The Darden Technology Club (DTC) is one of over 50 student-run clubs and organizations here at Darden. With over 200 members, DTC is dedicated to connecting its members with opportunities at tech companies, providing industry knowledge from thought leaders, offering hands-on skills training, and providing mentorship and recruiting support.
This summer, members of the DTC are hard at work at internships around the globe, and are sharing their intern experiences with us. Last week we heard from Kelly Sullivan (’18) who interned at Beverage Analytics™ by WeissBeerger. This week Breana Fife shares about her internship experience at Airbnb!
Breana Fife, ’18: Airbnb
“What’s the best aspect of interning at Airbnb?” I cannot count the number of times I’ve been asked this question over the past few months. I think people expect me to talk about the unique office, in-house chefs, or Airbnb credits; but I see all of those things as icing on the cake. For me, it’s the people.
I had three main criteria going into recruitment: I wanted to be in the tech space, to work for a company that truly values its employees, and perhaps most of all, I wanted to contribute in a meaningful way to said company. I knew Airbnb was a good fit from my first interview with the recruiter. During this interaction, she walked through the entire process from first interview to first workday. These included a typical phone screening, a couple of function-specific interviews with managers, and one additional interview I didn’t expect. It was a core values interview. She said cultural fit was equally important as the ability to perform on the job.
On my first day, I saw exactly what she meant. I met so many brilliant people from extremely diverse backgrounds who were also very humble and excited to be working towards Airbnb’s mission of everyone belonging anywhere. It actually felt like I was back in the Darden classroom. At Airbnb, like at Darden, everyone brings something new and unique to the table. I saw first-hand how synergizing diverse strengths helps Airbnb push closer to its goal.
I feel very fortunate that Darden and my prior working experience prepared me for my internship within Product Management of the Growth Team at Airbnb. My main project for the summer was to take an ambiguous concept, make it more concrete, and conduct a competitor analysis surrounding this concept. I constantly found myself thinking back to similar cases or discussions we had in class, and I realized how invaluable some of those takeaways are. More than that, how valuable it is to embrace ambiguity and figure out how to manage it.
I have two pieces of advice for incoming First Years:
1. Absorb as much knowledge as you can during your time at Darden
2. Prioritize what you’re looking for in an internship and stick to it throughout the recruitment process. It may end up that you’ll find your dream job or that you’ll realize the things you thought were important to you really aren’t. Both are equally as valuable.