Summer Internship Spotlight: Billy Hickmott (B’20), ESPN
Each year, our students spend their summers in Washington, D.C., across the nation, and around the world working in corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations. Meet a few of our graduate and undergraduate students in this summer’s Internship Spotlight Series.
Billy Hickmott (B’20)
Marketing Intern, ESPN
New York, NY
What are you doing this summer?
This summer, I’m interning with ESPN in the marketing department on the Brand Marketing team in New York City. The team works on promoting ESPN’s non live-sports properties such as SportsCenter, 30 for 30, Fantasy Football, and more. There’s also been a lot of work on new brand messaging campaigns, taking into account the research that has been provided to the department. It’s been an incredible opportunity to not only listen and learn as much as I can over 10 weeks, but to participate in some small ways.
How does your internship relate to your professional or personal interests?
I’ve always wanted to work in sports, and ESPN is the epicenter for sports fans everywhere. I don’t know if I ever envisioned myself in marketing, but the opportunity to be a part of shaping ESPN’s brand image is something that is a dream come true for me. I also know that a lot of the companies that deal with the business side of sports are based in New York, and even though adjusting to a new city was intimidating for me at first, I knew it would be a great learning experience for where I wanted to be located in the future.
How did you find the internship?
I was fortunate enough to be put in touch with a Disney recruiter who works primarily with ESPN in acquiring new candidates. I had a couple of conversations with her to see what areas peaked my interests, and afterwards she highlighted applications that were on the Disney Careers website that I should fill out and test my luck. I made sure to keep in touch with not only her, but especially the people I interviewed with. I think my persistence definitely paid off.
What’s the most interesting or impactful thing you’ve done so far, or are working on now?
One of the challenges that I’ve been working on this summer has been reckoning ESPN’s historical success and the empire they built through cable television with the shifting ways that younger people are consuming media. Millennials are cord cutting in favor of streaming, but even younger people are foregoing paying for any sort of content and consuming media mostly through free platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Ideating on solutions to maintain ESPN’s relevance with younger people who aren’t paying for cable has been something that I’ve been really invested in this summer, and I’ve been able to learn so much from the people who’s job it is to tackle this sort of challenge.
What else should we know?
This summer was a significant data point for me that cliches are true for a reason. Many mentors have said to me that the best internships or jobs are ‘all about the people,’ which I had some skepticism towards whenever I heard that. But this summer has been beyond incredible mostly because of how welcoming the people I’ve worked with have been. There’s no reason the VP of Brand Marketing should have had an intern fly out to Los Angeles for a one day commercial shoot, and then extend his stay for the ESPYs. Or that the director and manager on the Brand Marketing team should have given an intern a seat at the table during the decision making process on key campaigns. But the team I worked with did just that and gave me every opportunity to learn as much as I could over the 10 weeks. I’m going to be forever grateful for this opportunity they’ve given me.