Summer break gives IE University students the chance to complement their studies with volunteering, additional courses, internships, and a range of other programs.
Last summer, BBA student Philippine Domange chose an internship. She was selected to participate in the Salesforce Summer Internship in Dublin, where 15 interns from across Europe and the US were brought together for 10 weeks. Salesforce is a Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM. According to their data, “it’s also the fastest growing of the top 10 enterprise software companies, the World’s Most Innovative Company according to Forbes, and one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For for six years running.”
Philippine has shared her experience with us, highlighting the importance of attending events and networking sessions to stay informed about opportunities.
Students might also be interested in this video about her summer at Salesforce.
How did you find out about this opportunity and why were you interested in applying?
My interest was piqued in November 2016 at a conference with the theme “How to be more customer-centric” at the Google Campus in Madrid. After the talk, I met the speaker. I told her the job she was doing would be my dream job. She gave me her business card and we kept in touch. She told me to check for different internship opportunities at Salesforce on their website twice a month. She also gave me advice and answered all my questions. She became my “career mentor.”
And that’s how I found out about this internship opportunity. I was interested in applying for three main reasons: The company culture, the types of services Salesforce provides, and the fact that Salesforce is great at integrating cutting-edge innovation, and the internship description was very appealing, and the knowledge I gained from this mentor helped me understand the description fully.
What can you tell us about the internship experience?
The summer internship was based in Dublin, Salesforce’s EMEA headquarters. It lasted 10 weeks, from mid-June to the end of August 2017. There were 15 interns from around Europe and the United States. The program started with an introduction week. Then half of the group spent four weeks with the business development team and the other half was sent to different departments (marketing, strategy, employee success, finance, solution engineering, and sales). We then switched departments for the final four and half weeks. We didn’t get to choose the departments we worked in, but the choice was made according to our experience. However, everyone, regardless of their background, spent one rotation with the business development team. For example, I worked with the solution engineering team first because of my specialization in digital business and big data with a non-tech background. I did my second rotation with the business development team.
The week when we switched from one department to the next was a key time in the internship. We had a side project that consisted of finding new sponsors for students living in a Kibagare slum, in Nairobi, Kenya. Each team presented their results in front of the EMEA president. We also participated in a day of volunteering, cleaning up the coast around Dublin and giving back to the community.
Thanks to my team mentors, I was able to integrate into each team quickly and work on projects with the objective of learning new tools and techniques. I really experienced the #ohana culture (“ohana” means family in Hawaiian) at Salesforce.
My experience at Salesforce allowed me to grow professionally and personally and to meet incredible people with stories to share and advice to give. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and if I were given the chance to do it again, I definitely would.
What would you highlight about this internship experience?
The three things I would highlight about this experience would be that:
- I learned something new every day. Learning is key at Salesforce. Every night before leaving the office, we had to fill out a form about what we did that day, what we learned, and the positive and negative aspects of the day. It helped me to quantify how much I learned, and see the progress I made over three months.
- After four years at IE University, I realized how important it was for me to find a company that was a cultural hub. I was looking for an environment similar to the environment at IEU: diverse and multicultural. Salesforce is aligned with the values and culture I’m used to at IEU: strong culture, open mindset, and international backgrounds everywhere.
- The best part of the internship was coming back to the university filled with energy, with great memories, and excited to share my experiences with my friends and family.
How do you feel your experience and/or the Talent and Careers Department helped you secure this position?
My IEU experience definitely helped me. At IE University I learned how to successfully work in teams and with people with diverse backgrounds and nationalities. I learned how to adapt to different groups and to optimally organize the team for productivity. I also had the chance to share my thoughts and ideas, presenting them in front of the class. I learned how to work and communicate in different languages at IEU. The ability to adapt to the person you’re having a conversation with is important; it makes exchanges friendlier and more successful. Also, when I was in my third year, I didn’t do an exchange program. Instead, I decided to take electives in digital business and big data. This specialization helped me gain knowledge about the tech industry and stay up-to-date with the latest innovations. Talent and Careers helped me edit my CV so I could send an updated, clear application. They also helped me prepare for the interview with the Managing Director. We spent an hour reviewing questions and checking the notes I had prepared.
Do you have advice for others who may be interested in applying for this internship?
I would give prospective interns three pieces of advice:
- Your network is key. Salesforce is one of those big companies that encourages their employees to refer people. Don’t forget to check if anyone in your network of alumni, friends, or relatives could refer you, or might know someone who could refer you; it will help a lot. LinkedIn is a great tool for finding connections.
- Understand their culture. More than understanding their products, understand their culture. Culture is key and it is everywhere. If you’ve had the chance to do volunteer work of any kind, highlight that experience. It could be anything from helping a fellow student to helping set up a refugee camp in Turkey. Take the time to look at one of Salesforce’s CEO’s speeches and some customer success stories. These resources will help you understand the culture, the products, and why this company is considered one of the best companies to work for by Fortune.
- Lastly, trust yourself. Even though I have never been the best student in the class, I have always managed to get out of the box by participating in various extracurricular activities. Don’t forget, the things you do to go above and beyond are what make you special.