What attracted you to this internship?
The opportunity to be in the playground of global technology, San Francisco, while getting a hands-on start-up experience at Jobscience was extremely appealing. I had a chance to talk to the VP of Product at Jobscience before accepting my internship. He clearly laid out what projects he wants me to work on, how those projects will help the business move forward and also what I will get out of the internship.
How did you learn about it?
I learned about the opportunity through LexLink. I also had a chance to meet the CEO while I was studying abroad in London last year.
Describe your daily duties.
One of the best things in a start-up is that every day is different. I get to involve myself in every facet of the business and actually make a difference with everything I do. Wearing many hats in a fast-paced, start-up environment, I learned how a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and subscription-based business works while working on enhancing the product itself. I was encouraged to attend every meeting — from daily sales gathering to weekly bug scrubs. And I reported to the VP of Product Development at the end of every day to make sure I was making progress on my work.
What are some tasks/projects you've been working on?
In a subscription-based business like Jobscience it is imperative to reduce the churn rate (customer attrition) and make sure the customers are deriving value out of the product. My first task was to implement Customer Usage Tracking System. This allowed us to discern what features are being used by our customers and, more importantly, what features are not being used. This information helped prioritize developmental efforts to better cater to the customer needs. More often than not, there is a gap between what engineers think is cool and what customers actually find value in. I was able to identify our largest users of the product —information that we did not know before, and idenfity accounts that were no longer active, which were removed from the clusters to save us disk space. I was also tasked with determining specifications to a Bug/Feature Tracking System to enhance our customer experience and ensure continuity in the recurring revenues, and working on a test application for our new feature working with API urls and SQL scripts.
Have any courses and/or professors helped you prepare for this internship? Which ones?
Studying engineering and computer science in a rigorous liberal arts curriculum has provided me not only with technical aptitude, but also a breath of knowledge that enables me to use that technical ability to understand and relate to economic, political and cultural realities. It has allowed me to work effectively and empathize with professionals in other disciplines. Having strong interpersonal and communications skills while being able understand and adapt to new technologies has been valuable.
What was your favorite part or perk of the internship?
Just being in the Bay Area is itself a great perk. Because of the incredible responsibility that was delegated to me, I was making a real impact on the company.
What did you learn from living in the city where the internship was located?
Living in The Golden City has been a lot of fun. From burritos in Mission and First Fridays in Oakland to Karaoke bars in Japan town and nightlife in North Beach — it has been an incredible summer. There is always so much to do and see in the city. I will also miss the amazing weather and also the view of the Bay Bridge from my table.
What key takeaways/skills will you bring back to W&L?
Now that I have a solid experience in the industry, I can start relating concepts that I have and will learn in my classes, and think about solving real-life problems, creating value and hopefully making money in the process. Also, while in the city, I have been able to reach out to W&L alums in the industry and really learn from their experiences and career paths they took.
What advice would you give to students interested in a position like this?
We have an incredible alumni base that are ever so ready to work with us. Connecting with them can definitely open a vast array of opportunities. Also the folks at Career Development are always ready to help in any form — specially now that we have an Assistant Director who is solely focused on STEM programs.
Has this experience influenced your career aspirations? How so?
Incredibly so. I have been able to recognize not only what I am good at, but also what set of skills I still need to acquire and work on to be successful in the industry. Also, I realized I really enjoy being client focused — getting out there assessing customer needs and weighing them against the engineering limits at play, and truly recognizing and enhancing value in products.
Describe your experience in a single word.