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© 2019, all rights reserved. For more information, visit the American Society of Magazine Editors.

Melissa Studach

Inc., Mansueto Ventures
Springfield, IL | Drake University

   Tune in to CNBC on any given night and you’ll likely spot today’s entrepreneurs pitching to business moguls Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, and others on “Shark Tank.” Last summer, I’d come home from work and consistently find myself riveted by these investors. Little did I know, I’d be researching startups, covering Mark Cuban, and working on an issue with a “Shark Tank” cover story just one year later.

   As an editorial intern at Inc. magazine, I was able to pitch story ideas, write digital content, and research the fastest-growing private companies for the annual Inc. 500 list. I had the chance to work with an incredibly talented staff of editors, and the desk views overlooking One World Trade Center and the financial district weren’t that bad either. Working for a small company—as opposed to a large publisher—had its perks. Edible celebrations place near the top of the list. Pokémon Go earned record-breaking digital traffic? Ice cream sandwiches are being delivered in 30 minutes. The production team finished the September issue? A bulk order has already been placed for pasta and calzones. And of course, Bagel Fridays—because just surviving another productive week in this city is reason enough to celebrate.

   As if the food benefits weren’t enough, working for a smaller publisher had plenty of industry advantages, as well. After all, when you report on the best ways to run a business, it’s good to lead by example. Inc. executives made it a point to be transparent with the staff, routinely sharing how print, digital, and the sales departments were performing. It was nice that the publication respected its interns enough to include us in these conversations. I also valued working with an editorial staff that was genuinely interested in helping your career. Veteran reporters led mid-day discussions on how to increase productivity or boost your online page views. I met some of the most inspiring writers I’ve ever worked with.

Melissa studies magazine media, entrepreneurship and marketing at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. When she’s not writing, the Springfield, Illinois, native can be found browsing antique stores or eating sushi. 

It’s not always easy turning fast-growing investment firms or analytic-tracking companies into intriguing stories, but these editors did it. And they did it well. But my favorite co-worker was fellow ASME intern, Skyler Inman. We bonded over horrible business-related stock photography and unnecessarily vague company names, and I knew the day she saved me a coveted cinnamon raisin bagel that we’d be life-long friends. One more reason to be thankful for Bagel Fridays.