The following blog post has been written by Arjith Jegannathan, AB Tasty intern from June 15th, 2020 to August 14th, 2020.
Summer at AB Tasty
As a freshman in college, it is very difficult to find yourself an internship after the first academic year. From the start of the Spring semester in January, I had been cold calling companies, applying for internships online and on LinkedIn, and getting in touch with university alumni. I had the opportunity to meet and connect with a lot of people, however I had no success in getting any closer to having an internship for my Summer 2020. When the Coronavirus Pandemic was declared and we all returned home from college, I heard about the number of companies cancelling internships for the summer. I had practically given up any hope of finding myself an internship for the summer.
As a student at Purdue University in the College of Engineering, I know that connections and networking are the most important factors into anyone’s success. Although I have heard that concept throughout my freshman year of college, I never entirely understood it until I had the chance to speak with Mr. Aaron Stillman. Mr. Stillman is the Director of Product Marketing at AB Tasty, and when I had the opportunity to speak with him about potential internships, I felt rejuvenated. I expressed my love for Product and my hope to learn more about everything associated with the product development life-cycle from conception to launch and beyond in the upcoming months. After speaking with executives, other team members, and Human Resources, Mr. Stillman got back to me with an opportunity to be a Product Intern at AB Tasty for the summer. In light of the whole pandemic, this was not an opportunity many will ever have the chance to take part in. As a remote intern, I was on zoom calls, and worked out of my own office, aka the room I grew up in. This is when I truly valued and understood the impact of networking and connections. Additionally, it isn’t just about networking, it is about the ability to cultivate a relationship with the other person. For me personally, I was able to develop a quality relationship with Mr. Stillman which helped me be open and clear on what I was looking for.
Joining AB Tasty is a true accelerant in my Product & Engineering knowledge and operations experience. On my first day at AB Tasty, I was nervous, excited, determined, I literally felt all the emotions possible. I joined my first meeting and introduced myself, and the warm welcome I received from everyone made me feel comfortable and ready to contribute. During the initial weeks of my internship, I was learning how the company’s product works, and meeting the people I will be working with. In order for me to quickly ramp-up, my manager (Mr. Stillman) provided me the opportunity to work closely with him on many of his day-to-day tasks. Some of these were retrospective presentations, and sales sheets for the ultimate goal of communicating value, supporting the sales team, and generating revenue. With such tasks I was able to understand the mission, goal, and success of the product very quickly and swiftly.
As I learned more about AB Tasty, I realized that the success of their product wasn’t based solely upon the work that the people do, but the connection and family-like culture that is cultivated at the company. AB Tasty has a separate Slack channel called Random e-coffee. Essentially every day the Slackbots pair up people to take 15 minutes out of their day to get on a zoom call and get to know the other person. Given the company’s size and having offices all over the world, from the USA to Europe to Singapore, people rarely have the opportunity to meet everybody. However, with this slack channel, the company is able to cultivate the appropriate culture and chemistry amongst everybody in the company, not just within a team. The company as a whole is united. Through this I came to realize that the success of a company isn’t based just on its product and efficiency but the culture and values the company stands for. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I would love to carry this culture to my own future ventures.
As an intern, I felt empowered and my voice heard. The team felt honest and fun. Treating me like an employee, Mr. Stillman handed me tasks and engendered me to be creative in coming up with solutions. I soon became involved in the Flagship product where an engineering perspective had to be communicated to prospects, customers, users. Additionally, a do-it yourself demo and mobile app was conceptualized so opportunities and leads could realize the products value and become closed-won. In order to help further this project, I was also involved in intense technical documentation. All this helped me realize the product is more than just the software but also the documentation, demo, and so much more that is needed to make a product successful.
Once I was able to understand how the company used the agile methodology, I have been nurtured to make progress using this method. I implemented different concepts of JIRA (a tool to organize work for everyone on the team) to make sure that I am on top of all my tasks. I quickly developed strategies which would help improve the use of JIRA within the Product team. I was provided the opportunity to optimize JIRA dashboards which would allow managers and individuals to track their progress in a given sprint. This configuration would be used for the daily stand-up meetings with the team, for individuals to understand the status and agenda for the day, give visibility to the entire organization of the progress being made, as well as for the entire organization to eventually submit requests to the Product Marketing team. Through this JIRA configuration experience, I learned a lot about developing the right sorting queries within the mass amount of tickets and tasks for the team and how JIRA works.
I can’t pretend there weren’t times where tasks were frustrating, from understanding how JIRA jql works and how specific the terms have to be. But when I took a step back and determined my criteria for each problem and focused on it part-by-part, I was able to successfully produce value.
Rather than being just an intern at AB Tasty, I felt that I am an employee whose expertise is used for the betterment of the product and the company. I gained invaluable experience and learned skills I would have not attained otherwise. My manager as well as the rest of the team kept the learning fun yet focused. I look forward to keeping in touch with all of them. I hope to have many more internships with similar learning environments.
AB Tasty – Internship
August 14th, 2020