Category Archives: Students and Recent Grads
We’re well into summer, and most of us Esri interns are in the middle of our internships. Whether you are heading back to school in the fall or you are looking for a full time position, it is important that you give an internship everything you’ve got! In this interview with Lara McLaughlin, Esri’s Internship Program Coordinator and University Recruiter, you will hear what to do and what not to do as an intern from someone who works with students year round.
Describe your role at Esri.
This is my third year here, and since starting I have made a lot of changes to the internship program. I managed the internship program for my previous employer, so Esri hired me specifically to work on the program. Every year I am tasked with finding students and recent grads who may fit into Esri internships, and then I forward their resumes to hiring managers to see if they are a good match for their specific position.
What makes an internship during college so important?
First of all, you have something extra to put on your resume. I look at a lot of resumes, and when I see that a student has had internship experience it gives them an edge over other applicants. But the experience is not the only benefit of an internship. For you as the intern, working in an actual business environment is a short period of trial and error and is an opportunity to get your foot in the door, if you are interested in working for that employer full-time after graduation. Internships are a great way to have a 12-week interview. I say, get as many internships as you can while you are in school! Even if you don’t love what you are doing, use the internship to course correct your career path, make connections, find a mentor, or just get some great references for the future.
Once a student secures an internship, what should they do before it begins?
Hopefully you have researched the company already! That’s key. You may have known enough to answer some interview questions, but it will be really important for you to know details about the company when you start. You never know how that information might help you. It also never hurts to ask either the person who hired you or the person who will be your manager if there’s anything you can be doing to get ready. They may send you articles to read or suggest new things you may be able to teach yourself. Any way you can find out more about the role to hit the ground running before you start is a great way to show your ambition early on.
What about after the internship?
Definitely keep in touch–not only with your supervisor, but with the people who hired you and anyone else you may have made a strong connection with. If you are interested in a full time role, make sure they know. Typically, we tell our interns to take a look at the Esri careers website to see if there are any positions that fit what they are looking for. If you are an excellent student and you did well during your internship, we will work with you to try to find a position that aligns with your career goals. And many companies will do the same. Great companies want great people.
What are some common mistakes interns make?
One mistake interns might make would be missing deadlines. And not just work deadlines, but getting to work on time and being on time for meetings and such. Meeting project deadlines and not underestimating how long a project might take is very important. Chances are, your deadline is the company’s deadline, or close to it, and the end product may be riding on you.
Something else would be not speaking up when you don’t have enough to do or when you need clarification. Honestly, there are no dumb questions when you are learning. You may want to prove yourself, but if you do something entirely wrong it doesn’t look good. This is also the time to prove you are a hard worker. If you finish something and don’t have anything else to do, ask for more. If your supervisor doesn’t have anything at the moment, see if you can ask others in the office. There’s always work to be done somewhere and it is a great way to cross train.
Lastly, be professional with your email! Texting is one thing, but remember that paragraphs and punctuation are important in a business setting.
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to really stand out?
There are many things you can do to stand out, but something that has caught my attention in the past is interns who anticipate needs or show interest in doing other things. Let’s say, for example, your manager asks you to count up the different types of blog posts your company did last year. That’s simple; it’s just a number, right? One way to go above and beyond would be to count them up, see which categories they fell into, analyze if there were any blogs that got more attention than others, and then make a suggestion for some future posts. That will show your manager you were thinking ahead, and you will have probably moved on to the next task they were going to give you. It may not always be the easiest thing to do, but sometimes it’s just about taking one little extra step.
What makes Esri’s internship program stand out?
What’s great about Esri is that employees are very approachable. When an intern has a question or may be interested in talking to someone higher up in their field, that conversation can happen easily over lunch. There is a lot of knowledge to be shared at Esri, and community is a real part of our culture.
Additionally, and this is partially because Esri is able to hire so many interns (105 this year!), we really focus on giving the interns time to get to know one another. We know that interns are generally close in age and can relate to one another, no matter what department they are in. Also, our interns come from all over the world and we want to help everyone feel connected during the short time they’re with Esri.
Lastly, I think we do a good job of immersing interns into the company. We invite them to be part of Esri events, they travel to our User Conference for at least a day, and we set up company presentations for them so they see the cool stuff going on.
Have a question for Lara? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested in applying for a summer internship next year? We’ll have information on the website this fall.
Each year, the Esri International User Conference (UC) brings together thousands of GIS professionals as well as social, economic, business, and environmental leaders from around the world to get the latest Esri product updates, learn from each other, and hear from incredible keynote speakers. This year’s theme was “GIS–Creating our Future.” Esri president Jack Dangermond urged conference attendees to think about the issues our world is facing and how we can combat them using GIS.
This year’s UC attracted more than 16,000 attendees and took up the entire San Diego Convention Center. Help was certainly needed to pull off this huge event! That’s where participants in the Esri UC Student Assistantship Program come in. The assistants help with everything from registration to conference logistics to working in the Esri Store. As a thank you for their hard work throughout the week, they receive registration to the conference and hotel accommodations as well as a per diem allowance for meals.
So what do the student assistants actually do? I was able to sit down and speak with a few of them to see what their roles were for UC.
Logistics: There are 60 assistants every year who arrive Friday before the conference begins. During their first couple of days they work and train for the week ahead to help make sure everything is ready for conference attendees to enjoy. During the week of the conference, their schedules are split. Thirty assistants work in the morning and 30 work in the afternoon. Everyone needs a break, right? This also gives students time to explore the vast conference and all that it offers.
