Making a True Impact

This is part of series of posts by recipients of the 2020 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Maika Pereria, WH ’23

During this summer, despite the obstacles brought by COVID-19 and thanks to the grant provided to me by the Career Services at Penn, I had the opportunity to intern remotely at a Saas startup company focused on event management.

Throughout this 8-week internship, I got to participate in multiple projects and learned vastly. I worked on the investor pitch deck, for example, which entailed editing the deck and designing diagrams as well as conducting research on the market and benchmarking our deck against other Saas companies’ decks. I also learned about financial models and assumptions, aspects that I had no prior knowledge on, and was very involved in research. I worked with some other interns on developing a research bible on the industry and gathering information to produce models and charts, conducted competitor analysis, and evaluated multiple web analytics and ad hoc tools to be used by the company.

I felt like I was really being heard and making a true impact. It was very fulfilling to see the company following recommendations I had made. I worked directly with the CEO across projects, an experience I would probably not have had if I had interned at a larger company. I was able to understand how much work and effort is needed in building a company and the many obstacles startups may face. Also, because I worked at a startup, I was able to work across different project teams and thus work with more people and develop a wider range of skills. For instance, whilst working on the pitch deck and on research for product development, I also helped with the website’s design. This dynamic experience gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and learn about aspects I was quite unfamiliar with. Meanwhile, I was also able to work on aspects I had more knowledge on. For instance, I developed a Twitter strategy plan for the company to use in the near future, since I had experience with social media from my previous internships.

I am interested in pursuing a career in consulting and feel like this internship gave me essential skills for following this path. I had to work on multiple presentations weekly and developed my communication and team-work skills, as well as my problem-solving and analytical skills. I was also asked for final recommendations regarding the tasks I was given. For example, whether a certain feature in the software should be built in-house or be added as an integration, based on what was on the market.

I am very thankful for this rewarding opportunity. I got to work with some amazing people and gained valuable skills. I look forward to being able to apply what I have learned in my next internship opportunity and in life.

 

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