Lessons learned by Hightail interns

Katie

January 31, 2014

As college students across the country start to think about securing internships, we asked our most recent group of interns what they thought of their time at Hightail.

The key to a successful internship is to know exactly what you want to get out of your time at a company. Jackie Mokry, who interned with Hightail’s finance team, was clear about her goals.

“I wanted to gain hands-on experience with my subject field of interest,” she said, “as well as enhance my professional demeanor through interaction in a company environment.”

Another finance intern, Kevin Crawford was keen to see how his education would translate in the business world, adding that “applying what they teach you in school to the big picture in part of growing as a professional.”

For Jackie, employing the concepts and skills learned on her college courses was a major benefit of her internship.

“It was rewarding to recognize my coursework and how it relates to the practices of an actual company,” she explained. “It made me eager to return to school and take more financial-related courses.”

Like college, Hightail’s internship program provides interns with a place to experiment, but also offers the opportunity for their ideas to become a reality.

“I was amazed at the amount of autonomy I was given to pursue projects I felt passionately about,” said mobile engineering intern Holt Bowmer. “I was developing solutions to problems and integrating my work into a final, finished product used all over the world. When I struggled with challenging technical problems, help and advice from coworkers was always gladly offered. I felt driven to succeed and learn because Hightail fosters those qualities in people and the internship program strikes that delicate balance between independence and collaboration.”

Christina Samuel’s time with the QA team exposed her to a diverse range of new ideas.

“I contributed to multiple teams and learned about each of their projects, which proved to be a tremendously exciting and riveting experience,” she explained. “I joined Hightail with a basic foundation about the software testing process and subsequently became able to build on it by working with tools and processes that match current industry standards.”

Holt had a similar experience during his time working on Hightail’s Android and iPhone apps, as he “expanded my existing knowledge and at the same time, picked up on new skills like shell scripting, Apache ant, Jenkins CI and SOASTA.” But according to Angel Olvera, internships are not always plain sailing,

“There was nothing particularly easy about doing front-end development for the first time,” the customer success intern acknowledged. “I was learning new programming languages such as PHP, JavaScript and SQL, working with foreign tools such as ZenDesk and finishing projects that an entire department depended on. However, I would not have wanted it any other way. I’ve now worked with industry leaders who have mentored me with the practical and technical acumen needed to succeed.”

Jackie also acknowledges the uniqueness of her internship experience.

“I learned a tremendous amount that I could not learn from any college course,” she noted. “I learned in depth about financial forecasting and budgeting. I had the opportunity to participate and present in meetings with VP’s, interact with cross-departmental teams and take part in the financial planning of Hightail’s future.”

She also achieved her objective of starting to understand how businesses work outside of her own specialist area of interest.

“Another great aspect of working at Hightail was the Monday lunches,” she said. “It was not to do with free food, but rather the weekly collaboration of the company. The entire company gathered in the third floor lounge for lunch followed by various presentations and company news and updates. Although I only worked in the Finance department, I liked being included and updated on what each department was working on. After working at Hightail I understand why it is crucial to have every employee on board with the greater goals of the company.”

Christina was another fan of Monday lunch, calling them “a strategy I thought was both genuinely brilliant and advantageous.” From free lunches and ice cream carts to team outings and movie trips, each intern noted the Hightail culture and people as something they will long remember.

“I will never forget moments like the team taking me out for some Cold Stone ice cream when I got accepted to my Master’s program,” adds Kevin. For Angel, it felt like a lesson in how companies can succeed.

“As someone who aspires to one day create his own business, I was able to finally see what it takes to a run a successful, happy company. Going forward, I know that my contribution to my workplace, wherever that may be, is more than just the skills and talent I bring to the table, but also my personality and all the little things that make a company robust, powerful and unique.”

Intern Here at Hightail

What will you learn and how will you contribute? To learn more about the Hightail internship program, send your resume to recruiting@hightail.com.