This summer, I worked as a Marketing Analytics & Operations MBA intern at Dell Technologies, Inc. It was an incredible experience where I got to see firsthand how many opportunities my MBA could open, and how my MBA had given me skills to tackle new challenges. This door was opened to me through the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s membership in the Consortium, an organization to help minorities elevate to higher levels of management and business leadership.
Working in tech was a dream of mine since high school, but I knew it was a challenging and competitive environment. Prior to starting my BBA, I went to a vocational school for programming, networking & database management, and I was an active member of Girls Who Code. At the time, less than 20% of database managers were female, and fewer still were Hispanic. In undergrad, I strategically shifted my major to marketing, a career that I viewed as more ‘attainable’ and interesting. I loved (and still love) marketing – I was especially interested in marketing research, where I could use analytics skills and study consumer behavior.
After attaining my BBA, I had a good career working for Hasbro where I managed retail spaces, planning and promotion for 15 developing markets in LATAM. But I still really, really wanted to work in analytics, so after 4 years I decided to pursue my MBA with the University of Wisconsin – Madison, one of the top programs marketing analytics & insights programs in the United States. By this point, my vocational studies had completely dropped off my resume, but resurfaced in my interview with Dell. Little did I know how much my marketing analytics & vocational interests intersected with each other – and it set me apart as someone who could speak in both technical and marketing terms.
I had a great 9-week internship with Dell working with their North America Servers Center of Competency. I tackled some key reporting issues for new processes that were being implemented.
Here are some key takeaways from that experience:
Analytics can take you anywhere
One of the first things I noticed was that practically everyone had a background in analytics. Almost all the people I worked with – including sales & marketing managers – were former engineers or data scientists. At first, it was a little intimidating! But I quickly learned that I could bring my MBA and business experience to bring new perspectives to the table, while still meeting my peers at a technical level. One of my mentors said they really appreciated my “engineering mindset”. It also showed me that my analytics background could help me in any team or position I will attain in the future.
The most important skills are interpersonal
Dell, as with most tech companies, is a huge organization. There are around 150,000 Dell employees all over the world, and all of them are brilliant tech people. Your ability to navigate such a large organization will influence how successful you will be in your project & career. This is something that they do not teach in technical school, but they do teach MBAs – and ultimately what helped me make an impression on my manager & my team.
Find the opportunity in ambiguity
Ambiguity is common in tech, even in a normal year. This summer was exceptionally ambiguous – the pandemic had caused many last-minute changes to projects, and almost all internships went virtual. As often occurs with any internship, my project was something that they had been working on for a while, but no one had been able to resolve – so I came into a completely new situation where no single person was the ‘expert’. I turned this into the opportunity to define my own ‘rules’ and design my own project – and something that my manager and team appreciated.
This summer, I spoke to a LOT of people – trying to understand the root of the issue and understand different perspectives on my project. I learned that everyone contributed about 5% of the information I needed for my project, and eventually I could piece everything together and create 100%. Inadvertently, by the end of the summer, I became the expert on this topic where there previously was none – I took ownership of my project and it benefited both my career & skills and Dell’s reporting needs. Furthermore, I came full circle on a dream to work in tech that I loved, lost, and found again.