By Gretchen Kernbach–
More often than not, a Facebook event pops up on your timeline accompanied by the words “bar” and “tab.” When combined – a bar tab. All that’s required of attendees is downloading Tinder U or Bumble and swiping right.
Who is behind these events that involve free drinks and friends? Brand ambassadors – a popular college gig that’s spreading throughout the nation.
According to the NY Times, “Paying college students to push products is nothing new for companies.”
Here at Virginia Tech, both Bumble and Tinder thrive off of free giveaways and fun events in order to promote their brand. However, whether or not these marketing programs are beneficial to real-world careers is in question.
According to Tinder U’s website, an ambassador’s role is to “engage with students on campus and encourage people to download the app. Further, collect feedback on the brand and product and bring it back to the team.”
A common misconception given to college brand ambassadors is the notion that they relatively do no work. Furthermore, it’s noted that “for busy students, it is an easy, low-pressure way to make extra money or get free products.”
Is there really any quality effort that goes into this type of internship?
“There actually is a lot of work that goes into each of our events especially for our large mid-semester or end-of-the-year events,” said Kathy Bui, a Tinder U ambassador. “We have to contact different venues and we have to set a budget.”
Bui said that she engages in weekly “Skype meetings with Tinder headquarters” in order to discuss future events. She is also responsible for items like t-shirts, hats, and fanny packs to give out at Tinder events.
Director of marketing for the Pamplin College of Business, Donna Wertalik, emphasized that job recruiters look for “unique skill sets that separate out the normal marketing student.”
She emphasized that these dating app ambassador programs focus more on event management and communication. And if an ambassador wanted to get more out of their internship, they would need to assert themselves.
“[Students] can push for ‘can I see the analytics behind the assignment?'” said Wertalik.
Research on both dating apps is essential in learning what the benefits are for either ambassador program. Like any internship, the major question lies: how will this better prepare me for post-grad life?