These past few months I have been fortunate enough to spend my summer interning at Quicken. The experience has exceeded any preconceived expectations I entered with. I have learned so much, both in the context of a marketing intern, but also about working in a professional setting. As I reflect back on my past few months here, I am able to look at my experience more broadly, and my most significant takeaways are to should embrace learning with open arms, surround yourself with supportive people, and engage in work that you truly enjoy. I think I have been given the opportunity to involve myself in all three of these things this summer - lucky me!
I will admit, sitting through my first few marketing meetings was completely overwhelming. All of these acronyms I didn’t know, different numbers and spreadsheets I could hardly follow, projects I was unfamiliar with, I was confused at times - to say the least. Well, one surefire way to mitigate confusion is by asking questions, so that’s what I tried to do. Embracing learning by asking questions allowed me to develop a greater understanding of what was going on around me, helped me to identify my areas of interest, and ultimately perform better.
I think it’s important to note that I am not the only person at Quicken who is constantly learning. My mentor, Emi, is an expert in product marketing, however, she is always asking questions and looking to take on new and unfamiliar projects. For example, she included me on a new venture in which we are looking at acquiring new domain names. As we were walking to the initial meeting together, Emi kept talking about how excited she was to learn about how to acquire new domains because it was something she had never done before. Not only was Emi’s energy and excitement for learning contagious, but she brought a can-do attitude that motivated me to want to work even harder. While this is only one example, I have had many opportunities at Quicken to be surrounded by other people who are just as eager to learn as I am.
I think one of the most unique parts about being at Quicken is that while there is undoubtedly a startup culture (from indoor cornhole games to giant Jenga in the kitchen), Quicken also boasts the clout that comes with a well-established and respected product. This makes for an unparalleled experience. Quicken is constantly evolving to become a more dynamic and robust organization, and thus the learning opportunities are exponential. I think my time with the marketing team, in particular, has allowed me to see both the acquisition as well as the retention efforts necessary to develop and sustain a dedicated user base. Quicken has a significant, long standing and loyal customer base, yet it is equally important for the team to work to reach new and untouched audiences, especially as the product develops.
Surround yourself with supportive people
When I arrived at Quicken on my first day, I was welcomed with open arms by the marketing team. I was included in all weekly meetings, invited to more specialized meetings, and even given the chance to participate in an idea generating session. Right off the bat, I felt like I was part of the team.
Within my first week, I got to have a one-on-one meeting with Quicken’s CMO, Aimee Young. While she took the time to review the projects I would be working on this summer, she also showed interest in me as a person. What did I want to get out of this internship? What things did I enjoy doing? What was I interested in? I mentioned my interest in communications, which is my second major, and my love for writing. Not only did Aimee listen to me, but she, and my wonderful mentor, Emi, collaborated together to add various communication and writing related projects to my summer curriculum.
Emi continually makes sure I am engaged and have exciting projects. She is always checking to make sure I have enough projects, I am enjoying what I am doing, and I am not facing any problems. I could not be more grateful to be in such a supportive and encouraging workplace.
Engage in work that you enjoy
An offhand comment by one of my parent’s friends alluded to the idea that I was only hired to do scut work and get coffee for the senior members of the team. Well, with full confidence, I can assure you that I was not hired to fetch coffee at Quicken. The projects I have been able to engage in this summer have been important, and I feel as though I have been able to be an active contributor to my team. In conjunction with Achyuta Iyengar, the business development intern, I have been able to lead the launching of the company’s first affiliate marketing program. From researching relevant agencies, to meeting with sales reps from other companies, and even drafting our own RFP (Request for Proposal). I have had no shortage of compelling and essential projects. I have also gotten the chance to get my hands dirty working on Quicken’s new blog relaunch, editing and revising blog text to be published on our website.
While the affiliate marketing project and the blog relaunch are my most notable contributions, I am also continually involved in smaller projects as well. I often laugh because the biggest complaint I hear from my friends who have internships at other companies around the country, is that they are constantly bored - looking, maybe even begging for something to do. I’m lucky to say I cannot relate. I have had the opportunity to do real work, and real work that I enjoy.
This leads me to my last and final thought. What I have come to learn at Quicken is that the people you work with are just as important as the work you are doing. How can you make valuable contributions if you don’t have a team and a workplace who are there to support you? Quite frankly I’m not sure you can. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we all sit around all day and sing Kumbaya together. From bi-weekly paper airplane contests to go kart racing, there is no shortage of healthy competition here at Quicken. So while I have I have gained invaluable hands on marketing experience, my summer at Quicken has also opened my eyes to the importance of learning, collaboration and support, and meaningful work.
As my summer comes to a close I prepare to return to Vanderbilt University, I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to spend my time at Quicken this summer and I am eager to take the knowledge and experiences I have gained from this internship into future endeavors. If my time at Quicken is any indication of what my ensuing career ventures have in store, I could not be more excited.