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Arena Brings Together Summer Interns From Across the Globe

Arena 2023 Summer Interns

Top (Left to Right): Atharva Shembekar, Jonathan Sun, Juha Kauko. Bottom (Left to Right): Mike Albert, Sichen Zhang, Sakshi Shah

This year Arena, a PTC Business was delighted to host 12 bright and talented students at its offices in Boston, San Mateo, Suzhou, and Barcelona for the PTC Summer Internship Program. Over a 12-week period, the interns had an opportunity to work with an experienced team of engineering, sales, and marketing professionals in disciplines spanning Marketing Operations, Application Software Engineering, UX/UI Design, and Product Management 

Before the program ended, I spoke with interns Mike Albert, Juha Kauko, Sakshi Shah, Atharva Shembekar, Jonathan Sun, and Sichen Zhang to learn more about their background and projects at Arena. 

Tell us about your educational background.

Mike: I am currently a senior at Providence College, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance. As a freshman, my major was undecided; however, I soon realized that I wanted to focus on marketing after taking an introductory course.

I want to get a feel for the different sides of marketing before settling on a specific career path. I’m discovering that there are several specializations to choose from. Last summer I worked as a Demand Generation intern at Definitive Healthcare. This year, I was fortunate to obtain the Marketing Ops internship at Arena.

Juha: In 2021, I obtained a bachelor’s degree in international business and administration at Aalto University’s Mikkeli campus in Finland. Currently, I study at the main campus of Aalto University School of Business in Espoo, pursuing my master’s degree in global management and majoring in corporate strategy and sustainability. This spring, I also participated in a student exchange program at NOVA SBE in Lisbon, Portugal. After completing my summer internship with Arena, I will be able to graduate from my master’s program.

Sakshi: I obtained an MBA in human resources from the University of Pune, India. Afterwards, I worked in the software industry as a code technical writer at a multinational corporation headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area. Although I didn’t develop actual code, my documentation had a significant impact on the end user. My team also performed testing to evaluate different elements of the user interface (UI). Based on our analysis, we implemented changes to optimize the UI and then released it to the customer. In this role, I realized the importance of the user experience.

I’m discovering that user experience is heavily impacted by accessibility. For instance, digital inclusivity is not very common in my native country of India. This is especially true in rural areas, where there is limited access to smartphones and other technologies. To examine the impact of accessibility on these rural populations, I developed a chatbot which guides users to make transactions via a unified payment interface (UPI) such as Google Pay. The chatbot incorporated all the different languages that are representative of India.

I’m compelled to make a positive impact on the human experience, whether it be through my technical writing or software designs. This has led me to pursue my master’s degree in human-computer interactions at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Atharva: I started pursuing my bachelor’s degree in computer science at the Savitribai Phule Pune University in India. Halfway through my studies, I realized that I gravitated more toward the entrepreneurial aspects of business as opposed to the technical side. Consequently, I changed course and focused on a few personal startup projects while completing my undergraduate degree. Afterwards, I joined an early-stage startup in Bangalore which is considered the Silicon Valley of India. This enabled me to break into business development. I then went on to work in product management for a year and finally moved to the United States to pursue my master’s degree in engineering management at San Jose State University.

Jonathan: I am currently a senior completing my undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. I entered college as a physics major; however, I quickly realized that the subject was too theoretical for me. I eventually changed my major to computer science, and I’ve been loving it ever since!

Sichen: I obtained my bachelor’s degree in information engineering at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. During that time, I focused on telecommunications like 5G and machine learning, which required me to learn the fundamentals of both computer science and electrical engineering. I loved the topic and decided to pursue my master’s degree in computer science at the University of Southern California. I’m enjoying my graduate studies and will most likely choose software engineering as my career path.

How did you arrive at an internship with Arena?

Mike: When I saw the online posting for the Marketing Ops position, I was immediately intrigued by the job description and wanted to learn more about the opportunity. As I researched Arena, a PTC Business, I found that it has tremendous growth potential. I was also impressed by the positive employee reviews regarding the workplace culture. At that point, I decided to apply for the position.

Juha: Participating in a summer internship abroad is mandatory in my master’s program. It was quite challenging for me to find an internship position, since I am not a native French, German, or Spanish speaker—most of the available internship programs listed a fluent level of at least one of these languages as a requirement.

Fortunately, I found the PTC posting for the Arena internship from the recruiting website of my exchange university. To my delight, they were looking specifically for Nordic speakers.

Upon researching PTC and Arena, I was fascinated by how PLM, CAD, and other digital tools made by PTC impact so many popular products and brands—and yet I had never heard of the company itself.

