Inside Arena: Summer Interns Get an Immersive Learning Experience
While many university students spend their summers relaxing at the beach or hanging out with friends, some choose to put their education into practice and pursue an internship.
Every year, PTC offers students the opportunity to participate in its North America Summer Internship Program. This summer, a total of eight eager and talented interns were selected to work at Arena, a PTC Business, in disciplines spanning Digital Marketing, Application Software Engineering, Solutions PLM Platform Engineering, UX/UI Design, and Product Management. Over a 12-week period, they are assigned high-visibility projects that are aimed at broadening their skill set and giving them a firsthand glimpse into the day-to-day operations of a business. Interns also gain hands-on work experience while learning from some of the brightest in their fields.
Before the program ended, we sat down with interns Shizhao (Lawrence) Liu, Rutvik Saptarshi, and Allison Wong, to find out more about their work at Arena and gather their perspectives on how the program positions them for the future.
Shelly: Tell us about your educational background.
Lawrence: I completed my undergraduate studies at Indiana University Bloomington with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. I am currently completing my master’s degree in information science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a specialization in human-computer interaction (HCI).
Rutvik: I acquired a bachelor’s degree in computer science at the State University of New York at Binghamton. After completing my undergraduate studies, I didn’t have clarity on my long-term career goals. So, I’m now pursuing my master’s degree in computer science at Brown University with a focus on cybersecurity and systems engineering.
Allison: I’m currently a senior at the University of Texas at Dallas studying marketing and global business. Initially, I wanted to pursue a degree in art, but I eventually transitioned to marketing. I was drawn to this field because it would give me the opportunity to explore the creative side of business. I also love learning how companies work together on a global scale.
Shelly: How did you arrive at an internship with Arena?
Lawrence: After completing a minor in creative technology in art and design during my undergrad years, I realized that I didn’t want to spend all my time coding. Instead, I wanted to pair my computer science knowledge with my creative design skills to pursue a career in UX/UI design. Through my empathy for end users, I could identify ways to improve the software design and enhance their experience with the product. This led me to apply for the internship with Arena and explore the field in greater depth.
Rutvik: I saw the opening for the internship position online and it immediately sparked my interest. Although I didn’t have many referrals, I decided to try my luck and apply. To my surprise, I was contacted by Arena. The interview process went smoothly, and I accepted an offer a few days later.
Allison: I applied to Arena’s internship program earlier this year. I didn’t have much of an understanding of digital marketing at its core and was looking to gain more experience in that area.
“Arena’s internship program enables me to gather real-life work experience. I am contributing to something that will go into production. This puts added responsibility on my shoulders and at the same time brings me great satisfaction when I get the job done.” – Rutvik Saptarshi, Summer Intern
Shelly: Describe the project you’re currently working on at Arena.
Lawrence: I’m focusing on user experience (UX) design as it relates to Arena’s cloud-native product lifecycle management (PLM) and quality management system (QMS) software solutions. I’m working on ways to optimize how users access notifications within these systems. I’m also working on a concept design for the Arena dashboard.
Rutvik: Currently, I’m working with the Arena applications team. Initially, I was focusing on front-end software enhancements for the Account Management portal of Arena PLM. I am now working on the development of a new user interface that will be included in an upcoming software release.
Allison: I’ve been participating in a rotational program, which allows me to work in all the different areas of the Arena marketing department. This includes content, digital, and demand generation.
My main focus is digital. Here, I generate monthly reports for the Arena leadership team. I also work with different marketing platforms to optimize our Google ad campaigns. Additionally, I attend weekly meetings with agencies (both domestic and international). This gives me insight into Arena’s key touchpoints and how the company is approached by customers from all over the world.
On the content side, I set up customer testimonials on a new landing page by utilizing the information on our TrustRadius and G2 review sites. In addition, I leverage the Canva design platform to develop posts for a new “#CustomerLove” social media campaign that highlights the Arena team using the innovative products customers develop.
In the area of demand generation, I conduct extensive research to identify industry events and podcasts that Arena can participate in throughout the year.
“I find that Arena’s software has a lot to offer users in terms of its capabilities. As customers explore the system, they’ll quickly discover new functionality that they can leverage to streamline their processes.” – Lawrence Liu, Summer Intern
Shelly: What do you enjoy most about your internship?
Lawrence: Because the UX/UI design field is relatively new to me, I really appreciate all I’ve learned from the managers at Arena as well as my mentor in Suzhou, China.
I find that Arena’s software has a lot to offer users in terms of its capabilities. As customers explore the system, they’ll quickly discover new functionality that they can leverage to streamline their processes.
Rutvik: With most internships, the company is just assessing whether your skill set meets their expectations. And you end up working on projects that don’t have a significant impact on the business.
In contrast, Arena’s internship program enables me to gather real-life work experience. I am contributing to something that will go into production. This puts added responsibility on my shoulders and at the same time brings me great satisfaction when I get the job done.
I now have an appreciation for the tremendous effort that goes into keeping Arena PLM current to meet the evolving needs of the customer. The development process is very user-centric as opposed to feature-centric. It’s great to see Arena take this modern approach to software design and keep up with industry best practices.
I enjoy the meaningful connections that I’ve built at Arena. Everyone is extremely smart and supportive. Whenever I need assistance, the team is eager to help me find the best solution. Through my interactions with other interns, I realize that we all have a lot in common and face similar obstacles in life. This keeps me motivated to continue on the path to reaching my career goals.
Allison: This internship has provided me with a deeper understanding of how marketing works across various channels. It’s amazing to see how the various parts of marketing come together to support the success of a business.
I appreciate the opportunity to work one-on-one with the Arena marketing managers. I think of them as my colleagues because of the relationship we’ve established through our weekly meetings. The entire team has been incredibly supportive and patient when it comes to my learning. They encourage me to be creative and explore new ideas. Ultimately, I find that content creation is what I enjoy the most.
“My advice is to continually connect with other professionals in your field. Even though I’m just starting out, I make it a point to pull people aside for a quick coffee chat and learn more about what they are doing.” – Allison Wong, Summer Intern
Shelly: What advice would you offer to others who are considering a career path like yours?
Lawrence: Pursue an internship at a company that sparks your interest. By immersing yourself in its day-to-day operations, you’ll get to interact with individuals from many different disciplines and expand your skill set. The experience will help you pinpoint a career that’s most rewarding to you.
Rutvik: My key advice for others is to not undervalue the unique talent and skills that they bring to the table.
As the high-tech industry continues to rapidly evolve, it’s also important to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments. Consider subscribing to your favorite blogs, following thought leaders on social, or having a conversation with your peers. You’ll be amazed at what you can learn!
Allison: My advice is to continually connect with other professionals in your field. Even though I’m just starting out, I make it a point to pull people aside for a quick coffee chat and learn more about what they are doing.
As a marketing professional, you need to create a unique brand for yourself and network. This will take you further in your career and help you eventually arrive at your dream job!
A FOND FAREWELL TO SUMMER
As the fall season begins and our interns return to their studies, we thank them for all their contributions and wish them well as they navigate the journey to a fruitful career!
To learn more about the internship opportunities at Arena, visit the PTC careers page.