An Intern’s Perspective: Collaboration is Key

By Diana Colgrove, Summer 2012 Intern

During my two years as a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside, the “buzz” about Esri was constant. Coming from a background consisting solely of business and marketing, I didn’t know much about geography other than the fact that Esri was transforming the way GIS could be used. At first I thought to myself, “Esri must seek brilliant geographers, developers, and technology experts to enable their vision to become a reality.” Then I was given the opportunity to participate in its summer internship program upon graduating with my MBA in Marketing, and I have since learned that this statement is true, but there is also much more to Esri’s success.

I entered the program as an intern on the Marketing Analytics team within Marketing Operations. My summer project focused on establishing a reporting format for data gathered through market research. While my project was business-focused, it required having an understanding of Esri’s product offerings and their capabilities in order to conduct appropriate analysis. During my first week, I encountered a plethora of information about spatial analysis, ArcGIS, and something called a shapefile, among other things. Just as I was feeling completely overwhelmed, I realized there was an abundance of resources available to me as an Esri intern that enabled my summer to be a success.

First, and foremost, the people. I have never met a more helpful and collaborative group of individuals. My team consisted of four, but I met over 100 other employees through both formal introductions and casual talks while passing by. Everyone was friendly, willing to give me advice, and answer any questions that I had. I learned that collaboration is key to success at Esri, and being able to work with others allowed me to see how the different departments function as a unified whole.

Diana with Clint Brown, Esri's Director of Software Products

Second, the opportunities to meet other interns, as well as employees from other areas. The summer program provides a number of lunchtime sessions to stay connected, hear about current company projects, and meet recruiters. These events were a great resource for expanding my network and learning more about GIS initiatives.

Third, access to formalized training. Esri provides many training opportunities that cover a wide variety of topics. Because I took a training course on ArcGIS, I can now create, design, and publish a map (something I never thought I could have done).

And fourth, the Esri library. As soon as I started coming across terms I had never seen before, I headed to the library and picked up a collection of books. For me, one of the most helpful books was “A to Z GIS,” a dictionary of GIS terms. I kept it on my desk and could quickly flip it open to find an answer.

Together these resources allowed my internship experience to be extremely rewarding. Throughout my 12 weeks I learned the value of collaboration for success as well as the power of geography for problem-solving. Understanding these capabilities has allowed for Esri’s continued growth and I know it will enable me to be successful in the future.

Has Diana’s story inspired you to apply for an Esri 2013 summer internship? We’re taking applications! All the information you need is at www.esri.com/students.

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