Once I applied, the interview process went smoothly, and I eventually got the position with the Arena Business Development team based in Barcelona, Spain.

Sakshi: As I was updating my resume and going through an extensive online search, I came upon the posting for the Arena internship position. I immediately thought that it was the perfect fit, since it aligned with my current skill set and work experience.

For the first round of interviews, I created a PowerPoint presentation to give the Arena team a brief overview of myself. During my second round of interviews, I was asked what industries or types of businesses I would like to pursue in the future. I explained that I wanted to contribute to the National Pancreas Foundation through social work. I am passionate about supporting the organization in its effort to spread awareness about pancreas disease and the various treatment options that are available.

After completing my third round of interviews with the Arena technical writing team, I was excited to learn that I got the internship position!

Atharva: An internship is the natural course for most students in my field. When I started applying last June, I realized that I needed to continually build my profile and resume to set myself apart from other candidates. Thus, I developed my own website to showcase my professional projects and accomplishments.

In November, I applied for the product management internship at Arena, a PTC Business and was contacted by the team in December. When I shared the news with friends back in India, they were excited for me. Through their work in mechanical engineering and manufacturing, they knew of PTC’s office in Pune and the company’s product development platforms.

Jonathan: I was first introduced to PTC through one of my college roommates, who is studying bioengineering. As part of their curriculum at U.C. Berkeley, engineering students frequently use PTC’s Creo platform to design 3D models. My roommate would always show me all the cool capabilities within the 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software. Later, I joined an engineering club, where we focused on designing a solar car. We used Creo to design some custom parts for the product. This exposure to Creo prompted me to focus my attention on PTC when searching for a summer internship position.  

I was amazed at how PTC’s product portfolio touches every aspect of the manufacturing world. What’s more, Arena’s enterprise product lifecycle management (PLM) and quality management system (QMS) solutions impact many different industries, from life sciences and high-tech electronics to aerospace and defense, and clean tech. It makes the product development process so much easier. 

Sichen: As I was browsing LinkedIn, I saw a PTC posting for the software engineering internship position. It highlighted PTC’s company values and the job description which aligned nicely with my experience and future career goals.

I applied for the opening and was contacted by the HR department within a week. My second round of interviews went smoothly, and I was fortunate to get the position with the Arena team in Suzhou, China.

Describe the project you’re currently working on at Arena.

Mike: Initially, I was trained on the various platforms (Marketo, Drift, Demandbase, etc.) that the team leverages for inbound marketing. Now, I am creating automation workflows in Marketo to help streamline email campaigns. I’m also analyzing campaigns and creating reports in Salesforce to determine which ones are most effective. Lastly, I’m collaborating with a co-worker to develop a new AI playbook for Arena’s website chatbot. The goal is to guide website visitors and potential buyers to the resources and tools that will ultimately lead to customer conversions in real time.  

Juha: Right now, I am working with another intern to identify new target accounts across the EMEA region. We are especially targeting companies that are developing green tech products, since Arena has had very successful collaboration with such companies in the past. Through research on LinkedIn, company websites, and industry news, I identify companies that would be a good fit for Arena and then import their contact information into Salesforce for outreach and tracking. 

Because of my background, I am focused on accounts in Northern Europe and especially Finland since Finnish is my native language. Therefore, I am also developing a business plan on how Arena can best position itself to attract companies in Finland and help them take advantage of their untapped growth potential. This also includes identifying industry events that Arena should attend in Finland for networking and gaining more insights about the market. 

And of course, my daily tasks include working with companies that reach out to us and want to know more about Arena’s cloud-native PLM and QMS solutions. 

Sakshi: As a technical documentation intern, I’m developing technical training videos to guide customers in using Arena PLM and QMS. These videos will supplement the existing Arena Help resources. Additionally, I’m writing some UX documentation. My projects enable me to collaborate closely with the product management and UX/UI design teams and learn more about their roles in optimizing PLM and QMS software. 

Atharva: I am working with the product management team to integrate a third-party digital adoption platform with Arena PLM. It will provide customers with interactive step-by-step walk-throughs and prompts on how to use certain features within Arena. The goal is to further optimize the user experience. We can also monitor and track users’ adoption of features and gain a better understanding of how they are engaging with the system. 

Jonathan: I am developing a testing template and frameworks for different components of the Arena PLM application. This will help streamline the software testing process with future releases. I am also working on a web router remodeling project to further optimize user navigation within Arena PLM and QMS. 

As I work on these projects and learn more about Arena, I’m impressed by the configurability of the system and how it can be tailored to address customers’ unique needs.  

