When I first started the daunting task of finding a summer internship, I was nervous about making the wrong decision and spending my summer making photocopies or going on coffee runs. As a communications major and entrepreneurship minor at Santa Clara University, finding a role in PR and communications seemed like a natural fit. I had learned a little about PR, but wanted to spend my internship building an understanding of the industry, while also feeling valued for my contributions and working closely with colleagues.
I was aware that Nutanix was a fast-growing, successful tech company, but I had no idea what I was about to walk into. I discovered from my interview with the Public Relations Manager, Lena Rogow, that I would be learning how to write press releases, organizing the PR team’s media database and helping with a spokespersons’ toolkit. However, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my day-to-day experiences and interactions with colleagues.
On my first day, I assumed I would spend most of my time in various trainings and subtly checking social media. However, after an initial training, I was immediately included in a meeting with Nutanix’s CIO, Wendy Pfeiffer, where I learned about Wendy’s background and how to build an executive platform for the team’s PR strategy.
From this moment, I knew that as an intern at Nutanix I would be trusted to be involved in meetings with C-level executives and that my supervisors on the PR team wanted to help me reach my fullest potential in my short time here. Besides, little did I know, checking social media would also become a part of the communications intern job description to build out the PR team’s social media strategy.
Never having worked in a corporate setting, I was also uncertain what the office environment would entail. I anticipated that the office floor would be dead silent with no one talking to me, let alone each other. However, I figured out early on that Nutanix employees enjoy themselves while at work. The enthusiasm everyone has here is contagious and makes working even more enjoyable. I could never have imagined that during my internship, I would be having nerf wars with the sales team—this is just one scenario among many that exemplifies the friendly culture at Nutanix.
This summer, our intern program consisted of 102 interns in the U.S, working in a variety of departments including Engineering, Research and Development (R&D), Marketing, Sales, Product Support, Services, Logistics/Operations, and General and Administrative (G&A). We were exposed to critical projects, but also got to take part in a variety of different activities, just for interns. One unique event we had this summer was a Brown Bag with our CEO, Dheeraj Pandey.
This was an intern-only event where we were able to ask Dheeraj a variety of questions and hear him answer them in an intimate setting. He discussed topics including the company history, plans for the future, his own past experiences, and advice for the interns. The fact that our CEO was willing to take time out of his busy schedule to talk with us further shows that we are valued members of the company.
As the Public Relations intern, I expected to be limited to working on projects within just the PR team with no exposure to the rest of the communications department. Fortunately, this was not the case, as the larger communications team works closely with one another. As a result, there were plenty of instances where I was involved with the entire team. One example of my participation in the different functions of the department was during Nutanix’s FY18 Q4 earnings release.
I observed how investor relations gathers the financial numbers from the quarter, then uses this information to draft the press release and call script and directly talks to our financial analysts about these results.
I also learned how, in preparation for major announcements like earnings, our analyst relations team briefs industry analysts to receive permission to quote them in any external content. Later, I witnessed how the PR team tracks the coverage we received, and facilitates media briefings.
After the earnings call, I then had the opportunity to work with internal communications for our All Hands meeting, where we bring the information we shared with the broader market to our own employees at Nutanix. Because each function of the communications team comes together for events like the earnings call, I was able to observe and participate in each team’s job and learn more about how they are connected.
In addition, I also worked on a project with our Investor Relations Manager, Shane Xie, to create a metrics sheet that will be implemented in our spokespersons’ toolkit for all external spokespeople. After working with Shane, I then had the opportunity to sit in on PR media training sessions for public-facing executives, which included information from the metrics sheet I had prepared. Through this project, I also observed the strong connection between investor relations and PR.
Another ongoing task I worked on involved compiling and analyzing various quotes from our CEO, Dheeraj Pandey, for his executive platform. During my time here, I also learned the steps that go into outlining and writing press releases. Getting the opportunity to work on such diverse projects and witness the behind-the-scenes of the PR team’s day-to-day tasks has really opened my eyes to the level of detail that goes into building a successful PR program. I am also proud to have contributed to projects that will benefit my team, executives, and the company. I already feel exponentially more prepared for whatever career path I take after I graduate this spring.
I am not alone in feeling like my work as an intern supports larger business goals at Nutanix. All interns here are extremely involved in their teams and are crucial to the growth and success of Nutanix. For example, over the summer, Austin Blankenship served as a sales development intern and had the opportunity to prospect new accounts, connect and expand with existing accounts, and work side by side with our marketing team to drive our prospective account campaigns. On the technical side, Srikala Shetty worked as a systems reliability engineer intern, helping customers directly troubleshoot technical questions regarding our products. She’s glad to have developed her engineering skills, and enjoyed helping customers find solutions.
Also in the engineering department, Evan Fischer was a corporate systems engineer intern and helped the hosted proof of concept team handle the Nutanix demo service on the back end through projects that included building a test website and designing logos. These are just a few examples of the ways Nutanix interns are involved and contribute to the company.
My 12 weeks here have surpassed all of my expectations, both professionally and interpersonally with my colleagues. From other interns, to managers, and even all the way up to executives like Dheeraj, everyone has made me feel comfortable and welcome. The environment at Nutanix fosters growth and a positive culture and I directly felt the impact of it.
During my time here, I have built a deeper understanding of public relations, and more broadly, corporate communications, as well as the culture of Nutanix. I feel fortunate to have spent my summer interning at Nutanix and look forward to using the skills I have developed here for my future professional path.
Bridget Moriarty is a senior at Santa Clara University. She is pictured here (second from the right in glasses) with her fellow summer interns and Nutanix CEO, Dheeraj Pandey.
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