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How Sarah Belliotti ’09 became a summer intern at Jugularby Scott Lackey ’74

Scott Lackey ’74 is co-founder/strategic director of Jugular, an advertising firm in New York City. He has been an internship and externship host, a phonathon volunteer, and shared his experiences with Lafayette students as part of a career services dinner panel. In 2004, he and two classmates received the Alumni Association’s Webmaster Award for their work on the Class of 1974 webpage.

Sarah Belliotti ’09 sat across our conference table interviewing for a summer internship with my partner, Jeff Griffith and me. It was an unreasonably warm day in April, and Sarah was valiantly suffering in her gray wool suit. I thought to myself how ironic it was that, unbeknownst to Sarah, almost a half century earlier the prototypical adman had been routinely dismissed as “the man in the gray flannel suit.”

Sarah’s easy smile and a mischievous look were major assets. Yet she could also be self deprecating—like all three people I’ve ever known from Buffalo could be. Yes, we always interview Lafayette students and root for them but they aren’t puts. And our interviews are two-on-ones, never easy. She was doing well, but she had to earn her way into the agency.

Sarah told us about herself and her life. Marquis Scholar. Philosophy major (not exactly sure why). Campus activist. Resident dorm advisor. Women’s rugby team. Held a wide range of previous jobs. Yes, she’d work for free. Where would she live? She had it figured out (to us that’s always impressive surprisingly, the majority of candidates can’t answer the question convincingly). So far so good.

Sarah’s confidence grew incrementally as the interview proceeded.

Then, to close the interview Jeff and I have a rapid-fire set of 50 or so questions to select from. It’s where you triumph or fail…and you’re compared to the best and worst answers we’ve ever received.

Jugular: “What do you want to accomplish from the internship?”
Sarah: “Something concrete.”
Jugular: “We’ll never ask you to get coffee or make copies. We want you to walk out of here with a project you can add to your resume. A file to carry on your laptop to print out for your next interview.”

Jugular: “What’s your favorite movie?”
Sarah: “The Princess Bride.”

Jugular: Are you fun?
Sarah: “I’m in activist organizations on campus we protest on the Quad [sounded familiar to me]. I play rugby.”

Jugular: “Which of the walls do you like best: the bright orange one or the bright green?”
Sarah: (calmly and without hesitation) “The orange one I like that color better.”

Jugular: “Are you sure about the orange one?”
Sarah: “Yes.”

Of course it’s not the color of the wall that matters but the rationale for your choice and the degree of conviction you exhibit. It’s surprising how many students waver or reverse their decision when you ask them if they’re sure. Or how they stare you down looking for the telltale signs of which color you like.

In Sarah’s wordsshe “stuck” with JugularI kind of like the words “stuck with.” They’re relaxed and colloquial as you should be when you’re going to be a junior in college and there’s just a touch of loyalty there at least we’d like to think so.

On her first day, Sarah interviewed women on the street about diet pills. She researched and targeted companies for new business. She analyzed Google’s AdWords program and guerilla marketing. And that’s just a partial list of accomplishments.

Sarah was smart. Creative. A quick study. She questioned authority. She was fun. All-and-all a Jugular intern.

Now it’s Labor Day, and we’re interviewing the next generation of interns. They’re from schools closer to the agency like Columbia, NYU, and Parsons.

But they haven’t moved their stuff in yet.

Today I walked into the vacant office shared by our five summer interns. It was messy. Chicken chuckers and T-shirts labeled “Crystal Meth?” were scattered all over it. Unannounced, the old end of summer/back-to-school-dread that you never can shake swept over me.

Sarah and our other interns had all flown south to explore new lives.

And I was sad.

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