Thanks to general education courses at the University of Arizona and pre requisite courses for the Eller College of Management I have become more aware of my strengths and weaknesses. I think it is safe to say that I am not a natural born scientist or mathematician. I have always had to work harder in these classes. Although oddly enough, I am good at statistics. I have always thought of myself as more of a creative person. As a testament to my creative side I was considering Architecture for the longest time. I loved the freedom that field gave me to come up with new designs, make concrete what was on my mind and be “artsy.” I still do love it. However, after spending two months at a Summer Architecture Academy at the University of Oregon, I realized that it was not what I wanted to study in college. I needed to find a new way to channel my creative energy. Struggling to determine how my interests could fit into the confines of a major, I turned to Business Marketing. Growing up with both parents in the high tech industry of Silicon Valley, I knew a little about the corporate and tech world, but it was not until experiencing my first internship as a freshman in college that I began to understand how I could make a difference in the business world while also having the opportunity to flex some creative muscle.
Last summer, after finishing my first year at the University of Arizona, I had the incredible opportunity to work alongside some of the most forward thinking individuals at Polycom. As a new corporate communications intern, or just a new intern in that regard, I was unsure as to what I should expect from an internship at a high tech company. The whole concept was, to be honest, quite intimidating. There I was: a freshman in college stepping into the corporate world for the first time. However, after the initial freak-out, I realized than an internship of this caliber would help me make connections and give me the experience that would help me be successful as an aspiring business woman. My manager at the time helped me make connections in all different areas of the business both locally and globally. I had the opportunity to sit in on dozens of important meetings as well as own several projects in areas such as social selling for lead-generation. Throughout the course of my internship I learned so much and networked with many people. I left Polycom last summer with a greater sense of where my interests were and a bird’s eye view of what the corporate world was like, specifically in high tech.
Returning to my home away from home in Tucson, Arizona, and being among fellow pre-business students, I realized that many of them did not have the type of perspective that I had. Many of my peers were still talking about having no idea which area of business they had an interest in pursuing for their careers. Although I am still trying to figure that out for myself, I feel like Polycom gave me a broad sense of where I want to end up. I know that I want to work in Marketing. I want to better understand how to position technology so that the benefits match the needs of a customer. I want to use my creative energy to amaze customers through creative marketing strategies and tactics.
As my sophomore year at the University of Arizona came to a close, I was again looking for a summer internship for 2016. After distributing my resume all around the valley, a couple of opportunities came up, including Polycom. I attended multiple interviews and spoke with recruiters – truly giving myself the chance to assess all of these opportunities. In the end, I again chose Polycom. Here are my three reasons: thought leadership, innovation and people.
ThoughtLeadership: Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, people at Polycom are forward thinkers. Thought Leadership is one thing that sets Polycom apart from other telecommunication companies in the industry. Polycom is always coming up with new ways to better the customer experience. It is not solely coming up with the technology, but leading the industry by knowing what the people want. What is important to customers? What will make the lives of the customers easier? How can we help ease user experience and collaborate effortlessly in the workspace? Passionate and hardworking employees at Polycom answer all of these questions on a daily basis.
Innovation: Personally, I think innovation at Polycom is self-explanatory. Just look at what Polycom has come up with within the past year: RealPresence Centro. WOW. Polycom pioneered this technology that gives people a natural and “in the round” experience. This is how people were born to collaborate. User friendly icons on a touch screen, speaker tracking, acoustic fence (Also, just a heads-up for future Gen Z interns: at Polycom, if you hear ‘AF’ – it’s not what you think it means. Here, it stands for ‘Acoustic Fence’!), and a 360 degree camera combine together to create an unparalleled video conferencing technology. Polycom’s innovation amazes me! It’s no wonder I was ready to come back for another summer internship.
People: My amazing coworkers make all the difference. Although I am an intern, I have never felt like a stereotypical ‘gopher’ one that you might see in the movies. My coworkers make me feel like I make a difference. They believe in me and want to hear what I have to say. They say things like: “Go for it!” and “Great idea, Nico. Cool, let’s get this project rolling.” They are the most motivated and hardworking people I have ever met. I am very grateful and lucky to be back at Polycom for another summer and cannot wait to share my experiences with you all.
This article is a part one of an internship series that will be posted throughout my internship. Stay tuned!