A Transformative Journey: My Internship Experience at Exabeam
“Get an internship,” they said. “It will help your career!” As a college student pursuing a business marketing degree, I took those words with a grain of salt. I entered college without a clear sense of direction, just seeking a degree I could use anywhere I went. Previously, I thought I knew at least a little about marketing, but it turns out I was wrong. If you are thinking about getting an internship in your field of study, but still have some reservations, I’m here to tell you it’s a good idea. In this blog post, I will share my journey before the internship, the projects I undertook during my time at Exabeam, and the invaluable lessons I learned.
In this article:
- Before the internship: finding my purpose
- The internship: An exciting journey begins
- After the internship: lessons learned and future aspirations
Before the internship: finding my purpose
As a freshman at Sacramento State, most people I knew had specific career aspirations, like becoming nurses or lawyers. But I lacked a true passion, and saw college simply as a means to get a degree without a clear sense of purpose.
As my college journey continued, I became increasingly intrigued by the field of social media marketing. Recognizing its growing importance as an essential tool for businesses to connect with their target audiences, I heeded the continuous recommendations from my family and teachers to explore internship opportunities. As my sophomore year ended, I discovered the Exabeam internship program, which marked the beginning of my quest to discover whether marketing was the right path for me.
Anticipations and expectations
Once I landed the internship, I was unsure of what to expect. Pop culture had painted an image of interns making coffee and picking up dry cleaning, which was a stark contrast to what I wanted out of my internship (but I did sharpen my barista skills, just in case). I had a desire to learn about the various facets of marketing, make professional connections, and find out if marketing truly resonated with me.
Anxieties and concerns
As an intern, I expected to make mistakes and ask a lot of questions. But I also felt nervous about comprehending what was being discussed in meetings. This anxiety made it difficult for me to ask questions during meetings, and I needed to follow up later to get clarification on things. Additionally, being an introvert makes it challenging for me to sustain engaging conversations, as prolonged social interactions wear me down and I become quiet. I knew that I would have to do my best to focus and be fully present during every interaction, even if it meant managing sensory overload and the feeling of shutting down.
The internship: An exciting journey begins
The first few weeks
I was nervous when joining the Zoom meeting on the first day of my internship, I felt a mix of excitement and nervousness. Ensuring my appearance was appropriate and hoping for a stable internet connection, I crossed my fingers for a smooth start. Fortunately, there were no issues and the day turned out to be fantastic. I received a comprehensive overview of the internship program, gaining insights into the many projects we would be working on over the next six weeks.
After the initial meeting, we had the privilege of meeting with the president and CEO of Exabeam, along with the Chief Marketing Officer and the entire marketing team. Each of them took the time to introduce themselves and shed light on the Exabeam mission. This meeting was very informative, providing valuable insights into the fascinating world of cybersecurity and a deeper understanding of the company’s operations. By the end of the day, my brain was brimming with knowledge. It was a whirlwind of information, leaving me mentally exhausted yet well prepared for the exciting weeks ahead.
One of my first assignments was to create a presentation about myself, highlighting my personal background and character. This particular project turned out to be a valuable learning experience, as presenting in a professional setting is a skill that many students — especially considering the impact of the pandemic — have yet to master. It offered me a unique opportunity to practice delivering a polished presentation in a business environment, while also learning how to use professional templates.
As the first few weeks of my internship came to a close, I gradually began to grasp the industry-specific keywords commonly used within the company. This understanding was pertinent to comprehending discussions and the goal of my assignments. Learning these specialized terms made it easier for me to effectively tackle upcoming projects.
The middle two weeks: finding my stride and making meaningful contributions
During weeks three and four, I really began to get into the swing of things. It was during this time that I had the opportunity to connect with employees on a more personal level and gain deeper insights into their roles at the company. Engaging in one-on-one meetings with Exabeamers, I found myself in my element, as I thrive in smaller group settings. Through these enjoyable conversations, I learned more about social media marketing, product marketing, and customer advocacy.
During this time, I was fortunate to explore the events that Exabeam participates in and their marketing strategies aimed at captivating their target audiences. I had the opportunity to observe the intricacies of event setup and witness the excitement surrounding their raffle prizes for attendees who watched product demonstrations. This exposure sparked a genuine interest within me to know more about event marketing and explore its potential as a career path.
I then embarked on my first major project in customer advocacy. I meticulously compiled logos from all Exabeam customers, ensuring their permission to use the logos publicly.This involved creating a comprehensive folder of approved logos, followed by a thorough review of a presentation featuring these customer logos. It was my responsibility to verify the accuracy and relevance of each logo, confirming that the associated company was still an active account. With these initial tasks completed, I eagerly got started on my next endeavor: an insightful book report.
