How to Gain Experience and Career Development As An Intern

This entry is part of our Summer Internship series at Concur. Our Summer Interns are more than just interns; they are part of our Concur family. So, here are a few of their stories about what they learned while working here at Concur.

I never thought I would ever get back to business travel.

 

Before I came to Concur, I was a Marine and served for six years with deployments to Japan, Australia and Iraq.In my first unit, I was the green lieutenant and also the FNG—“freakin’ new guy” on the officer staff. So naturally, I was given the inglorious collateral duty of managing my unit’s travel orders. In effect, I was my unit’s business travel manager. I dealt with the pains of managing a travel and expense system for a unit of almost 500 Marines and Sailors (keeping and scanning receipts really is painful). That was in 2007. Fast forward to 2013, I’m now looking to gain experience by interning at Concur, the leader in travel and expense management.

 

 

And as I learn more and more about the company and its core products, one thought keeps popping in mind — I wish I had Concur back in 2007.

 

 

Sea stories aside, I’m truly enjoying my internship at Concur. In almost two months, I’ve leraned a tremendous amount about the travel and expense market, Concur’s application programming interface (API) and the business platform model. Currently, I’m a Web Services Analyst intern in the Platform and Data Services department. My current internship project is to develop a set of dashboards displaying the health and success of Concur’s platform as it relates to API’s. So far, I've interviewed fellow employees, drafted mockups, participated in meetings with my "virtual team", conducted API analysis using software tools such as Splunk and learned some basics of computer programming from working with Concur’s engineers. I truly enjoy the data analysis aspect of my internship. To me, the math involved in data analysis is not about numbers. It’s about discovering patterns and creating stories that can best address and solve business problems.

 

 

My internship at Concur has given me valuable experience of working in a tech company. It’s one thing to aspire working in tech. But it’s quite another to experience working in tech. As LinkedIn co-founder Reid wrote about the importance of experience in his recent book The Startup of You:

 

"Yes, your aspirations shape what you do. But your aspirations are themselves shaped by your actions and experiences.You remake yourself as you grow and the world changes. Your identity doesn't get found. It emerges."

After just two months, my internship experience at Concur has helped me assess my aspirations. And I know that my identity, at least career-wise, lies in the tech industry.

 

Recently, I had an excellent opportunity to do an informational interview with Elena Donio, Executive Vice President of Small-to-Medium Sized Business. When I heard her speak at the internship orientation, I became intrigued by her story from consultant to entrepreneur to executive at Concur. Wanting to learn more about her career and the experience she gained along the way, I emailed Elena asking if we could meet to talk about career development. From our chat, I learned that when it comes to taking the entrepreneurship route, it’s wise to ask, “What’s the worst that can happen to me?” And surprisingly, the worst thing is not as bad as it seems. As a career changer, it’s not easy transitioning from the military to the tech industry. But my internship and Concur’s supportive culture of mentorship has definitely eased my transition.

 

 

I realize that one’s career path is not a neatly outlined roadmap with a defined goal but an ever evolving series of stepping stones to a destination yet unknown. From joining the Marines, to getting an MBA at Foster, to now interning at Concur, I see my internship at Concur as part of a series of stepping stones to a career in the tech industry. Where will my final destination (company/startup) be? Goodness knows. But when I do reach my destination, I’ll know that an important stepping stone was my internship at Concur.  

 

About the Author: Mark Bonicillo is a second-year MBA student at University of Washington Foster School of Business, concentrating on operations and quantitative methods. He is interested in big data and wants to establish a career in the Seattle/Bellevue tech industry. A Seattle native, Mark has returned to Seattle after four years serving overseas in Asia Pacific and the Middle East as a Marine captain. Mark has a dog named Aiko, which he got while stationed in Japan. His favorite music is jazz.

 You can find him on Twitter: @markbonicillo

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