Sichen: My primary project is focused on continuous integration to help build a pipeline. This will enable software developers to automatically view, test, and deploy code changes for new functionality in Arena. In turn, the team will save significant time as they work on future releases. Other than that, I am working on authorization code for Arena. 

What do you enjoy most about your internship?

Mike: Everyone on the Marketing team is very supportive. They’ve given me valuable advice and practical hands-on experience with the different platforms that I can apply in the future.

I’m proud to have earned a LeanData and Drift certification during my internship. I’m also grateful to have developed professional connections with the Arena team and lasting friendships with the other interns at the Boston office.

Juha Kauko Laura Kolm

Juha: I like that I can contribute a fresh and in-depth perspective on the Finnish market to help Arena advance its business. I feel that my work and skill set are having a real impact on the performance of my team and the larger business unit.

I’m also appreciative of the continued support I’ve received from my manager, Laura Kolm, and other Arena team members from day one.

Sakshi: Since this is my first time working in the U.S., I was a little nervous; however, the Arena team quickly put me at ease. Everyone has been extremely welcoming and supportive.

The team empowers me to work independently on projects, while still providing the structured guidance that I need along the way.

Atharva: I am excited that my work will positively impact PLM end users as well as the Arena sales and support teams by enabling them to further streamline customer onboarding and education.

Because I’ve mostly worked in startup environments, I had a preconceived notion that medium- and large-sized companies would be very hierarchical. However, that is not the case. At Arena, I’ve had the freedom to speak with the management team. Everyone is open to answering questions, and you’re encouraged to contribute new ideas.

Jonathan: I’ve enjoyed meeting some of the other interns. Although we are on separate teams and working on completely different projects, we’re able to convene during lunch or coffee breaks and talk about our lives and future endeavors.

I’m appreciative of the practical skills that I’ve acquired from the Arena engineering team through their extensive industry knowledge and technical expertise. Unlike my school projects, where I’m dealing with many constraints, my work at Arena gives me flexibility to explore different ideas and solve real-world problems that positively impact today’s businesses.

Sichen: I enjoy interacting with my coworkers and cultivating new friendships. During our breaks, we try out different foods and play fun board games.

The Arena team is very appreciative of the interns, and they are very supportive. When I started, they provided a lot of guidance and tutorials to help me understand new concepts. If I have questions, I can go to my mentor for assistance. The projects are also challenging and practical, which give me a great sense of achievement.

What advice would you offer to others who are considering a career path like yours?

Mike: Be curious! As a student or intern, do not be afraid to ask questions. Now’s the time to learn as much as you can from peers and industry experts. Also, make as many connections as possible through internships and other career opportunities.  

Juha: Coming from a small town, my journey into the business world has not come without some challenges. For example, during my bachelor’s program I was deterred from starting my exchange program due to COVID. So, I first moved to the western coast of Finland to find temporary work and then moved to northern Finland to pursue another job opportunity. This was a tough time for me because I was on my own without any previous connections in those parts of Finland.

Therefore, I would tell others to be persistent and do what it takes to get yourself to the next stage in your career. You may need to step outside of your comfort zone or do things the unconventional way. However, if you act based on your values, it will pay off in the end.

Sakshi: When applying for internships, focus on fine-tuning your resume. Incorporate key words that will help set you apart from other candidates. Also, highlight 2-3 core projects in your work portfolio by providing a quick snapshot of your key accomplishments. Just as with software design, use a simple format that can be easily digested by the target audience. Finally, develop a statement that clearly outlines your mission. In my case, it is to make technology simpler and more accessible so that it can assist people with disabilities and those facing socioeconomic hardships. 

Atharva: If you are looking to get into product management, start by building a portfolio that highlights your major projects and accomplishments. Creating your own website and LinkedIn profile enables recruiters to have a clear view of your professional brand and strengths. They will see that you have a mindset for documentation and organization, which are critical assets in the product development world. 

Jonathan: Have an eagerness to learn anything and everything. The field of software engineering is fast-paced and constantly evolving—especially with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI). A curious mind will help you to excel. 

Also, find opportunities to get hands-on experience in software development. This could include taking on internships, classes, or personal projects that spark your interest. 

Sichen: I would advise students at my level to study hard and focus on getting good grades. Also apply for internships or jobs that will set you up for future success. Don’t be discouraged by rejection. Keep searching and applying. Eventually, the right opportunity will come your way.

A Bright Future Ahead

Although the interns came from different parts of the world with unique life experiences, they all exude an entrepreneurial spirit, eagerness to learn, and perseverance to overcome any challenge. These qualities will surely help them succeed as they embark on their chosen career path.  

We thank the interns for their hard work and contributions this summer and wish them all the best! 

To learn more about the internship opportunities at Arena, visit the PTC careers page.