pandemic, I was eager to start but I had never worked professionally in a 100% virtual environment. SongDivision just celebrated its 20th anniversary and has been working online since day one. It took some time to adjust, acclimate myself to this environment, and find a balance working with a global team in different time zones (USA, AUS, UK/EU, and Singapore). This brings me to the second challenge, communication, both internal and external. Internally, everyone has their own background and communication style, which need to be taken into consideration. When working remotely, you cannot just stop by someone's office to ask a question as you can when working in an office setting, even though it increases your ability to work independently. It was a massive help for me to get to know the CEO, my manager, and other colleagues on a somewhat personal level to not only understand them, but also for them to understand my strengths so we could all benefit from this experience. External communication pertains to marketing copies and copies written for our clients. Coming from limited marketing experience, it was challenging to get used to "putting your marketing cap on" and refraining from writing academically. However, I overcame this challenge by reading plenty of examples and by learning from my manager’s style of thinking when he writes copy. However, the most important thing is actually getting experience writing copy. I believe that the best way to learn is by doing it.

What do you hope to take away from your internship?

I have gained many diverse skills and increased my knowledge of the industry. I learned that, generally, the events community a tight-knit and always willing to help newcomers. The reason why I chose to intern at SongDivision is that music excites me, and I understand its importance. Music is a powerful tool, and some industries underestimate it. To be allowed to educate myself through SongDivisions' events, world-class musicians, and internal conversations on how music can benefit our lives is the reason I was eager to get started. Besides the knowledge I have gained, I also learned how to work with WordPress and Affinity Photo & Designer (graphic design programs).

"The goal is not to be successful. The goal is to be valuable. Once you are valuable, instead of chasing success, it will attract itself to you." - Anonymous.

I stumbled across this quote a few weeks ago, and it resonated with me. I firmly believe that one needs to be "valuable" and that success then will find you. I showed SongDivision that I am an authentic, flexible and well-rounded intern who wanted to dabble in different facets of the business. This is one of the reasons that persuaded the management team to give me the chance to prove myself in other departments besides the marketing, which is what I was hired for.

To conclude, my time at SongDivision was beneficial to develop my people skills, understand how to create relationships and network, market my future endeavors, and understand how beneficial and powerful media and connections can be. I also came to understand how to cater to a target audience and interact with various cultures worldwide, which is crucial in any global organization.

What are your future plans?

After graduation, I will continue working on my business plan to start a co-created music festival that is environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive. This festival will serve to inspire its attendees to be better to others and the environment in their daily lives. Like Bono (the lead singer of U2) says, "Music can change the world because it can change people.”


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