Anna’s Dell Summer Internship

by Anna Vander Broek, MBA Candidate, Class of 2012, Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College

It is the third day of my internship at Dell in Austin, Texas. I’m walking with my manager Karsten to a monthly team meeting with his boss, Rob. As we approach the conference room, Karsten casually asks, “You’re good to present what we’re working on, right?”

Takeaways

“Uh, Yes” as a motto for interns

More Infomation

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I stop in my tracks. “Uh, yes?”

I had spent the previous day revising another Dell team’s PowerPoint deck to more closely reflect my team’s goals. Karsten had looked it over and changed a few things, so I assumed he was taking the lead. I was wrong. Within minutes, I would be winging a presentation to a Dell executive.

I was recruited by Dell during the Baruch Career Fair in March. This was the first year that Dell visited Baruch, and two of us in the MBA program received internship offers to work with their marketing department for the summer. I am working for the Global Content team in the eDell division. My team is responsible for all of the text a customer sees on Dell.com. I have a background in publishing and online media, so my internship perfectly combines my past work experience with my future work ambitions.

As we walk into the meeting I think back to the dozens of impromptu presentations I gave over the past year of my MBA program. Surprisingly, I’m not that nervous. Rather, I’m flattered that Karsten has enough trust in the brand-spanking-new intern to let her be the voice of the team.

Karsten’s trust is justified: I surprise myself with my quick understanding of subject matter I was only introduced to days before. My PowerPoint slides are clearly organized and image-heavy – two attributes, I learn afterwards, Rob most values in presentations.

Leaving the meeting, I am thrilled to have experienced a direct pay-off of all the long hours I spent during the previous year on my MBA coursework. And I am even more excited to be interning at a company that is willing to let me demonstrate that training.

The ability to quickly grasp a situation and formulate and present a coherent response is an important skill I gained during my first year at Zicklin. And there are other important skills and experiences I acquired at Zicklin that I find myself immediately putting to use such as the networking.

Dell values the ability to be a vigorous and savvy networker. Dell is a company of over 100,000 employees globally. One of the first things we interns at Dell are told is that there is no organizational chart. Employees are encouraged to try new tasks, and many employees move jobs internally every 12 months. I met one young woman who has held nine different marketing positions at Dell in six years; she is now a Vice President and only two people removed from Michael Dell himself.

I am also putting to good use in my internship the quantitative skills I learned from my Zicklin courses. Measurement is essential at Dell. Like many large corporations, Dell is metric-driven. Most PowerPoint decks must have “back-up” slides which explain, in numbers, where assumptions are coming from. Whether a team is asking for an increased budget or a manager is seeking a promotion, Dell’s executive team looks at the numbers to tell the story.

I know this will be a valuable experience. It is stimulating for me to see how my education at Baruch is helping to prepare me for moving into a competitive, fast-paced world of business. And, after a long New York City winter, the 100-degree weather of Austin isn’t so bad, either.

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