Ezzy Sriram, a UC Berkeley sophomore studying computer science, highlights his experience serving as a research & development intern at BroadSoft Design headquarters in McLean, VA –
The college internship struggle seems all-too-common because of one inevitable question, “so what are you doing this summer,” from parents, family friends, and future employers alike. As a freshman student gearing up for my first, real internship, I had done my research; I was a self-proclaimed internship connoisseur, but I was still an internship-less student with summer nearing. I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when I secured an internship following an interview with the always smiling, laid back, sales executive, Alec Walker. What would follow is what I would describe as a 3 month long hackathon filled with cranking out Internet of Everything apps centered around new mobile technologies such as Apple’s iBeacon and Amazon Echo.
After initially hearing about BroadSoft Design, some quick web surfing turned up the fact that they were a mobile-technology company started 15 years back with a client portfolio including the likes of Time Warner Cable, Disney, Verizon Wireless, and so many more of the worlds’ leading corporations. My initial impression was, “Wow. A mobile company that’s been around for 15 years and now, still prospering?” I pictured an ultra-modern office with standing desks, ping pong tables, and a team that deployed apps daily with a battle cry.
I wasn’t too far off. My first day saw a newly renovated building with human-sized LEDs lights plastered atop a cube-shaped atrium that lit up like Christmas at night. I also met the CEO, D.P. Venkatesh, who sported a James Bond theme song ringtone and never once silenced a call. In this blur of excitement, I thought to myself that this place was completely hardcore. I also noticed that I was by far the youngest employee – by about 10 years. That is a surprise that I am now thankful to have experienced. I went on to discover that this management team came to work everyday knowing how to reel in the future of the industry. They were mobile “warriors” who knew how to make every step of the customer journey easy and they also had the formula down to cook up creativity in their office. A prime example of this is the high-level app development of the high school interns, Ryan and Uma, which awed even the senior leaders.
I also left with a bank of advice for the future, most of all from Sathiya Krishnan, who immediately made himself available as a mentor to my future ambitions and concerns.
The McLean offices’ unique placement as a one-room melting pot of executive leadership fostered my creativity and challenged my innate wits. It was more independent of an internship than I expected, but the takeaway from my summer was that every innovation big or small is not made up of code, but rather of the team of people who produced it. Therefore, if you want to innovate, sky is the limit, but the people and the communication between those people are the petri dish for that innovation.
Special thanks to D.P., Sathiya, Girish, and Alec.