Having opportunities to become immersed in a company’s culture, even for a couple of hours, is an invaluable experience. Last fall, prior to completing my master’s in marketing at Daniels, I had the opportunity to participate in Immersion Day hosted by Effective, a Denver-based, human-centered design and digital experience agency. This was Effective’s second year hosting this event, which brings together students working in design and other disciplines to learn the ins and outs of working at a design agency.

Our day began with an introduction to Effective’s work, which includes research, design, innovation and analysis. Following the company overview, we were taken on a tour of the office. Open spaces with couches and white-boards were seen throughout the building, giving employees the room to meet and piece together design concepts and talk through research. Desks were also arranged in an open area, and this floor plan allows Effective employees the chance to collaborate when needed on projects.

For the next portion of our day, we met with a panel of numerous Effective employees. During the panel, we learned about the different roles at Effective, and how team members work together on client projects. Some of the other panel topics were what makes a good team, how to handle challenges in the workplace, and a conversation around the core values at Effective. However, the biggest takeaway from the panel for me was the importance of asking questions. This involves more than asking questions during meetings or discussions, it also includes asking questions of colleagues to understand both their roles and their interests. By learning about other roles in an organization besides your own, you can place yourself in someone else’s shoes, and make even more significant contributions to a company.

After the panel concluded, we broke into groups to shadow some of the employees on the panel depending on our interests. We got to sit in on a project kick-off meeting, learn about research methods and review screening questions. Shadowing gave us time to ask more specific questions of Effective employees about their positions, and to take a deeper dive into the work they do on a daily basis. In our shadowing break-out session, we learned tips and tricks for focus group screening questions, and some best practices for qualifying participants. This was especially beneficial, and I know I will be able to apply what I learned in this session to my career.

Following lunch and networking with employees and fellow participants, one of Effective’s talent managers led an Interviewing 101 session. She reviewed the do’s and don’ts of interviews, such as conducting research beforehand, asking questions, and best approaches for talking previous work. She also went over ways to compile a portfolio and how to best display projects. Her biggest piece of advice? Practice the pitch, especially when it comes to projects, and tell a story when talking about work. Once the session ended, we had the opportunity to network a bit longer before Immersion Day officially concluded.

Overall, Immersion Day was an incredible experience. I enjoyed getting to experience firsthand what a design agency does, and how insights, research and analytics are used. My peers and I got to learn from each other and Effective employees, and I know I will take what I learned at Immersion Day and apply it to my own work moving forward.