Making a Cup of Coffee Has a Whole New Meaning: My MapR Internship Journey

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5 min read

To be honest with you, I had no idea what big data was about three months ago when I started as an intern at MapR. I remember spending my first week trying to understand what it all meant and explaining to my friends and family what a converged data platform was. I will never forget my first day —I was given my own desk with a small sign that read “Welcome Emily." This may sound cliché, but I never took down that sign, because every day when I came to work it secretly excited me. Being part of a large organization and essentially starting my first real world job was definitely nerve racking. Office life was exciting—meeting new people and sitting next to the big guys was a surreal feeling. I had no expectations coming into my internship; I was just ready to learn and take it all in.

MapR Marketing Team

My projects ranged from creating spreadsheets to sitting in on agency pitches and essential marketing team calls. I attended seminars with other attendees from companies such as BloomReach and DataStax, where I learned about other interns’ experiences and furthered my connections within the Silicon Valley tech industry.

Company morale at MapR always remained high, especially when it came to the interns. Our HR team went above and beyond to make the company's first round of interns truly enjoy coming into work every day. From lunches to intense ping pong tournaments, we could be seen working hard as well as having one too many laughs.

One of my favorite takeaways occurred when we taught each other some of our unique individual skills. Never did I think I would be able to code, and likewise, my fellow interns never thought they’d learn how to master their data in spreadsheets. We each brought something quite unique to the table, and the fun we had together was absolutely infectious. This was definitely not your average coffee-retrieving internship.

The executives I worked with each day genuinely wanted me to get something out of my internship, and I will always be grateful for that. Even when faced with a looming deadline, my managers would take the time to explain our current situation and exactly why what we were working on was so important. Each day I learned something new, but what I enjoyed most was the company's willingness to reach out and teach. It was obviously much easier for me to understand marketing concepts or tasks than it was to understand the specifics of MapR products. However, with the help of my coworkers, I was able to develop a much deeper understanding of how big data is transforming our daily lives.

My favorite piece of writing was by one of our big data consultants, Ellen Friedman, titled “Getting Past Preconceptions: How to Use Innovative Big Data Technologies.” She told readers that to get the full value of big data approaches, they shouldn’t just rely on assumptions based on their previous experience. She made this point by way of analogy: when ordering a cappuccino with ½ shot of espresso, baristas will often hand her a cappuccino with two shots of espresso in the cup plus an extra shot on the side. The point is that pre-conceptions can get in the way of hearing what is actually being said.

This article solidified what I admired most in the employees at MapR, which is their ability to use simple yet powerful concepts to communicate the value of their products. Since a large number of my projects involved the comparison of our product versus the competition, my research demonstrated that the MapR Platform is simply the best platform that can successfully address all the data challenges that companies are facing today. I was proud to represent a company sticking to their guns and continuing to provide the best solution for developing and running these innovative, real-time data applications.

MapR Summer 2016 Interns

Just weeks into my internship, I realized that nothing I had learned in the classroom compared to what I had learned in a corporate setting. I am leaving my summer at MapR with a completely different skill set than when I entered! I have new connections, new outlooks, and most importantly, a good understanding of how big data, and MapR particularly, is transforming organizations. What MapR is doing will truly change many different facets of our lives. The future of big data is now something I am excited to follow. Where will MapR take us? The possibilities are endless!


This blog post was published October 07, 2016.
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