Throughout the internship, we were assigned to read Geoffrey A. Moore’s book, “Crossing the Chasm”. While undeniably challenging, this book proved invaluable for entry-level marketers, explaining the dynamics of product adoption in the market and strategies for achieving mainstream success. Although this book was hard to read, I highly recommend it to anyone aspiring to enter the marketing field. It helped me understand the fundamentals of product selling and gave me a fresh perspective on the pivotal role of marketing in driving business growth.
Undoubtedly, one of the most memorable highlights of my internship was the social media project. Collaborating with my fellow interns, we embarked on an in-depth analysis of the Exabeam LinkedIn page, as well as those of their competitors and partners. Our objective was to identify commonalities, pinpoint differences, and propose innovative ideas to improve the company’s LinkedIn presence. Our collective efforts were captured in a presentation delivered to the entire corporate marketing team. I was nervous to present, but I was confident that it would be great. As we concluded the presentation and opened the floor for questions and feedback, I felt a surge of joy and satisfaction. The corporate marketing team loved our ideas! The feeling of having my ideas appreciated and celebrated was one of the happiest moments of my internship. It reaffirmed my passion and made me want to continue putting forth my best efforts in every project I undertook.
The final weeks: reflecting on an unforgettable journey
As I sit down to write this blog post, I can’t help but feel a whirlwind of emotions. These last few weeks of my internship at Exabeam have been a wild ride. With the completion of this blog post and my final presentation looming over me, the approaching deadlines stressed me out. To add to the pressure, I was assigned another project with a tight deadline, leaving me feeling slightly anxious. But I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
Now, as I near the end of my internship journey, I find myself reflecting on the incredible experiences I’ve had and the amazing people I’ve had the privilege to work with. Each member of the marketing team helped me make this internship my own and shape it into an enriching, growth-oriented experience. Their guidance, support, and expertise have been instrumental in my professional development, for which I am grateful.
With my final presentation submitted and last lunch shared with my colleagues, I returned to my computer, staring at the screen in disbelief. It was over — my brief, fast-paced internship had come to its end. Fortunately, the memories I’ve made and the experience this company has provided will forever remain with me. These experiences will certainly help me in my future academic pursuits and professional opportunities.
After the internship: lessons learned and future aspirations
This internship has been a transformative experience, teaching me that one does not need to be perfect. It has deepened my understanding of marketing and its pivotal role in business growth and product sales. I began this internship with the goal of discovering whether I wanted to pursue a career in marketing. Now, I am certain that I do. Creating marketing strategies and producing compelling content to market to reach prospective customers has solidified my desire to be a part of a dynamic marketing team within a company. And learning about the world of cybersecurity, a previously unfamiliar domain, was very interesting.
Positives and negatives
Undeniably, my internship was filled with many positives. The people I had the pleasure of working with are not only highly skilled professionals, but also some of the nicest people I have ever met. The presence of such pleasant colleagues made the work environment exciting. Our tasks were not too difficult, but they taught us about cybersecurity and marketing as a whole. And having lunch with employees from different departments offered a unique opportunity to ask questions and learn about their roles within the company.
If I were to do anything differently, I would have preferred a more in-person internship experience, despite the lengthy commute due to traffic. Working from home, although convenient, sometimes led to increased fatigue and occasional distractions. While I did my best to stay focused on my work, sometimes distractions were unavoidable.
Continuing in the future
Now that my internship is over, I am excited to apply the skills and knowledge I gained at Exabeam to my upcoming college classes. As a junior, having already completed a real-world internship, I feel fortunate to have valuable hands-on experience. I am eager to continue learning the ins and outs of business marketing, augmenting my understanding by integrating classroom learning with practical application. I want to continue networking and interning until I graduate college as I strive to become a well-rounded marketing professional.
Overall, this internship has been a wonderful experience, filled with moments of growth, camaraderie, and self discovery. From the very beginning, the warm welcome and unwavering support of the people I worked with affirmed their genuine desire to see me succeed. Through this internship, I have not only accomplished my goals, but I also discovered my passion for marketing.
Looking back, I now appreciate the family and friends who urged me to get an internship. It was good advice, and I’m grateful for it. I now wish to continue working and gaining more experience. If you find yourself considering an internship, I wholeheartedly recommend exploring opportunities as early as possible. Start researching internships within your major and figure out what they will entail. The knowledge and exposure gained through internship experiences will help you make informed decisions about your future career.
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