Nike. The swoosh. The brand. The company. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to be there this summer. So what was it like to intern at one of the best brands on the planet?
Nike. The swoosh. The brand. The company. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to be there this summer. So what was it like to intern at one of the best brands on the planet?
Today we have a superb guest blogger: Anika Gupta (Class of 2016)! Anika had the opportunity to spend the summer at TripIt as a Senior Product Marketing Manager intern. Anika is already an accomplished marketing maven, but this was her first experience in a tech startup. Read more about her experience below!
This Summer 2015, I had the amazing opportunity to intern as a Senior Product Marketing Manager at TripIt by Concur an SAP company, in their Channel Sales team. My main objectives of this internship were to understand how to maximize the B2B sales channel for growth in user acquisition, get a better understanding of the company structure and culture post acquisition by SAP and make the most of my first summer in San Francisco.
This was my first full-time stint working in the US and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. Coming from a career in high stress agency and corporate work, I was completely thrown off by the tech start-up scene in San Francisco. I had never known what it was to work in an employee-driven market, where companies really understand that their people are the key to their success, and therefore, take REALLY good care of them!
Today we have a great guest post by Dan Tadiarca (Class of 2016)! Dan had the opportunity to spend the summer as a MBA Finance Intern at Nordstrom, one of the best fashion retailers in the world. Read more about his experience below:
If you enjoy shopping for things (clothes, food, tech, you name it) as much as I do, it’s easy to see how landing an internship at renowned retailer Nordstrom over the summer can make you giddy with anticipation. Known for its best-in-class customer service and a generous return policy, Nordstrom embodies a culture of collaboration and diversity. So when I received an offer for the MBA Internship in Finance this summer, I jumped at the chance, despite some hesitation around returning to a Finance role. That decision to keep an open mind and take on challenging opportunities led to one of my best summers in recent memory. Ever, perhaps.
Working for Microsoft is like a dream come true since it was my goal when I applied to the Foster MBA program.
Over this past summer, I interned with Microsoft as a Partner Channel Marketing Manager Intern in the Worldwide Partner Group, under the Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners organization. Being an international student, even though I had similar marketing background in the technology hardware industry, working for Microsoft was still an eye-opening and a learning experience for me.
During the twelve-week internship, everyday was a new challenge since Microsoft is such a big organization and it required multiple stakeholders’ support to get things done. My project was to advocate the benefits of Microsoft’s Cloud solutions, and I worked closely with vendors to create training videos, blogs, and the worldwide partner training guidebook. It was truly rewarding to see my work being posted on the Microsoft Partner Network website which 400,000 plus partners use. Moreover, in order to get support from other stakeholders in rolling out the project, I had to overcome my shyness and proactively set up meetings with various colleagues to gain their buy-in. To my surprise, despite the fact that many colleagues were senior and very busy, they were still willing to spare time to listen to my pitch, and also gave me feedback, which truly demonstrated the teamwork and collaborative spirit at Microsoft.
I was also given a great opportunity to go on a business trip to Washington D.C. in July to attend the annual Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. It was an important event for the company as attendees came from over 150 countries and represented many of the most successful, top tier partners. I was thrilled to be there and talked to the partners in person. We also had fun watching the FIFA World Cup Championship game together!
Last but not least, Microsoft also cared a lot for interns. There were many speaker events where we got to meet CEO Satya Nadella, the CMO, the head of HR, and many others to learn more about the company. Let alone the fun intern activities to Leavenworth, Puyallup, Casino night, Lake Washington Cruise and kayaking in Portage Bay. I had a great time meeting other interns and the Microsoft internship experience is truly one of the most unforgettable summers I have ever had! I am excited to be going back to Microsoft for a full time role after completing my Foster MBA.
Evelyn Chia-Wei Chiang
Foster MBA, Class of 2015
This has been one of my favorite summers so far. I managed to get an internship at my dream company, Google, and in one of my favorite countries, Singapore. My role at Google is MBA Marketing Intern with the South East Asia, Small and Medium Business Marketing team.
The internship experience has greatly surpassed my expectations. First of all, I feel lucky that I’ve been given a real hands-on project for the summer. The amount of trust that has been placed in me and the resources I’ve been given make me feel that I am not just an intern. Instead, I am doing work that really matters for the users and the company. I’m involved in and actually lead certain key components of a regional marketing project and work closely with Googlers cross-functionally and cross-geographically. Moreover, my final delivery is a real program which will make an impact on both the end users and the company.
Secondly, I was a bit nervous on my first day. However, the moment I stepped into the Google office, I could see and feel the fun and open culture everywhere: the office design & decoration, interns’ high level of access to information, and of course the people I’ve met. Everyone, no matter how senior, is very approachable and open to talking with me. I have never been turned down or even responded to with hesitation when I reach out to ask job-related questions or request career advice. I am so lucky that my manager is a Foster MBA alumnus. He is always willing to share his personal experience and career advice with me. Every one-on-one session with him is more like a career coaching session.
