Internship experience at NetApp by Harshitha Neti, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai
Summer internship is one of the most hyped and hectic processes in the 2 years of one’s MBA. Right after getting into a bschool, eager first year students flock to seniors to learn tips, tricks and tweaks to crack an internship with the company they desire. From deciding upon the list of companies to apply to, waiting for shortlists, getting into a company, working there and trying to catch good attention of one’s managers and cracking that coveted PPO/ PPI, the summer internship process takes up the best part of the first year of the MBA. My case wasn’t different at all. After a 2 month-long slogging in the waiting rooms and skipping breakfasts/ lunches and restless waits for shortlists and GD lists, I was finally lucky enough to get a chance to work in the field of my interest- technology.
I interned in NetApp, which is a storage and data management company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. NetApp is famous for its varied offerings in the storage domain- from enterprise level flash arrays to cloud storage.
The selection process consisted of an initial shortlisting from amongst the applicants from the campus- 8 students were shortlisted. Amongst these 8 students, there was a technical telephonic interview, following which 3 were taken to the second round. The remaining 3 students had 2 rounds of interviews, one telephonic (marketing round) and the other on Skype which was related to hypothetical questions about the job. After these rounds, only I was taken to a telephonic interview with the HR to assess if I was a cultural fit into the company.
This process was a fool proof way of analysing the performance of the applicants in all aspects. The first round checked fundamentals from MBA across all areas- marketing, operations, finance and economics. Candidates were also tested upon their current affairs knowledge, which is a must for all interviews. The second round comprised of real life questions on marketing which looked innocent upon first thought, but shook my marketing fundamentals to the core. I had a healthy discussion with the interviewer about various opportunities the company could pursue in each of the scenarios that were placed in front of me, and was probed deeper into the rationale behind each answer. This helped me think on my feet and also helped the interviewer assess my analytical capabilities and knowledge in marketing and storage industry. The third and fourth rounds were mainly hypothetical and were stress based.
The two months I spent at NetApp were probably the most fulfilling and fun-filled months of my whole life. The company has an unbelievably great culture and really warm people. The way this culture is maintained uniformly throughout the organization is amazing. There are no timings and completely flexible work hours. All the managers are wonderfully warm, open and friendly. I was assigned a mentor who was an alumnus of my college, so that I could be in my comfort zone during my interactions with him. I was also repeatedly encouraged to voice my opinions, anywhere, any time at all.
Synopsis of the project
My project was well structured; I was explained the background and expectations right in the first week. The work I was assigned was very ‘MBAish’- meaning it needed me to use all the analytical approaches that were taught in my MBA lectures- that I never thought could be put to real-time use but were just a part of the formal curriculum. I was asked to analyse the performance of 6 of NetApp’s products from an internal perspective, the market, the customer and competitor perspectives. At the end, I was supposed to come up with recommendations about what to do with these products further to increase revenues and cover up any existing loopholes.
Incident(s) I loved at NetApp!
I have never heard of a company that holds weekly beer bashes to keep up the fun element in the work atmosphere. I was rather surprised to see how all the otherwise seriously-engrossed-in-work employees let their hair down and had a great time, every Friday evening. It was a wonderful way to balance work life and fun at office. At NetApp, every day is a celebration of going to work and meeting wonderful people along your way. During my 2 month stay, there were around 7-8 events including both technical and recreational ones. Everyone gets together in these events and celebrates working together. I have no doubt that it is one of the best places to work!
-Maintain good relations with people from your internship organization.
-Whatever specialization you intend to take up, never ignore any subject taught during lectures. When you are out to work, even the most obscure theoretical principle you learn in your books can help you gain that edge, whether it is from operations, finance, IT or marketing.
-Keep all the slides of your lecturers handy when you go to do your internship.[/sociallocker]