“Develop your initiative. Do something no one else has done.” Thomas J. Watson.
Through the course of this week I came to understand how much of our internship experience is chartered by our own initiative and decisions. As I talk to other interns and hear about the projects they are doing, and see how very different all of our work is, I am appreciating how we put our variety of skills to use. Someone is a wiz at video editing and is creating a short promo video for the Summit Program, another is great at coordinating activities and is planning an event for us all, and the list goes on. This mix of passions and skills allows a large company like ours to continue to grow and evolve, while optimizing the talents of individuals. What could be better?
This week has been a bit quiet after the end of the second quarter, especially with Independence Day on Monday, making it the optimal time to regroup and plan for the second half of the internship. For this recap, I want to start out with my most exciting moment of the week. You may recall that I have been working on coordinating meetings with new contacts in the accounts my team covers (if you’ve read my other posts and don’t remember you may want to have your memory checked…I seem to talk about this every other moment! My poor non-sales friends are sick of hearing about it). Well, this week not only did I get more responses, but a contact’s assistant actually reached out to me! What a different sensation it was to talk to an assistant whose sole goal was not to get me to stop calling. I can’t wait to update you all on how the meetings go next week.
Also, I have been working very hard to talk to someone, anyone in a particular account. Despite being thwarted in my attempts left and right, I finally got some time on the calendar with someone! This will give me the opportunity to learn more about their industry and to start to think about how IBM can add value and present that to the Software Client Leader who covers the account.
Another highlight of week 6 was working with two of my fellow interns on a branding project. We had to pick two companies and compare the in-person experience to the brand’s social media presence and evaluate them against each other. We visited Tiffany & Co. and Harry Winston on 5th Avenue, and certainly have a lot of good observations and material to use. This project’s purpose is both to get a better understanding of how to identify brand values, and also to expose us to more of the city (hence the picture of this post with me trying to be glamorous despite the oppressive heat. Thank you to Marisa for being a patient photographer!). We’ll be working more on the project in coming weeks, so I’ll keep you up to date on our progress.
I was happy to spend time with my host manager this week preparing for my stand and deliver presentation. A stand and deliver presentation is an opportunity to learn about a particular strategic imperative, or product, or family of products (or a combination of all of these) and verbally communicate the information and IBM’s perspective. I focused on cognitive, particularly Watson Engagement Advisor, and presented on how a client could use it to power a Facebook Messenger bot (shout out to my fellow intern Jess for being such a phenomenal camerawoman and for helping me practice!). I am becoming more captivated by Watson (remember how excited I was to visit Astor place last week?) and am looking forward to working on the cognitive references I mentioned in my last post.
A surprise this week came in the form of a text message from my host manager on Wednesday night. He asked if I was up for a time sensitive project and of course I was ready to snap into action! Throughout my internship we’ve spoken about how we have to bring new ideas and perspectives to our clients to not only stay relevant against our competitors, but more importantly to help our clients stay ahead of their competition. My host manager asked me to come up with some provocative topics he could use in a meeting he was going to the next morning. Cue me calling up my friend who has been full time in the Summit Program for a year (her name is Rachael Scott and she is force to be reckoned with, not to mention someone I have admired for many years) and talking through the best ways approach this challenge. I came in to the office early to continue reaching out to other IBMers and researching topics for the meeting. As it turns out, my host manager found out that the discussion would be centered around a particular deal that was in the works, so the research wouldn’t be used that day. I have to say that while I was slightly nervous and wanted to ensure I delivered high quality information, I was proud of the way I stayed calm with a deadline looming. It was definitely a good experience to learn how to be resourceful and how to reach out to others in a short amount of time.
My week also included quite a bit of design work, which makes me very happy. From creating a submission for the Summit Program logo contest to working on graphics for my stand and deliver, it was great to use my creativity. This is what I love so much about this internship: I get to fuel my passion for sales while also getting involved in projects that use a variety of my skills.
This was a short, but great week. Check back in the next installment to find out how those hard earned meetings go, how the jewelry branding project develops, and more!