Find Your Wings at Alation
By Gus Torrey
Published on September 27, 2021
How do I describe Alation’s internship program? The word “alation” means “the state of having wings,” which fits perfectly: The Alation internship program is one that fits career hopefuls with their own set of wings. Whichever hemisphere to which you plan to fly, they will help you reach new heights – all you need to do is set the coordinates. When I joined the Alationauts in May as a Growth Marketing intern, I knew I was in for a thrilling flight. From podcast planning to email sequencing and public sector messaging, it was the perfect chance to continue my journey along the B2B trail.
Before I dipped my feet into my final year of university life, I wanted to further explore – and confirm – my concentric passions for writing and B2B marketing. With one summer marketing internship already under my belt, I was not only ready to learn more, but also eager to refine my personal impact.
My Alation mentors created an internship for me which allowed for all of it. I wrote blog posts, but my mentors also encouraged me to study the performance analytics to inform the direction of future blog content. I brainstormed show segments for a podcast, but I was also trusted with connecting with vendors and working within the budget. I drafted a landing page for public sector messaging, but I was also responsible for analyzing sales calls in order to glean the most valuable customer themes. Alation mentors effectively bridge the gap between education and trust in a way that makes sense to you and activates your potential for immediate results.
Perhaps my favorite quality of an Alation internship is that it will holistically invest in you as a professional and beyond. Although concepts in the data industry were almost entirely new to me upon onboarding, many individuals took hours out of their day to explain catalog features, best security practices, and company and industry history – all within my first week. They even shared a copy of the Alation data catalog built just for employees to run queries and explore features in their own free time.
With these resources in my back pocket within hours of onboarding, I felt ready to tackle anything. Even towards the end of my experience, I was treated to presentations from other teams about their day-to-day responsibilities and even a resume workshop. During the latter, I received personalized feedback, heard the perspectives of recruiters, and learned skills to better leverage social platforms.
3 Key Takeaways from the Alation Internship Program
As I continue to reflect on my time at Alation, I can share three key takeaways which encapsulated my learning over the summer:
1. Ask questions, but trust your gut
This was not only a concept paramount to my internship, but also a theme floated around in the team’s planning of an upcoming podcast. The “gut,” as we like to call it, is really the accumulation of all of our experiences and choices – but also their consequences. When I found myself unsure of what to do, I would ask myself, “What is the logical next step?” Maybe it is taking inventory of resources. Maybe it is conducting a follow-up meeting with a vendor. From experience, I would advise any intern to ask questions for assurance and accuracy. However, it is your behind-the-scenes initiative that will be met with relief and profound gratitude.
2. Take the time to analyze all that is in front of you
Joining a fast-paced startup in Alation, which provides data solutions for a variety of industries, I quickly came to learn that accuracy – while valued universally – was an absolute must. I learned just as much about the data industry as I did about Growth Marketing – but it didn’t start out that way.
My first few days at Alation were spent preparing my first blog post on a well-performing webinar. Watching the webinar, I heard many industry terms for the first time and saw the stakes immediately rise for my first project. However, I feel that it can often be forgotten that if we pause, reflect, and recontextualize, we can learn just as well as anybody. When I took the necessary time to fully understand what was being shared, it served me even months down the line when tackling future projects on similar subjects.
3. Build meaningful relationships
Talo Thomson – my mentor – and I were each pleasantly surprised to learn that we not only chose identical educational tracks in college, we each had a passion for writing and a good story. Morning syncs were filled with discussions of the ideas of writers such as Upton Sinclair and Robert Galbraith, which led to daily projects powered by our mutual understanding of writing styles. Writing blog posts, building video storyboards, and conversing with vendors together became routine to a point of confidence. Connections are not made just by virtue of sharing a team. Connections are made when we take the time to discuss our shared passions, especially when nurtured over the course of two different lives.
I thank my Alation mentors, especially Talo Thomson, for their trust in my ability as an intern and for building the fast-paced arena in which I learned volumes. As I mentioned, Merriam-Webster defines “alation” as, “the state of having wings” – which also succinctly describes the internship my mentors shaped for me this summer.
- 3 Key Takeaways from the Alation Internship Program