Now that I’m one year into my MBA program and two months into my internship, I see how I’ve changed substantially, especially in terms of strategic thinking and communication skills. There are so many moments during my work here that remind me of knowledge I acquired from group discussions at Foster. Moreover, the frameworks I learned from the classes are really helpful in solving the problems I encounter here.
There are only three weeks left of my internship. While I’m enjoying this great experience with Google, I’m going to be fully recharged for fall quarter!
~ Guest post by Hui Li, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate
Securing an internship at Starbucks this summer had been a goal of mine since I started my Foster journey. I’ve always been drawn to Starbucks because I have a passion for food and I want to work for an innovative retail company with a strong consumer brand. This summer, I’m working on the Global Digital Marketing Team, focused on optimizing the performance of their social media campaigns.
I’ve learned so much about Starbucks and why they stand out, but I’ve also taken classes to become a Coffee Master, attended a Sounders game with my fellow intern class (in a box suite, nonetheless), and I’ve had great exposure to senior executives in the company.
Still, the best thing about my experience thus far is meeting the partners (employees) there. Everyone at Starbucks loves sharing their journey and they are so passionate about Starbucks – the company, the coffee, food, and the customer experience. What’s even better is the HUGE Foster alumni network at Starbucks and how supportive they are! They’ve set up “Ask Us Anything” sessions, happy hours and have even set aside time to watch us practice our presentations. At Starbucks, this summer has been nothing short of amazing!
~ Guest post by Jamie Hui, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate
As I near the end of my internship at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and take stock of my experiences this summer and what I’ve learned, I am repeatedly humbled to be part of this remarkable organization. The campus is teeming with the foremost experts in a plethora of fields from around the world. As interns, we’ve been given an incredible opportunity not only to attend the many talks and fireside chats with people like Peter Piot and Bill Nye, but also the chance to sit down with C-level executives from across the organization and ask them about their experiences, leadership approach, and vision for the organization. I’ve taken away many lessons from these chats, and equally important have learned much from the incredible cohort of interns from across the country.
I’ve been thrilled to dive head first into strategy work for one of the global health programs. In reflecting on what skills I’ve most applied from my first year at Foster, I think, at a high level, it’s a structured way of thinking: which I practiced through a combination of strategy and marketing classes, my applied strategy and Service Corps projects, and case interview preparation. There’s a wonderful sense of gratification in knowing that I’ve approached my work this summer differently as a result of my first year in the MBA program, and that I’ll approach my second year differently as a result of my experiences this summer.
I had high expectations for this summer…they’ve been far surpassed.
~ Guest post by Kate Thorson, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate
Unlike many of my classmates who came into Foster with a laser focus on working at Amazon/Microsoft/Starbucks, I came into Foster with a desire to work at a certain type of company. I wanted to work at a high-growth, high-tech firm that was on the late side of early stage. One that was established and well-funded, but still operated like a start-up. I wanted to work at a firm that challenged the status quo and came up with a new way of doing things—a disruptor or a creator of their own space in the market. One that placed a high value on creativity, innovation, and new ideas. I also knew that I was interested in a Marketing or Communications role that was strategic. After spending a significant portion of my career in risk-averse, bureaucratic environments, I was excited to see what it was like on the other side.
I first heard of Apptio when taking the Software Entrepreneurship class with Greg Gottesman and Matt McIlwain, who are both managing directors at Madrona Venture Capital, where Apptio is a portfolio company. Through a random mix of networking, serendipity, and luck, I was contacted by an Apptio recruiter in the spring about interning with the Marketing Department on the Content Marketing team. Content Marketing turned out to be a great opportunity to combine my strategic communications background and the quantitative and analytical skills I have learned in the MBA.
Apptio is the most measurement-oriented company I have ever worked for. They measure everything and analyze all actions, tying them back to outcomes and results. All of the Marketing efforts are tied to sales goals. The company has a sophisticated sales funnel, and tracks all prospects on a detailed level.
My project is creating the SlideShare strategy and then creating presentations to post on the Apptio SlideShare channel. It is a fun challenge to come up with engaging and compelling content that explains a solution to complex, technical problems.
At my job before going back to school, I was the person everyone came to when they wanted to know what the latest social media and collaboration tools were. When I arrived at Apptio, I was greeted with a plethora of tools I had never heard of, such as Slack, Trello, and Marketo.
I am currently one month into the internship, and I have already learned so much. From the exposure to new tools to meeting great colleagues to understanding the sales funnel, this internship has been an excellent opportunity to see what it is really like to work at this type of firm.
~ Guest post by Rachel Azaroff, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate
I’m a little over half way through my summer as a consultant at McKinsey and I still don’t truly know how to describe what a consultant does. I can say that what we do, we do for many hours a day during the week and earn a few hotel points and airline miles along the way. This summer, I am involved in a high-level, corporate strategy project with a Fortune 100 company. It blows my mind that someone like me, only half-way through my Foster MBA, is influencing the strategic direction of a corporation with executives who have lived and breathed the industry for decades.
