Life at RICE. . .
Before I embarked on my internship at RICE, I never expected I would end up trying my hand at PR. I had never taken any PR modules in university, and I barely even knew what an account executive did in a day, much less an intern! I first got to know of RICE during an agency tour that my university organised, and I was sold.
What stood out to me during the 1.5-hour tour was how warm the office culture felt. We were tasked to conduct mini “interviews” with people to find out what makes RICE, well, RICE. My group interviewed James, Managing Partner, and he shared that what makes RICE special is its people.
After spending six months here, I can’t agree more with what he said. Even though I was a total newbie to PR, I never felt like I was thrown into the deep end. My team had weekly huddles where we share the tasks we’ve been working on, or little updates about our week. I always secretly looked forward to those huddles, as it added a human touch to what a corporate career is usually perceived to be like, and made me feel part of a larger community.
If I had to pick just one instance of how seriously my team took my learning here, it would be this incident during my second week, when I had drafted a media pitch for the first time in my life. If you’re waiting for me to say that it was bad, you’re right. It was terrible. But instead of redoing the whole pitch and sending it out herself, my team member printed out my pitch and edited it, before talking me through line by line on how to improve my first draft. It’s been half a year, and I still keep that print-out!
While my team was extremely helpful, it isn’t to say that I was handheld all the way. As I slowly familiarised myself with the clients that I was helping to service, my team started to trust me with more tasks. I even got the opportunity to sit in on a client’s panel discussion alone, and draft my own byline using content from the dialogue.
Apart from pitch notes and bylines, I also managed to work on new business pitches, and draft briefing documents and interview responses for clients. Not forgetting the day-to-day tasks such as account management reports and media monitoring.
Having said all that, it’s not all work and no play here. There is a weekly Friday breakfast session, where RICErs gather to have a hearty breakfast and share updates for the week, such as new business wins or emails from happy clients. Sometimes we even get external speakers to share about their experiences. We have had speakers from Shopback, BMW, and even London-based creative agency Wednesday. On the last Friday of every month, our breakfast gets switched out for #LastFridayNight, where we have drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and small bites.
Back in 2018 when I was planning my schedule for this year, I expected to feel liberated after my internship ended. After all, half a year isn’t exactly the shortest amount of time. Instead, it feels bittersweet as I near my last day here. I’m definitely grateful for this glimpse into the world of PR, and to have gotten to work with such capable people.
A few Fridays ago, a speaker said something that stuck with me. He said: “If it’s easy, it means you’re never going to make it”. While my journey here has been challenging at times, I hope it means that I’m leaving RICE as a better person, and a better employee.