Finding My Passion: My Internship at Alation
By Jeremy Dou
Published on September 17, 2021
“Alation is looking for a Growth Marketing Intern.” When I was browsing through my LinkedIn job feed, I spotted this opportunity… that later proved to be one to change my life.
As someone extremely interested in marketing, I applied without hesitation. Compared to other companies to which I’d applied before, the application process and system were extremely simple: I just needed to upload my resume and fill out some basic information.
Later, I received an email inviting me to send a ‘get-to-know-you’ video, in which I’d respond to two questions: ‘Why me?’ And, ‘Why marketing?’. I uploaded a video talking about why I felt passionate about the position. In all honesty, I was just trying to take a shot to apply. At the time of my application, I didn’t really know what Alation is or does. However, this video really gave me an opportunity to sit down and reevaluate my passion for marketing.
It worked! Alation followed up to request a video interview. I would be interviewed by multiple employees at the same time, the mentors of the internship program. Undoubtedly, I was under a lot of pressure. I wasn’t confident that I knew enough about the company, but they sent me a lot of really useful resources, such as blogs, podcasts, and Youtube videos, that helped me familiarize with the company’s business and mission. Throughout the interview, I was amazed by how respectful and supportive the team was, and I felt determined to be a part of this community because I simply loved the people and the culture.
A week later, they reached out. I got the job! What surprised me the most was that Tracy Eiler, the CMO, personally contacted me on LinkedIn, introducing the exciting projects and teams at Alation to me. Tracy also went to the University of Michigan, and it was exciting to share our love and passion for Michigan and marketing together here at Alation.
Before onboarding, I assumed the process would be less organized than the bigger companies. Prior to working at Alation, I’d worked at Deloitte, Tesla, and ByteDance, which are much bigger companies. Alation’s IT and People teams have been nothing but amazing when it comes to helping its new employees set up. This is what I love about Alation the most: I might have had to wait for hours for the IT team to help me at one of the bigger companies, but here at Alation, everything is accessible at your fingertips. At one of the bigger companies that I used to work at, the office was filled with boxes which indeed give people the “startup vibe”, but it can get annoying by looking at things that make the office look messy and disorganized.
Even though the internship was remote, as someone who lives in the Bay Area, I had the opportunity to take advantage of working in the office. The first time I stepped into the Alation office, I thought I’d stepped into one of the offices at one of the tech giants, such as Google, Apple, or Facebook: everything is so well organized and clean! Just because it’s not (yet) a Fortune 100, does not mean it provides its employees with less adequate resources.
The way I see it, Alation has struck a perfect balance: it’s big enough where people have all the resources they need, yet small enough where people know each other and care for each other well.
Despite the fact that this is just the second year of Alation’s internship program, it’s already an experience that’s as comprehensive and enriching as the ones that you will get at some of the most prestigious and well-known companies in the world. It’s so well organized and structured that all the interns will see their impact on the product, team, and company. Aside from the exciting opportunities to work on the key projects, interns are also invited to “interns-only” events, such as a coffee chat with the CEO, career workshops, bonding events, and even game sessions, like escape room. I don’t know what exciting projects that Alation is going to have for its interns next year, but I do see the potential for the internship program to only get better and better in the future.
I’ve mentioned “people” a couple of times, but what are people actually like at Alation? The first group of people that I knew were my recruiters and the people who interviewed me. They showed me nothing but support and love. They aren’t the people who are just going to forget about you after your interview. They are happy to meet you and get to know you. I was able to work closely with one of them, Justina, throughout my internship program, and she’s been an amazing mentor with great patience and inspiration.
When I went to the office, I was able to meet some of the team members in person. I finally got the chance to meet our CMO, Tracy, in person, and she invited me for lunch. I learned so much throughout our conversation. People have different roles, but that differentiation isn’t a barrier that stops people from helping each other or getting to know each other. People work tirelessly and closely together, sharing the same passion, devotion, and vision. They are not just here to work — they are here to work with each other, and with you. Everyone’s voice is heard, and everyone’s input is valued, regardless of your role.
Lastly, I want to share something with those who are still struggling finding the right career paths for themselves. I study Computer Science, and I’ve done a great variety of internships at a great variety of companies in a great variety of industries. Now, I am here doing marketing at Alation. My sincere advice for you: take your time, at your own pace. It definitely takes time for one to find his or her true passion; you can’t rush it, and that’s fine.
Before my internship here at Alation, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation. But now I have a clear vision for myself: I want to work in a product-marketing related role in the future, and that’s where this internship has gotten me. Don’t be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone because there are constantly surprises out there for you to explore. You never know if you never try, and you will never make the shots that you don’t take. Give yourself an opportunity to learn, grow, and navigate, and give companies like Alation an opportunity to guide and teach. Follow your inner heart, and I promise you that one day you will find out what your passion and goals are.
Curious to learn more about what it’s like to work at Alation? Check out our career page to learn more. We’re growing fast, and hiring now!