Make Anything: My Summer as an MBA Intern at Autodesk

Autodesk Finance Interns

Before coming to Foster, I’d never worked for a Fortune 1000 company. I’d never worked in corporate finance. And I’d never lived in San Francisco.

But that all changed last summer.

Just four days after I finished the last class of my first year at Foster, I packed a few bags, coaxed my cat into her carrier, and hopped on a plane bound for San Francisco. 12 hours later, I walked into Autodesk’s One Market street office and began my summer internship.

At 35, Autodesk is more than a few years older than me. But despite its age, it remains an exciting company. Right now, Autodesk is going through a dramatic change, as it shifts its business model from one centered around selling software licenses, to one dependent on selling subscriptions. As I learned firsthand this summer, that change is affecting virtually every part of the company.

For 10 weeks, I worked in sales finance, building a framework to help project Autodesk’s guidance for this new business model. I analyzed pricing and discount data for hundreds of Autodesk’s products, then designed a method to calculate the revenue Autodesk could expect to realize on each sale. It was a fascinating, though at times challenging, project.

But I didn’t spend all my time working. There were more than 100 interns at Autodesk that summer, and the company went out of its way to make sure we had the opportunity to meet each other and have a great time. Lunch and learns with company leaders were an almost weekly occurrence. There were parties, a trip to the Exploratorium, and a Giants game. Everyone was given the entire July 4th week off. I drove to Yosemite and went hiking.

I think the best thing about Autodesk was just how willing everyone was to make time for me. I had no trouble getting coffee with more than a dozen top people in the finance department — I even spent some time talking with the CFO Scott Herren, who is the nicest executive I’ve ever met. That flows through Autodesk’s culture. Everyone I met at Autodesk was hard-working and dedicated, but was always sure to treat me, and each other, with respect.

Although Foster is known for its strong network in the Pacific Northwest, I found there was no shortage of Foster MBAs in San Francisco, including at Autodesk itself. In fact, my direct supervisor was a Foster grad, along with several of the other Autodesk employees I worked with. I didn’t do many net present value calculations, but I definitely leveraged some of the skills I built in my first year at Foster. I was thankful for the time I spent working on case competitions when it came time to make my final presentation.

Just over two years ago, I made the decision to apply to Foster. My goal was to land a finance job with a major technology company. When I was given the offer with Autodesk I was excited because it checked all those boxes, but my experience this summer blew me away.

It gave me the chance to explore a new city, the opportunity to connect with dozens of amazing people, and the chance to leverage the skills I learned to help grow an amazing business.