By Abigail Scott (MRKT ’20)
During the Fall 2018 semester, Abby Scott worked with Ironbelly Studios as a marketing intern.
One of the biggest worries I had when choosing to study abroad in Montreal was if I could find an internship that would work for me. When I first came to Champlain College I knew I wanted to study abroad and learning that I could have an internship abroad only made it that much better. When it came time to apply I was a bit torn between Montreal and Dublin. I was really excited about the possibility of interning in a large city such as Montreal. However, I was nervous about being a business student trying to mix my marketing major with my interest in the video game industry. With a little bit of faith, I decided to apply for an internship in Montreal and am beyond happy with the result.
My internship with Ironbelly Studios has taught me so much. Ironbelly Studios was founded in 2009 and has an office based in Montreal while having several remote workers from around the world. Having worked with an international staff in the past, I was very excited to be able to work in an environment affected by multiple cultures. From the very first day, I knew I made the right decision to intern at this studio. Meeting everyone in the office over an introductory breakfast was a great way to calm my first-day nerves and start to really understand who Ironbelly was as a company.
The office is also a very welcoming environment. Located in an old knitting factory, the
Ironbelly office is just a quick ten-minute walk from the Frontenac metro stop. Downstairs is a
little cafe that I stopped in for a coffee more mornings than not. It wasn’t uncommon to find
some more of the Ironbelly staff grabbing a quick bite throughout the day. The office itself is
warm and welcoming with a large window lighting the office naturally and plants scattered
around the office. It’s a very open room so with a quick spin of a chair it is easy to see everyone
in the office. This made it really easy to get to know everyone and really become part of the
office community even though it is only a few people.
Ironbelly has various services that they provide as a company. One of the largest
services they provide is for other studios to upscale. They offer everything from development
tools, marketing materials, 3D models, and much more. While many of the clients they work with
are directly interacting with Ironbelly they also offer 3D assets on their own store along with the
Unreal and Unity Marketplaces. These assets can be used by developers on their own projects.
I was impressed when I learned of Ironbelly’s assets being used in the popular battle royale,
While these services are directed more towards game developers, Ironbelly has recently spread outside of the game development sphere. Recently, Ironbelly has made moves to expand into educational and architectural markets. I was really interested in this use of their talent outside of video games. I thought it was a really interesting crossover between two industries and as a marketing major, I was curious as to how they would promote themselves due to the multifaceted nature of their company. Since I am a marketing major, it was great to be able to work hands-on with the many aspects of Ironbelly Studios.
Being able to put all of the concepts that have been brought up in classes for the last two years into hands-on work has been extremely rewarding. I have had a variety of tasks given to me over the semester ranging from research to copywriting. This range of objectives really gave me the opportunity the expand on my knowledge granted by Champlain’s courses. I worked closely with two games titled Fractured Veil and Hold Your Own but also was given a variety of tasks for other games or objectives. While some of the tasks my previous experience had set me up for I found easy there definitely were tasks that challenged me to really think outside the box and put myself out there. It was so great to get outside of my comfort zone and push myself to do the best I could.
I always found creative tasks hard for me to share. I love being given the opportunity to be
creative but once it is time to share what I have done I find it hard not to stress about if it is good
enough or what my mentor, in this case, was looking for. By being given tasks that included
copywriting, email template creation, and social media post idea creation I was able to really
tackle the things that I was less comfortable with. Along the way as well my mentor, Jenn
Curran, was super supportive and reassuring. I had originally decided on a marketing major so
that I could mash together my love for psychology and creativity. These types of tasks let me
really get into the head of our target market and try to think how they would. Over the semester I
really grew in the aspect of being able to understand a market I was not very familiar with. While
I play video games and find the business behind games interesting I was not really aware of
how much of a community there really is in this market. Finding ways to appeal to them was an
amazing challenge that I felt would really help me in my future.
One of my favorite tasks was being given a problem that needed research done to figure
out a solution. Some examples of this were Kickstarter research to figure out what makes indie
game Kickstarters successful, influencer research to find influencers that would fit our games
and how to effectively reach them, and how successful survival games have marketed
themselves in the past. I felt that recognizing patterns and tactics being used in the industry was
something I really excelled at while at my internship. This included thinking of ways that
Ironbelly could use these tactics themselves in the future and how best to utilize the patterns
seen in previous marketing campaigns. This type of work really focused me on what aspects of
marketing I like.
From my experience in my internship, I have learned so much about the field I am
hoping to make my career in. I talked to so many people the summer before coming to Montreal
about how nervous I was about being in an internship. I was confident in my work from classes
and my ability to take those concepts into the real world but I was still so nervous about not
being ready for an internship. I think one of the biggest challenges I faced in my internship was
putting too much pressure on myself. The whole office was amazing and supportive so it was
easy to ask for feedback from my mentor. At this point in my internship, I’m so much more
confident in my own work thanks to the guidance and feedback from my mentor.
Reflecting on my time at Ironbelly this semester really makes me think about all I have
learned. It has been such an amazing experience and I am so grateful for the Ironbelly team,
especially Jenn, for everything they have done and welcoming me into the office.