Student assistants play a significant role in conference and hotel registration. All of the assistants pitch in to help get names sorted and badges printed. They also make sure attendees get to the right hotels. Prior to the start of the conference, this is crucial and their help makes a significant impact.
Technical Workshops: One of the main purposes of UC is to show users what’s new with Esri products and this is done through technical workshops. Student assistants were assigned to help with setting up technology, making sure the presenters had what they needed, and being the first line of defense if something went wrong.
Esri Store: One of the biggest attractions at UC is the store where conference attendees can find all sorts of Esri t-shirts, pens, books, coffee mugs, and much more. The student assistants spend much of their time rotating through the store helping customers with their purchases.
And more: Student assistants also spend their time helping with social media, setting up the conference banner stands and other equipment, and being “on call” in case they need to relieve someone.
It may be a part-time job, but their help is always immensely appreciated. The assistants were the first group to be thanked by Jack Dangermond at the close of the conference!
Interested in being a student assistant in 2015? Check the Esri Careers website in the fall for information on how to apply (AND make sure to block off the week of July 20-24 for UC 2015!),
By Guest Blogger Aradhya, Professional Services Intern
It’s been over a month now since I joined Esri as an intern and it’s been a fun experience so far. I am an international student at University of Redlands and will be graduating with my MBA in Global Business in August. Esri has already been a catalyst for many friendships and professional relationships. Since day one, my fellow interns and I have exchanged much more than just Facebook and LinkedIn requests. We have watched some FIFA world cup games together, visited a few exciting places in SoCal, and went to Redlands’ biggest 4th of July celebration at the U of R.
I have been working with the Professional Services Division in the Extended Support Services program. The program has about 200 domestic and 100 global clients and it has been a great learning experience. I have been specifically working on data analysis and extracting information from raw data to help senior management take data-driven business decisions and visualize that information on a map. I have also been given the responsibility to analyze, develop, and implement business workflows, processes, rules, and products via Excel, SAP, and SharePoint. Although I have used Business Analyst and ArcGIS Online for my MBA coursework, visualizing current statistics and observing live examples has blown me away. That information looks incredible on a map. Due to all of this, the most important thing I am learning from my internship is time management. Unlike other interns at my schooling level, there is no real summer break for me. Working all day, taking evening classes, and completing my assignments and exams have been a completely new challenge for me, but I am enjoying it.
Before my MBA, I worked with many big corporations based in the US and Europe, but in my time here I have found that Esri is different. Esri is certainly doing innovative things and the future of the company looks bright. At Esri, you are given the freedom to express your creativity and connect the dots. People here are friendly and the atmosphere is family-like, where every employee motivates one another and tries to bring out the best in everyone. From the first day I joined Esri, I was assigned a mentor who has been a wonderful friend and has helped me at every step. The virtue of giving back to others and being generous can be seen at all levels of the company. Leadership of a company is what the employees will follow and I must say Esri has some smart people who are creative and innovative. What better example of leadership than Jack Dangermond himself, who recently announced that Esri is donating $1 billion in Esri software for schools to benefit millions of children. Esri strongly believes in giving back to society which has helped the firm grow exponentially. I feel I am growing professionally through my internship experience with Esri, and I am confident that my time here will help me in achieving my future goals.
On Wednesday, interns had the chance to sit in on a brown bag presentation from two employees in Esri’s Professional Services Division. Chad Helm, who works in the extended support programs group, gave us a brief overview of the vast department, telling us about the various projects done by 600 employees all over the world. The Professional Services team supports customers and partners in effectively implementing and applying Esri software products. This may include short-term, in-house technical work or more long-term solutions projects.
It is my thinking that when a college student is offered an internship (after the “Will I be paid?” question is answered), they wonder if the work they do will actually benefit the company in the long run. For some companies, yes. For many others, probably not. It is part of the questionable catch 22 of gaining experience. How does one get significant experience before graduating college and getting a real job? And how do we even know if we will enjoy doing what we majored in?
During the last week of June, interns were given the opportunity to sit in on some demonstrations in the Esri Applications Prototype Lab. These demos included looking at real-time social media trend maps, environmental habitat maps, and some 3D responsive design. For those of us not working in the APL this summer, these demonstrations were incredible to see. Just another cool piece of Esri that interns got a peek of.
A big thank you to Hugh Keegan and his team for taking the time to show us their stuff!
Who can believe tomorrow is the first day of summer already? Well, those of you who live in California don’t see much of a difference in temperature, but where I’m from, we got 132 inches of snow this year. Yikes!
Southern California is a great place to be during the summer months. From beautiful beach days to music festivals and other great events, there is plenty to do to maintain that work-life balance.
On Tuesday, Esri welcomed its last large group of interns to Redlands. A few more will be coming in over the next few weeks here and in regional offices. Today we had our second mixer breakfast, and this time the fun was a little more condensed. We sat at different tables with new faces and had to fill out some challenging brain teasers. Surprisingly, the biggest challenge of the morning was trying to get everyone in a group picture!
Have a great summer, interns!
Curious what interns did at the first mixer? Find out here.
In the scheme of things, the terms user experience and user interface are relatively new to the technology world. Even the job title User Experience Architect is unfamiliar to many of us. But for Steven Nelson, it’s his nine-to-five.
Steve works in the Creative Lab, or the “creative arm of Esri,” as he likes to call it. Simply put, his job in user experience is to help map out applications that are intuitive and simple to use for consumers with various technology skill levels. Steve works closely with user interface (UI) architects who work on an application’s “front end” to make it both visually appealing and easy to follow. Together these two groups take an application from a simple idea to a useful end product.
TGIF, am I right? From everyone in Esri offices near and far, we hope you have a great, relaxing weekend!