MBA Internship Reflections
Well now. Once again, I’m back on a flight back to New Jersey from San Diego. I’m heading home for the weekend for a good friend’s wedding and while on this red-eye flight, I’m reminded of how I blogged about my first quarter reflections over 8 months ago. How quickly time passes from the end of the first quarter to the end of my first year and nearly half way through my internship.
Right now, I am interning at Qualcomm, which is located right in San Diego and is very close to UCSD. I am doing Business Development for the RaptorQ department. RaptorQ is a technology that Qualcomm acquired when they purchased the company, Digital Fountain. It is a software-based technology that is used for forward error correction. How it works is pretty simple: when transmitting data over a network, whether it’s mobile, satellite, or wireless, it is possible to experience loss of data when transmitting or receiving a high volume data. RaptorQ is an elite tool to correct loss of data to ensure reliability and high quality data. My role is to do market research for the department and make suggestions on which markets Qualcomm can license this technology to. This requires researching into different industries, analyzing the major players, and figuring out where to intersect the market. This could require Porter’s Five Forces Analysis, Value Chain Analysis, etc.
I have to say that the experience so far has been incredible and I’ve been loving every second of it. Because RaptorQ is a distinct technology, it has very fine parameters in which the technology would be applicable. However, this is not to say that there is a finite application of the technology, because I’ve learned that’s not true. Instead, it has required me to be somewhat creative in figuring out which markets would need it.
Two things have made this internship experience a great experience:
1. The challenging work
2. Interning at Qualcomm
First the work—it’s been challenging and engaging. One of the major reasons I decided to pursue an MBA is to do a 180 on my career. I wanted to go from consumer products and into technology, and boy I’m right in the thick of technology. The first few weeks were incredibly challenging as I was learning how to interface with engineers and trying to understand the technology and how it can be applied. Luckily, I have a manager who has both an engineering and business background to give me a great perspective.
Rady also did a pretty good job in preparing me for this internship too. I often am reminded on how much my job reminds me of my Strategy class. In Strategy class last quarter, we were weekly given business cases and then asked to offer suggestions on how the case company should proceed. As a class we would put ideas on the board and then discuss the merits of each idea. My job is exactly the same, however, after we put the ideas on the board, we would go and execute and implement them. Already some of my ideas have come into fruition and it’s been an exciting ride.
Supplementing the challenging and exciting work is intern experience at Qualcomm. I have to say that Qualcomm really takes care of their interns. On the first day, we were given a big welcome to the company with presentations from their chief executives, a tour of their vast campus, and insight into the new technologies they are working. As the premier technology enabler in the mobile and wireless space, Qualcomm is doing some seriously cool projects. It’s very visionary stuff. Moreover, every week there are intern events like barbeques, Frisbee/volleyball games, and much more. Just on this past Friday, CEO Paul Jacobs delivered an honest and earnest speech to the interns about his background and his vision for the future of Qualcomm. Following that speech, Qualcomm led the interns to a parking lot where there was food trucks waiting for us to taste local flavors. There was also a band playing music, and a mobile zipline.
Qualcomm is a place that understands that happy workers = more productive workers. They have a great company culture and they welcome their interns to make a difference. They have various ways in which they empower their interns. They run activities that give interns the ability to feature their talent and summer work. They ran a contest called IdeaQuest where interns submit an idea for a project, invention, or business they feel Qualcomm should be in. The top 5 teams are given the resources to develop their idea and to display them to the rest of the company. Another activity is an Intern Showcase where the interns can give demonstrations and presentations of their summer work to different company departments. And the events keep on coming…
Moving forward and looking onto my 2nd year, there are definitely more skills and areas of interests that I want to explore and learn about. It’s my firm belief that internship experiences should be about figuring out interests and disinterests. It’s a great applied-learning playground where mistakes are encouraged (or at least, tolerated) and the idea is to constantly be learning. Quite frankly (pun intended), I couldn’t ask for more from my internship experience and from Qualcomm.