Salesforce Summer: Forging Futures through Strategic Partnerships and Business Development

Bonnie Li, WH ’25, Sault Ste. Marie, MI

During this past summer, I had the incredible opportunity to work at Salesforce on the Strategic Partnerships and Business Development team. When I first got my offer, I was thrilled but also kind of surprised. I had no experience in tech and honestly knew next to nothing about Salesforce and the software as a service (SaaS) industry. If I’m being completely honest, I was still gunning for a career in consulting, and saw this as a cool experience, but only a stepping stone towards something different. However, my expectations for this internship could not have been more wrong (in the best possible way).

I knew going into this internship that I wanted to learn as much as I could about the tech industry. I wanted to understand what has made Salesforce such a huge, successful company, as well as how its multitude of products impact businesses and their operations. I wanted to do my best to assimilate into a company who is so known for their culture by attending volunteer events, equity groups, and executive speaker sessions. But most of all, I wanted to work on impactful projects that would make a difference within the team even after I left the company.

This summer, I worked on a project that identified customer opportunities within the wide variety of Salesforce partners. The first phase of the project focused on creating a database spreadsheet mapping out Salesforce’s top 200 biggest customers ranked by AOV, and determining if they were users of a new Salesforce cloud computing product. I also did research on which of our partners’ products each customer used, painting a better picture of each customer’s tech ecosystem. From there, I used the spreadsheet and research I had done on major industries that were shifting towards cloud computing to identify opportunities where Salesforce’s sales teams could target to sell customers Data Cloud, or target as pilots for new product integrations. Through this project, I was able to learn who to reach out for help and resources on certain problems, but also learn how to have a strong ask when networking. Members of my team have already started using my database during their day to day work, so it has been incredibly rewarding to already see the impact my project has made.

In addition to my project, I was able to learn valuable career advice from conversations with 6 c-suite level executives, earn 15 volunteer hours, set up 44 cross-functional coffee chats with team members, and make a lot of new friends. Even though I had initially wanted to come into this internship to learn more about tech and the software as a service industry, I think I left with a much more valuable experience. It has helped me realize that I want to work at a company that keeps me intellectually stimulated, and on a team that fosters a culture of ‘no dumb questions’ and a commitment to helping each other grow. I genuinely had the best internship I could have ever dreamed of and I couldn’t have been more thankful for this opportunity.

This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2023 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.

By Career Services
Career Services