This past summer I had the opportunity to intern at Concur Technologies under the Small to Medium-Sized Businesses (SMB) Account Management department. There I served as one of 6 global administrators for our LinkedIn Client User Group, consisting of over 4000+ customers worldwide. I got to create presentations (simply because I just asked!) for the department managers to take overseas to train our employees in Manila on client escalation, email etiquette, and understanding the SMB market. I worked a ton with Salesforce and Excel, and created several reports based off utilization and customer feedback data in order to improve customer retention. A lot of the work extended past your typical intern work, and that’s what I loved most about it – feeling like I had a say and contribution to the company.
One of the biggest takeaways from my experience is the idea that it’s the people that matter most. Concur’s CEO, Steve Singh, summed it up pretty well in one of our intern Lunch and Learns – “When you’re looking for a job, look for people you really, truly want to work with. Go after that. The rest will follow.” After visiting the office and meeting several of the employees from my manager to the recruiter all the way up to the CEO and CFO, I couldn’t help but fall in love with this fast-paced, innovative mentality that every employee seemed to have. It made me realize how much company culture mattered to me, and choosing based off of that was one of the best decisions I could have made.
When it comes to securing internships, all I can say is that the power of networking is unbelievable. As a Freshman, I was told over and over again that most companies wouldn’t take interns until their Junior or Senior year – but that should never stop you from going to all the careers fair, networking events, and workshops that you can. Starting early, regardless of what is available to you at that time, is what will make you stand out. Companies love seeing students who aren’t just hungry for any internship they can get and give up when nothing is available – they want to see people who believe in what the company stands for and have a sincere interest to learn, grow, and develop. I still have a few years to go, but if there’s anything I’ve found value in, it’s reaching out to others to just learn more. We’re taught all these ways in the business school on how to have a good handshake or write a follow up email, which, of course, is still important. But developing a love for learning, in my opinion, is the most beneficial above all else. If you have that, all the fancy internships and cool opportunities will follow.