Communication Studies and Spanish double major Christian Castano of Portsmouth, RI found his career match when he interned under the executive sales team at CBS in New York this summer. “I worked with very intelligent, influential, and important people and I couldn’t be happier for the opportunity,” Christian said.
The interdisciplinary nature of the Communication Studies major at the Harrington School allows students to explore and develop a wide breadth of skills and competencies, from research and writing to leadership and public speaking. Christian wanted to understand how such a wide range of skills could apply in the professional world. When Christian began studying communication, he realized “the fact that there’s more to [it] than just talking. I wanted to see if I could put it to use.” Christian’s internship helped him discover the field in which communication abilities translate into career excellence.
Christian worked closely with the sales team at CBS, learning the “game” of television syndication sales. His supervisors taught him how to use his communication skills to sell syndicated shows to tough network executives. “The first person who speaks loses,” he recalls. “The only way you can prepare yourself is to go in informed. The rest is listening.” His supervisors would give him sales scenarios and help him practice a real-life sale. He said that they would “put me on the spot and have me role play with them on how I would sell in that situation.” Later on in his internship, Christian had opportunities to attend meetings and dinners with clients to see the pros in action. He recalls a dinner he attended during which his own boss cited information that Christian had researched earlier that week. “It was amazing to see that I was making a difference in these deals.”
Although Christian learned the specifics of one communication-based industry, the most important skill he learned applies to every job. “You have to sell yourself before you sell anything else,” he says. This valuable internship experience at CBS is sure to help focus his learning during his remaining years at URI, as well as make him marketable upon graduation.
Emma Clarke, 2016