College of Business: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Twitter Business


11/4/2009

By Sarah Small

When trying to secure summer internships, some students network at career fairs, some students meet with recruiters, but Ernest Baker, senior in accountancy honors, used Twitter.

Making good use of his Twitter account, Baker connected with Joe LaPuma, an editor at Complex Medium in New York City, and asked if the company needed an intern for the summer of 2009. A few months later, over his spring break, Baker was at the company’s office in New York interviewing for the position.

“It was lots of back and forth,” Baker said. “I had to do my part to follow up on that opportunity.”

His interview was successful because in May he moved to New York City to spend the summer as an intern at Complex Medium.

“I knew I was going to have great opportunities but it was far beyond what I’d expected or imagined,” Baker said.

Complex is best known for its magazine and Web site, Baker said. It targets an audience of young men between the ages of 18 and 34, and it covers a variety of content that interests this demographic, including technology, music, sports, girls and clothing.

He spent much of his time at the internship working on the company’s Web site where he wrote blog posts and online features. At Complex, he interviewed rapper 50 Cent, and also encountered other celebrities such as Kanye West, Kid Cudi and Drake.

Baker stood out slightly from the other summer interns because his background in business, he said. Most of the other interns were studying journalism or writing at their universities, but he was the only business major.

Thanks to his business training, he said, he was able to distinguish himself from the rest of the interns.

“I do think there are things I did to separate myself from the pack,” Baker said. “The way I was able to apply business the most was the way I’ve conducted my dealings with the company as a whole.”

He said even in a non-business field, there were still so many fundamental principals involved.

“The year before I did a cool business internship and saw that industry directly,” Baker said. “Then I got into something completely different and saw that the elements of the business world are everywhere. I see business decisions in a field that doesn’t relate.”

He chose to diverge from the traditional business route because of a longstanding interest in writing and communications. In middle school, Baker and a friend, angry at the absence of a school newspaper, took the initiative and began publishing their own.

In September of 2008, Baker also created a blog called Newborn Rodeo for which he wrote until the day he began his internship with Complex.

“First and foremost the personal interest was there,” Baker said.

Back at school, Baker is still working for Complex and writing daily blog posts. Although working long-distance, he said he still tries to stay involved in the company as much as possible.

“My plan is to stay with Complex,” Baker said. “I want to work with Complex after school. I suspect and hope if I continue on the path I’m on, that will be a possibility.”

After graduation, he said he plans to move to New York City to hopefully secure a job with Complex and continue writing. Although he is certain writing will always be at the core of his career, he is grateful for his business training.

“I’m glad I’m not a journalism student because I’ve always valued my business experience,” Baker said. “Wherever I end up, I’ll be able to use my experiences and apply things I’ve learned in this college.”

 

To view Baker’s blog, see: http://newbornrodeo.wordpress.com/

To visit the website of Complex Medium: http://www.complex.com/

UIUC College of Business