I knew going into my summer at McKinsey that I would have the opportunity to have real impact on big problems, but I never thought I would meet so many great people. I have to admit that prior to starting my internship, I had a certain stereotype in mind. However, aside from employees referring to McKinsey internally as “the Firm,” any notion of pretentiousness has been shattered. The nature of my project makes it fairly top-heavy, but despite my relatively minimal experience, I’ve been encouraged to speak up about my ideas and exercise an “obligation to dissent.” Inside the team room, all ideas are considered and reacted to based on the same criteria. The goal is client impact – whose mouth that impact comes from is unimportant.
The best part of my summer has been the chances I’ve had to spend time with fellow West Coast interns. At this moment, I’m at the Reno Airport getting ready to come back from a weekend spent with 50 other interns in Tahoe. Combining that with a conference in Florida and a training in San Francisco, I’ve developed friendships with some incredibly talented people. They come from colleges and business schools all over the country and from a wide range of experiences. I’m humbled to be part of this group and the amount I’ve learned from my new colleagues and friends has been invaluable. I’m excited to bring this experience back to Foster in the fall.
~ Guest post by John Czerniak, Class of 2015 MBA Candidate
A number of channels exist to help Foster MBAs find summer internships following their first year of business school, from on-campus recruiting to internal and external job boards, to alumni connections and corporate networking contacts. Here is one account.
By Gwyn Gaubatz, Full-time Class of 2013. Gwyn graduated from Smith College with a double-major in Computer Science and American Studies. After teaching two years in rural Mississippi with Teach for America, she spent five years in the educational testing industry before her interest in organizational behavior and development drew her to business school.
A week ago Tuesday I got a call around 2 PM. I was still in my pajamas, heating up some pea soup for lunch after an early nap on a grey Seattle afternoon. I had a To Do list, of course: laundry, cleaning, and a growing list of even more internships opportunities that needed my attention by way of resume revisions, tailored cover letters, research, and networking connections to be made. But also, I had the whole week wide open in front of me, with plenty of time to do that all…after I caught up on some season finales on hulu.com. Such was the lovely state of my life after finals! I turned from the stove to answer my cell and was greeted by an enthusiastic recruiter. Her company would like to interview me!
Well, this was a lovely turn! I stumbled through the beginning of the conversation because, you see, I did not know this company off the top of my head – and did not recall directly applying for any position with them. But once I was told she had received my resume from the Foster School of Business, everything clicked into place. The career center had put me forward as a candidate for a new internship that had suddenly become available. So I expressed that I would be delighted to interview, and pulled out my calendar book. We quickly scheduled a series of three (three? Yes, three!) interviews for that Thursday, beginning at 8 AM.
After I got off the phone (and helped myself to some organic Trader Joe’s soup), I sent a quick note to my career counselor, Susan Canfield, and looked up the company on the internet. As I was perusing their web site, my career counselor responded – congratulations! and also yes, we should meet to prepare – so I turned it around and arranged to come into the career center the very next day.
My meeting with Susan was very busy, but very productive: we talked about the company and the likely project opportunities, and she gave me a laundry list of further research I should do that night to prepare: reading up on the industry, not just the company; scoping out the LinkedIn profiles of my interviewers, looking into similar positions on the Foster job board to get a better sense of the responsibilities and requirements of typical product management work. Susan also drilled me on my responses to typical interview questions and helped me brush up (and abbreviate) some stories I tried that felt shaky. Finally, before I left, she identified a Foster MBA alumn already working at the company, and sent a quick introductory note suggesting we talk. Phew! I had a lot to do that evening to get ready!
Amazingly, within 5 minutes the alumn had responded with contact information and a time to call that same night – and I realized how truly phenomenal the Foster network can be. Later that evening, he spared a half an hour to walk me through the industry, the company, and the staff I would be meeting with the following morning. I was incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with him and gain his perspective and support.
Armed with his insights and notes from my own research, I put myself to bed. I slept well for maybe the first 4 hours before waking once to use the bathroom, and then every half hour afterwards in a fit of nerves, glancing at the clock to make sure I had not missed my alarm (I never miss my alarm! But still…). I finally broke the cycle at 5:30 AM when I arose to shower, eat, and suit up. And then I grabbed my folio, checking to make sure it was stocked with copies of my resume as well as business cards, and hopped into the car hoping to beat rush-hour traffic to Bothell.
By 10 AM I was turned around and heading back home – all my manic prep work had paid off! Each of my interviews had gone well, I believed, developing into something that felt more like a conversation than a critical back-and-forth. I was able to speak about the MBA program, my experience with teams; my interests in the industry and the ties between the position and my experience; my goals for the future and how they oh-so-snugly fit with this company, right here – and this position, right now! Better yet, after all my research and this series of conversations, I felt genuinely excited at the prospect of working there, with the team that had interviewed me, on the projects that had been discussed.
Later that afternoon – a mere 48 hours after I became aware of the opportunity! – I got another call, this time one I had been told to expect – and I was offered the internship.
I enthusiastically accepted.