When I started my summer internship, I thought I knew what my days would entail: coffee and paperwork. From my prior work experience and stories from friends and family, internships have this stereotype largely because it’s true. Yet, my experience this summer at Outrider couldn’t be further from this truth. Yes, paperwork was involved. But, the only coffee I fetched was for myself.
Internship programs require a lot of investment to make them worthwhile for both the company and the interns. Outrider’s idea of an internship exceeded my expectations and made me excited for my future.
First, a little background on Outrider. The company is automating distribution yards, the area between the warehouse and the open road where trailers are moved to and from parking spots and dock doors. It’s a dull, dirty, dangerous operation that has needed an upgrade for several decades. So, I was excited to be a part of a company that removed people from harm’s way and reduced emissions (Outrider’s autonomous vehicle runs on electric truck platforms). Plus, to say the brainpower behind this technology is impressive would be an understatement.
One of my first assignments was to write this blog near the completion of my internship, which involved interviewing several of the nine interns – the majority of whom are engineers – in the program. My daily responsibilities as the one and only marketing intern were very different from theirs.
While they wrote code, developed models, and ran simulations, I helped generate market pull for the company by managing our social media and creating the Q3 corporate newsletter. I loved applying my passion for writing and communications (also my major at the University of California, Santa Barbara) in the real world. These responsibilities required that I learn the basics of key marketing apps like WordPress and Hubspot. And, even though paperwork was involved, I created the company’s swag and online apparel store – a resource sure to be a hit with employees.
While there were many differences in the Outrider interns’ responsibilities, I identified two common themes of the program: we had a lot of responsibilities and we worked on projects that directly impacted the business. Outrider is a fast-paced start-up with a “Day One” mentality, which means you hit the ground running on your first day. Unlike my friends’ internships at other companies, I had a lot of personal responsibility and ownership from the very beginning. To create the newsletter, I reviewed the previous editions and set off to draft the copy, work with our designer on the images, and flow it into the template in Hubspot. And, I was lucky to have a highly visible role in the company. I blasted out the newsletter to thousands of subscribers and sent emails and Slacks to our 150+ employees, encouraging them to engage with our social media posts. It affected those around me if I messed up, which was a great deal of pressure but motivated me to work with an even greater purpose and attention to detail.
When it comes to internships, I had a unique and meaningful experience at Outrider. The role taught me ownership, responsibility, and the value of drive and commitment. And, along the way, I learned a few things about Marketing and Communications, such as the importance of adjusting your message based on an audience, attention to detail, and how much people love apparel. Internship programs require a lot of investment to make them worthwhile for both the company and the interns. To shape the future and ensure success, companies must develop young peoples’ skills and talents. Outriders’ idea of an internship exceeded my expectations and made me excited for my future.
Am I ready for the workforce? Only time will tell, but I couldn’t imagine a better learning experience than I had this summer at Outrider.
Lillian Brien, Marketing Intern
Lilli interned at Outrider for the summer of 2021. She managed our social media presence, worked hand-in-hand with our public relations firm, and created the Q3 eNewsletter. She played an integral role in generating market pull for the company and solution. Lilli values working for companies with a powerful vision, exceptional brand, and sustainable practices.