Written by Riju Pareek
During my first year in the Crosby MBA program at the University of Missouri, I actively pursued internship opportunities, conducting a lot of research and applying to many companies. One common suggestion among my peers and superiors was ‘to find the right culture fit’ in a company. I didn’t really know what this meant until I was done with my internship at Rambus, a technology licensing company in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The land known to many as ‘Silicon Valley’ is the technology hub of the United States, and decidedly one of the most affluent and fascinating places. The name ‘Silicon Valley’ comes from a high concentration of semiconductor and computer industries that began booming in Santa Clara Valley around half a century ago. But can you believe that, back in the day, the city synonymous with start-up culture was once called ‘The Valley of Heart’s Delight’ for being a major fruit producer? With a stockpile of wealthy households, desert landscape, mountains, ocean, and a medley of brilliant minds, the bay area has a wildly different vibe. At first, the area felt somewhat overwhelming, especially to someone coming from the Midwest.
On May 15, 2017, I nervously stepped into Rambus with many apprehensions and questions. What if it’s too challenging? What kind of projects will I be working on? What if my biggest takeaway from this turns out to be how to run a coffee machine? Frankly, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect before I started my internship, but the receptive environment at Rambus blew away all of my fears. As an intern for the Financial Planning & Analysis team, I was openheartedly welcomed into the company with a great manager and a helpful, supportive team. In the very first week, I had one-on-one meetings with the VP of Finance and the CFO, where we discussed my goals and deliverables throughout the summer. My manager, Brad Harrison, was very approachable and pleasant to talk to. Our one-on-one meetings were something that I looked forward to every week.
Rahul Mathur, Riju Pareek, Brad Harrison, Sebastian Pramanick, and Andy Tran (from left to right)
Brad genuinely cared about my internship experience. He created opportunities for me to work with other teams and increase my knowledge and exposure across the company, all while coaching me along the way. It’s great to see leaders at every level taking interest in the development of others, and I consider myself fortunate to have worked with a remarkable leader like Brad. During one of our interactions, the discussion turned to the importance of a healthy lifestyle, during which I told him how the internship in a different city had disturbed my gym routine. He told me that Rambus would extend gym membership to the interns and the next thing I knew I had the access card to the company’s wellness club situated right beside the office. I was particularly happy about this perk because I firmly believe that when you feel better about yourself, the rest of your life just falls into place.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]Each day at Rambus, I had many opportunities to learn and build new skills. I was constantly challenged and given interesting projects. For example, I was given the responsibility of building a model that is a “one-stop shop” for monthly variances of all operating expenses for each functional group as well as division wide. A key deliverable was the creation of a Hyperion (Oracle Essbase) dashboard that can be refreshed every month to reduce the timeliness of this task. The model I created provides insight into the variances, monthly and quarterly, and created sparklines to visualize the information. After my success with this model, my manager had me get involved with working on monthly budget models, which included meeting with the functional heads, setting the budgets and updating the monthly budget model. Throughout these projects, I was able to work on my skills in data analytics and order management, and even improve the investor relations’ website pages of the company site.
Every day as I explored my workplace more, I met some of the brightest individuals, discovered the office space with ‘Phone rooms’ and ‘Quiet Rooms,’ and basked in the lavish health and wellness club (not to mention the endless amount of best quality snacks!). The great diversity of people from different backgrounds in Silicon Valley often left me speechless and gave me a new perspective every time I talked with my coworkers.
To sum everything up, Rambus fosters an inclusive, challenging, and a fun working environment. I learned that a job that is flexible and matches my personality makes me feel fulfilled. Finding a positive culture fit where my personal and professional goals aligned with those of the company improved my self-esteem and made it more conducive to carry out work to the best of my ability. After the initial inhibition vanished away, I walked through the same door every single day with thoughts spinning through my head. Only this time, I was asking myself different questions: What are the factors that affect the share price of a company? What are the challenges with my current project and how can I overcome them? How am I going to take what I learned today and use it tomorrow?
Interning with Rambus was one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences of my career life. It may sound cliché, but it is simply the truth.
Riju Pareek is a second-year Crosby MBA student with an emphasis in finance at the Trulaske College of Business at the University of Missouri. She has always had a passion for crunching numbers and analyzing data. She believes her background in accountancy is an ideal foundation for her transition into finance. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and pursues art and styling by drawing inspiration from the places she’s seen, people she’s met and her experience along the way.