Evangeline Ng
Product Designer
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Top 5 Advice from Marissa Mayer, ex-CEO of Yahoo for Interns

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I have just attened an amazing event Internapalooza 2019, Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco! There was a series of talks and Marissa Mayer Ex-CEO of Yahoo’s talk was especially useful and inspiring. Below are top 5 advice you wouldn’t want to miss reading about!

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1. Find a company culture you’re comfortable at

Ask yourself if you’re an introvert or an extrovert. If you’re an Introvert, are you working in an environment where you’re comfortable enough to express your thoughts and critique maturely? If you’re an extrovert, does your environment empower you to be yourself?

Company culture has been something I’ve thought very little of when finding an internship/job. I made a personal mistake in my Junior year by choosing a branded Design Studio in Singapore for my internship instead of a Media Start Up where there were like-mineded and hungry students working hard to build their visions like myself.

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2. Look at the people - Do they believe and invest in you?

Really talk to your to-be mentor because your mentor is key. Does your mentor/advisor/manager access your strengths and weaknesses? Do they ask you about your career plans? Do they plan projects that will pave you towards a success both of you envision?

I’ve had the fortune to meet my current mentor at my company who has taught me so much on the job and often share her journey with me, assess my strengths and weaknesses and teaches me how to work on them. She plans the projects towards what my future career will require, and speaks about the path towards it from time to time. Thank you Kelly! :-)

Not many of us have luck like that, I know. It took me several companies and I was self-learning + lost for a long time. Once you find it, it’d be worth it and especially rewarding! So find the right mentor!

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3. Do thing you’re not ready to do

We often feel like we’re not as good as Patricia who has XYZ Awards and Shiny Portfolio but if we never get started, we never will. Patricia has to start off somewhere and must have made some mistakes, but she learnt from them to get to where she is today. No one is out there to get us or track our failures and throw our intern failures at us when we’re 50. I was always waiting for a sign, for someone to validate me and tell me: You’re verified enough to do XYZ. Validate yourself, do a little more than the old you.

I come from a visual design background and I’ve always found UX very interesting but i never validated myself to go all in, afterall my coursemates were all very artistic and very graphic design driven. After interning at a Graphic Design Studio I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do and made the pivot to self-learn. I wish i had started earlier but I didn’t regret starting. Go for it!

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4. Work with the smartest people you can find

The problem often isn’t about finding the smart people, they’re all around us. It’s probably an problem of Ego. If you’re reading this article, chances are that you have no issue with that. (Haha) The fact that you’re willing to read about advices for interns like myself proves that you’re eager to learn from others! Now all you have to do is go out there, socialize and tell them “Hi! I’m actually just a student'/intern, what’s the project you’re working on? Could you explain XYZ?”

Recently I was at a company TradeShow and as an Introvert I was too shy to start conversations but my Colleague Simran, Junior from San Jose State University just went up to booths and say “Hi! We’re just Interns and we don’t understand what your booth is about, could you explain what this does?” The conversation turned out extremely well, we all exchanged linkedin, numbers and learnt a lot!

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5. Do the Start Up Thanggg

As students, honestly we can afford to commit longer hours, diversify our responsibilities and work on something that has nothing to do with your major. Experiencing and trying out new roles can help us spark interest and access our strengths.

I may not be the best person to compare between working in a big vs small company but i’ve been working for several start ups from Medtech to Recruiting to Hardware Industry and all of them have been great learning experience with extremely different focus and cultures. For example one was highly focused on customer success, while the other was on the AI.

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Marissa Mayer is now a founder of LUMI Labs, an early-stage technology studio - founded together with Enrique Muñoz Torres, based in downtown Palo Alto.

Internapalooza 2019 was a free event for students/interns in San Francisco. The talks given by Marissa Mayer along with empowering women like Aileen Lee and Ann Miura-Ko inspired me about what it means to be a woman in tech!

Photo with Marissa Mayer at Internapalooza 2019

Photo with Marissa Mayer at Internapalooza 2019

Thank you for reading!

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