Paris as Classroom

Internship Spotlight: Maggie Mixon

“I Now See a Classroom on Every Corner”

Maggie Mixon, an AUP senior, works as an intern at the Paris-based luxury travel company, Secret Journeys. She explains how she combined her twin passions of journalism and business strategy – while uncovering little-known secrets of the City of Light. 

 

How did you find out about Secret Journeys? 

It was thanks to AUP’s Jobs and Internships database! I knew I wanted to work in business development or sales. One day, I had three interviews – two with software companies, and one with Secret Journeys. I met Phillippe, now my boss, in a café, and from the get-go we were on the same page. I’m really interested in journalism and the news, and Phillipe used to work at the New York Times. We talked for two hours! Within a week I signed a contract. 

 

What drew you to the internship? 

It offers a whole new way of looking at travel. We specialize in privatizing spaces for a luxury travel experience. Our former clients include Michelle Obama! Anyone can take a tour of a museum, but our journeys go beyond that. We take a specific angle – say, the women of Versailles – and we customize the narrative to fit with your interests. We pair the museum’s guides with our own storytellers, who are often lauded journalists. We aim to open a secret door – to introduce clients to curators and directors, behind the scenes. It’s about structuring the best day we can, so clients see Paris in a less touristic light.  

My classes in strategic management, literary journalism and international business prepared me well – especially when it came to working with people with varied cultural backgrounds, managing their different norms and expectations.

What do your responsibilities look like? 

I don’t have an average day – it varies from week to week. I meet with Paris-based travel agencies, hotel concierges, museum representatives, restaurants – any potential players who can help set up an event. I usually help run a couple of events a week. Then there is the background work – writing tasks for the storytellers, updating the website and social media, or calling magazines. My classes in strategic management, literary journalism and international business prepared me well – especially when it came to working with people with varied cultural backgrounds, managing their different norms and expectations. 

 

What does studying in Paris mean to you? 

It really is unique. I now see a classroom on every corner. I’ve learned so many things beyond my studies – about art history, music or gastronomy. Studying in Paris means a holistic education. In my internship, as well as all the business aspects, I’ve learned so much about culture.  My internship was also like a crash course in journalism from award-winning journalists. I always loved to write, but I didn’t realize I would learn so much about it going into business. 

Has your internship affected your plans? 

Definitely! I always knew I want to work in business strategy, but now I've figured out how I can marry that passion with news and journalism. Right now, I’m applying for jobs in Paris in business development and partnership management. I’m open when it comes to industry, but, ideally, I’d like to continue working in media. Ultimately, I’d love to be involved in building a successful publication.