In a few short weeks it will officially be summer, and that can only mean one thing — interns! As the manager of the intern program, I am really looking forward to welcoming this year’s group. They hail from USC to Kellogg to MIT, range from high school to graduate student, and represent such countries as India, China, Canada, and Italy.
When you hear about the corporate culture here in Silicon Valley, it’s often described as foosball and free lunch. At Yahoo! we have plenty of perks, but the single best thing we offer our interns is the chance to work on a real-world project that will be seen by millions of users. Our program is themed around Big Thinkers, and you’d have to meet our interns to see how true that is.
You won't find our interns fetching coffee or slaving over a copy machine. Over the past few years, our interns have done amazing things to contribute to our business. Past projects include:
- Developing a global AIDS awareness campaign to raise money and awareness with Yahoo! for Good.
- Conducting applied machine learning research at Yahoo! Research Labs, focusing on novel algorithms which scale to and exploit massive data sets.
- Managing creative design and execution of in-product ad-served modules for Yahoo! Answers.
- Getting Yodel Anecdotal off the ground.
My favorite aspect of the program is the Executive Speaker Series. I love seeing our interns put faces to products as they hear from the leaders behind the business and those responsible for Mail, Research, Music, and Flickr, to name just a few. And even the most stalwart MBA student never fails to be taken with Jerry and David’s story of how it all began in a trailer 12 years ago. These talks have been one of the cornerstones of our program since its inception and continue to be the summer’s highlight for many students.
Of course, Yahoo! has never been one for all work and no play. Besides the great work our students do, we manage to throw in a lot of fun throughout the summer. In recent years, our program has included hippity hop races, belly dancers, baseball games, water balloon fights, community service, and product expos. All of these things make for an incredible summer while supporting two of our corporate values: fun and community. It’s no wonder that so many full-time Yahoos have what we call "intern envy."
Our interns tend to be an opinionated bunch. Catch lively perspectives from some of last year's group on things like social media here and the Internet and academics here, and stay tuned for more podcasts this summer.
It’s been fantastic building up this program, and every summer I am reminded of why I am so lucky to have this job. It wasn’t so long ago that I was a college student and my sister was running this program (hi, sis!). Back then, there were only about 25 students. Now there’s virtually 10 times that number, my sister’s a director in Customer Care, and I manage all that the program has become.
Each year as June rolls around and our team’s a little worn down from all the planning and preparation, the interns arrive like a small army, raring to go with infectious enthusiasm. Inevitably it proves to be the best summer yet. I’m just fortunate enough to be along for the ride.