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How To Excel At Showing Your Skills: Gauri Kadu Part 2

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If you’re an undergraduate student, you’ve probably thought once or twice about what you’ll do when you’re ready to apply for internships. Haven’t gotten there yet? Maybe you’re considering a career in marketing? Follow this series to read more about the experiences of students who have completed their internships. Learn about the student of the week: Gauri Kadu in this Part 2 interview. She has traveled the world, and her journey doesn’t end there. Keep reading to learn about her experience interning for IBM.

The Internship

GAURI KADU: I got my sales internship at IBM from meeting my manager at Rookie Preview. The internship has been truly one of the most influential events in the past and for the future of my career.

Last summer was a really great experience for me. Firstly, the office was huge, which was so cool, and everyone was so friendly. I don’t think the employees felt threatened by me. You’re given the ability to mold your own role there.

Tell me about your internship.

This was a digital sales internship, which is basically inside sales. Which means, in a full-time position, your reps wouldn’t always go outside to meet with clients face to face. In inside sales, there are times when you would visit clients, but it’s not necessary required or expected of you.

I worked on a 10-person team. Essentially, we were selling software that talks to other software. I was under Scott Klien Smith, the sales rep manager from the Midwest Region at IBM. A rep from the company changed positions, and I was given all of her accounts.

In addition, the way that accounts were handled was completely restructured. It was my responsibility to bring in a relationship approach with these lower-level accounts by using marketing tools. They wanted to create groups by utilizing social media like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. LinkedIn was definitely a tool that was underutilized. With LinkedIn, we were able to get in touch with people from the company that we were trying to reach, with a very personal and direct message, rather than getting lost in five million emails. We were able to establish a professional tone while still remaining casual so that the individuals would feel that the message was important.

I worked with a tool called Blueworks Live, which is IBM’s version of Microsoft’s Visio. It’s basically process modeling. I created a map for all the reps on my team to use. I created a way for them to look at the industry and to look at the role, industry and geographic location of the person they were contacting and a personal message to send out to them, so that they were able to send it out and get what they needed, rather than spending too much time on one task. Essentially, it was a framework model that all the reps could use to enhance their social media presence.

Were the others on your team interns as well?

I was the only intern on my team, but there were about 10 interns in the office.

How did your internship enhance the curriculum in your classes, or visa versa?

We formulated an online presence for a company, Centre214, where I utilized things I had learned in my digital sales class. They had no online presence prior, so we basically built it from the ground up. That level of understanding, for example, what components are in a business, and what components are in an online presence can really help you transform from a business brand to an individual brand. You kind of learn what social media tactics work and which ones don’t. You do learn, however, a formalized approach in our marketing classes. If you can learn how to learn, about how to sell products, and being able to apply that is essential. Being able to convince people in many ways — professional, academic, and socially —is really important in every part of life. It’s easier said than done.

What was most surprising about your internship?

It was very surprising how the marketing arm didn’t know where its role was, and the sales arm didn’t know how to tie into the marketing arm, visa versa. It wasn’t defined as I expected. There has definitely been restructuring in order to fix this uncertainty. I’m glad that UT Dallas is caught up on how much the marketing and sales industry has changed and continues to change.

What are some tips for balancing an internship with your schoolwork?

At this time, I was not in school. And it was great. We had lots of IBM-sponsored events; we got to organize a lot of corporate events as well. I was the event coordinator for the interns. The Dallas office works with American Airlines often, so, a lot of events would be with the interns there. Every week was so fun.

What was the atmosphere like in terms of how to dress?

Business casual was OK with us; it definitely wasn’t business professional.

Why do you think you were offered the internship?

I think I really got the internship because I made the effort to reach out to the manager in the first place. Lots of people don’t follow up after meeting professionals at events. Also, my performance at rookie preview. Scott knew what was involved as a student in the sales program at UTD. He knew that the education we were receiving made me prepared for the internship. I wrote and published an academic paper, a cross-culture analysis, which I actually presented at Harvard. It was really great. It was an exhausting experience, but it was really fun.

How can students look into this internship?

Be part of the professional sales program. At the networking events that we have, which there are quite a few including speed sale and rookie preview. You should volunteer at all of the opportunities you can because many of the sponsors that attend are important. Talk to them; get their card, as scary as it is. They know what position they are in. Reach out to them and keep in touch. Get their business card and follow up more than once. Create professional friends; don’t be afraid of what you want. If you don’t know what you want, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

I’m very happy with sales. I feel like it’s going in a different direction depending on what company you’re in. We’re bringing in that social selling aspect, which is kind of like, they expect sellers to be marketers, which we don’t know what the industry is really taking us in. Are we delegating to the marketing side? Or, to what extent do they expect us to take on the marketing role? Do they expect us to do simply branding, or, branding ourselves, the company and regulating social media aspects? We don’t know! But we’ll find out as we go.

UT Dallas’ marketing program is definitely where it should be, as far as the industry goes. It’s definitely all thanks to the people that we have in our program. Thanks to Meda. Thanks to Amirpour. Thanks to Dover. They’re all very insightful.

Participating in all of these events, like speech, debate, rookie preview, I learned so much about how to be the best. Even when I didn’t succeed… those experiences will always be with you and you learn from them.

Prithvi Persad

Originating from Toronto, Canada, Prithvi's perspectives on student life extends from her new adventures as a Marketing student at the Naveen Jindal School of Management. In her free time, Prithvi takes joy in traveling, expanding her experiences for her culinary blog, and loves teaching her furry friend new tricks. Read more articles

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