By Guest Blogger Deepak, Professional Services
I am working as a summer intern in Professional Services at Esri’s headquarters in Redlands, CA. I have seven years of work experience in various multinational companies and I am currently pursuing an MBA from the University of Arizona. My goals for this internship were to get real-time experience in managing large technology projects and developing technology strategies for clients.
I am working primarily with the Technical Advisor Team which supports Esri Extended Support Programs such as the Enterprise and Business Partner Advantage Programs. As a technical advisor, you have to understand clients’ business needs and develop a technology strategy that aligns to these needs. This summer I have been attending technical planning sessions and client calls, as well as helping the team with developing high-level work plans for these clients.
In addition to working with the Technical Advisor Team, I am also working closely with project managers who focus on large projects. I was also given the opportunity to work on a million dollar project for an international client. Some of the activities included reviewing proposals, project management plans, and requirement documentation. Attending client and internal meetings really helped me learn various communication skills required in dealing with clients and also helped me in understanding Esri’s approach to doing business. This project also helped me learn some of the best practices followed by Esri during project management.
As a non-GIS person, I had my doubts when I started my internship with Esri, but I was amazed to find that there are many like me who started at Esri without a GIS background. I also found that these employees seem to enjoy the technology and culture here and are really passionate about their work. The reasons are clear—training materials are easily accessible and a training plan is created that best suits your role. I also found that the people around you are more than willing to help you learn and ready to make you a GIS expert.
After working for two months, I have no doubt in my mind that Esri has one of the best work cultures that I have experienced. My manager and mentor both held meetings on my first day to discuss my goals for this internship. They then gave me the flexibility of exploring various roles in the department, helping me select other projects that aligned to my career goals. This gesture highlights the fact that Esri empowers its employees to follow their passion. It is not solely my example; it is the story of many here. I have talked to people who have transitioned from tech support to technical advisor or product management—highlighting the breadth of opportunities available within Esri. It feels like employees are continually searching for ways to add value to the company.
Living in Redlands also has been a very enjoyable experience. It just takes an hour drive from here to some of the beautiful beaches; Newport and Laguna beaches are really awesome. I also took a step further and went to beautiful Yosemite National park, a five hour drive from here. While in Redlands, I had my first opportunity to play cricket in over a year (since moving from India to the US)! I was thrilled to have the chance to play with the Esri team—showing another instance of an investment in employee happiness and work–life balance.
Overall this has been a really enjoyable summer, both professionally as well as personally. This real-world experience of both developing a technology strategy and project management completely aligned to my career goals, and I am very satisfied with my internship experience.