(l.) Samuel Peraza's official Coca-Cola headshot. (rt.) Riley’ Muse's first day on the job in the lobby at the Coca-Cola headquarters.

#GradyInternDiaries: Samuel Peraza and Riley Muse

Names: Samuel Peraza and Riley Muse

Majors: Public Relations

Title of Internship: Public Affairs & Communications Intern

Company:  The Coca-Cola Company

Location: Atlanta, GA

Responsibilities: This summer, we were public affairs and communications interns for Coca-Cola North America, specifically in the brand and business communications department. We attended weekly meetings for various Coca-Cola Company brands and events including: Coke, Coke Zero Sugar, Diet Coke, Sprite, Fanta, 2018 Olympics, ESSENCE Music Festival and more. We assisted brand PR Managers in creating and revising PR plans, press releases and messaging documents for those brands and events, as well as writing and creating original content for the company’s consumer facing blog “Coca-Cola Journey.” We also assisted in reviewing social media posts, advertisements and future programs being implemented by The Coca-Cola Company. Lastly, we enjoyed many ice-cold, refreshing and delicious Coca-Cola products all summer long!

What is the biggest challenge you faced during your internship?

Riley and Samuel: We agree that the biggest challenge in our internship this summer was adjusting to the fast-paced nature of such a large company. Things happened rather quickly at the Coca-Cola Company, but luckily our internship was a full twelve weeks, giving us ample time to learn about how the business operates and how our department fit into the overall goals of the company.

More than ten years of Coca-Cola Interns, all Grady graduates who were hired by alumnus Scott Williamson (MMC ’92), gathered for an early retirement celebration for Williamson.

What was the best part about your summer internship?

Samuel: I really loved getting to work with so many fellow Grady College DAWGS! Seeing the community Grady has built at Coca-Cola was really special. All three of our managers are Grady graduates and are proud of it. The love for UGA and Grady is so real and it made it feel like home. It made me proud to be a Grady student.

What is the most memorable experience you had during your internship?

Riley: One of the most incredible experiences I had during my internship was getting to travel to Los Angeles, California to assist in a satellite media tour for the launch of Fanta’s “Be More Than One Flavor” summer campaign! I got to fly to L.A. and help message train the celebrities representing Fanta and The Coca-Cola Company and prepare them for a full day’s worth of radio and television interviews about the campaign. It was an amazing experience to get to see how such a large-scale SMT operates, and I learned so much about the best way to earn media coverage for your campaign.

What is the most valuable lesson or skill you learned during your internship?

Samuel: The most valuable lesson I learned at Coke was that no task is too small and that we should always put 100 percent effort into all we do. The culture of the company is that every last part of the process is important and we should treat each process as such. From research and media lists to concerts and big events, it is all important. That also comes with being diligent and putting your best efforts into anything you do.

What advice would you give to a student looking for an internship?

Riley: My biggest piece of advice to a student looking for an internship is to approach the application process with excitement, authenticity and passion. I am still so incredibly humbled that I was chosen to be a PAC intern for The Coca-Cola Company this summer, and sometimes wonder how I ever got to be so lucky, but I think that it was my sincere love for public relations and for Coca-Cola that showed through in my application and interviews. The application process can be a stressful and scary one, but if you stay positive, passionate and true to yourself, then everything else will fall into place.

What part of your Grady education did you find most valuable during your internship?

Samuel: All I am going to say is that every single thing I have learned in Grady came in handy during my time at Coca-Cola. Every. Single. Thing. A big shout out to Grady professors for teaching us and doing it exceptionally!

Date: September 19, 2017

Editor:  Stephanie Moreno,  s.moreno@uga.edu