By Chelsea Bailey '16
Rachel Sirkin '14
Over the summer, Oliners find internships all over the world. Sometimes students find companies that Olin has not yet connected with, and they begin the wonderful process of networking Olin with a company where they've had an amazing experience. This story is about how one of those connections was recently made.
Rachel Sirkin '14, a Massachusetts native, spent the summer far from home in Austin, Texas as a product management intern at RetailMeNot. This online marketplace brings digital coupons to the homes of consumers. Both the website and their mobile apps provide thousands of coupons for all variety of retailers; from Old Navy to Abercrombie to Nike to Michaels.
Rachel reached out to PGP this summer, because she has loved her experience, and her company is interested in connecting with more Olin students. They have two types of internships that fit our students: product management and engineering (coding). Rachel says that RetailMeNot cares "more about thought process than age, experience or major." She has met interns ranging from first years to super seniors, all of them with different bases of knowledge and experience. She says they look more for problem-solving skills than a specific language or vocabulary set.
To hear more about Rachel's experience, we had her answer a few quick questions!
How did you hear about RetailMeNot?
I found them while searching for jobs online. I was looking for product or design internships on a bunch of different job sites and I happened to stumble on this job listing. I had been using their website for years and their mobile app for about a year, so when I saw their name I decided to look closer at the listing. After reading about their product management internship I decided to apply online.
Why do you like it there?
I like it here for a few reasons. The first reason is that I am working on a project that actually matters. I wasn't given busy work and I am not sitting here without work to do. I also enjoy this internship because we are given a lot of freedom and leeway to make the project how we want to make it, but we do have structure in place to make sure that we are going in a good direction. I am working on a project with a UX intern and an engineering intern. We make up the entire team and are making sure that our proof of concept app gets done and gets done well.
We each have mentors in our own areas that check in with us and give us guidance, but we are the ones who are conceptualizing, designing, and implementing the app. Lastly, I like this company because of the culture. Everyone here works hard, but also knows how to have fun. We have had many events (some for interns only, some for other groups like the mobile team, or interns and their mentors) and people are generally very friendly and want to incorporate you into the company social scene.
The main lobby
The dining area
What kind of people does RetailMeNot hire?
They hire all kinds of people. Much like Olin, they care a lot about your thought process and your attitude. The people come from all different backgrounds. They don't require engineers to know specific languages when they start, and they don't expect all product managers to come from engineering backgrounds. People here are friendly and want to help as much as possible.
What new things are you learning?
I am learning about what a product management job means in the real world. At Olin, when we are on a team, each of us is responsible for all aspects of the project the whole way through. Here the role is very defined and I have to make sure that UX does their part and engineering does their part. I am also learning much more detail about what it takes to design and develop a mobile application.
What's Austin like?
Austin is a very cool city! It seems to have things to do for all kinds of different people. I'm really enjoying it here. I have spent a lot of my time swimming, doing water sports, hanging out with new people, and exploring. The music scene is also pretty good - there is always live music somewhere in the city. The only real negative I have found so far is when it gets over 100 degrees. It's Texas, it's hot...
RetailMeNot has many different locations!