Growing up with a father who can build cars from scrap as well as repair just about any engine can wield a lasting influence on a daughter. It can also lead to good career advice.
Last year, when Amanda Rickman was searching for a summer internship with a company that was “innovative, fast-paced, and dynamic,” she chatted with her father about possibilities in the automative industry. He recommended Stewart’s Automotive Group, a dealership in Kingston, Jamaica, for Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Jaguar, Mitsubishi and Suzuki. Rickman was born and raised in Jamaica.
To support her digital marketing internship with Stewart’s, Rickman received a funded internship grant from Bowdoin Career Planning. She is one of seventy-eight Bowdoin students this year who received one of these competitive grants, which enables them to pursue unpaid internships or projects over the summer months.
While an interest in the car industry runs in the family, Rickman said this is the first time she’s actually worked with cars. Her previous internships have been in Jamaica’s public sector: at the Jamaica Military Museum and the Office of the Prime Minister of Jamaica.
“This time I wanted something different,” Rickman said. “During my time at Bowdoin, I’ve delved into my passions for business and marketing and wanted to gain some experience in this domain. I thought that the best way to gain marketing experience would be to work for large brands. Though options for large brands are limited in Jamaica, the car industry is one of the most dynamic and competitive here.”
Delving doesn’t quite capture Rickman’s commitments to her interests. Besides being part of the Bowdoin Women in Business club, she launched own business, College Quo, when she was a first-year student. College Quo provides affordable services primarily for Caribbean students wanting to study abroad. “I’ve helped students from Jamaica, St.Kitts & Nevis, Barbados, Japan, the Cayman Islands and the United States,” Rickman said, who added that she was prompted to launch the company after seeing how expensive similar programs are in Jamaica. “I wanted to give everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status, a better chance to pursue their dreams of studying overseas,” she said.
So far this summer, Rickman said her most valuable lessons have come from watching how her colleagues navigate the industry. And, she admits, she’s learned from her “MANY” mistakes (which is, if people were honest about it, really how most of us get enlightened). Rickman said little things — like posting the wrong model of a car or failing to give a photographer credit — can be significant. “It just showed me how careful and meticulous I have to be when navigating the digital sphere, especially when operating on behalf of large, well-established brands,” she said.
But she’s had lots of high points, too, including coming up with a new marketing campaign. “Recently, I came up with a ‘Did You Know’ campaign for Suzuki Jamaica, which will hopefully be featured every Saturday. Essentially, we will be highlighting quirky/interesting facts about various Suzuki models, which I think can be a cool way to increase brand engagement and differentiate ourselves in the automotive/social media sphere,” Rickman said.