The charts and numbers on the board are starting to make sense. The scattered notepads, documents, and books on the table are suggestive of work-in-progress. A week into the Internship program at ElementIQ and the office space is starting to feel more like a second home. Here in this blog post, I will begin with the story of myself and how I got here. Then, I will briefly summarize what the first week of working here entailed along with some of my key observations and final thoughts.
Introduction - Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Fire
'27 Hours Of Flying Leaving 27 Years Of Life Behind'
I came to Vancouver, Canada in August 2013 as a student of the Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program at Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Beedie School of Business after having lived most of my life in Mumbai, India.
With a Bachelors in Management Studies and over five years of experience as a Sales and Marketing professional, my intention was to gain exposure to the Western education system and work ethics, meet some amazing people and enhance my career in Marketing. My career had started as a Sales executive for a highly reputable ball pen manufacturing brand and soon I grew to accept broader responsibilities of Brand Management as an Assistant manager.
This was followed by three years of working with a start-up in the IT Services Industry where my primary responsibility was Business Development through client acquisition and retention. Here I led a Sales team, managed the Marketing and did all I could to keep the business running and stay profitable.
'Further Education In Search For Enlightenment'
The MBA at SFU was an eye opener to a higher level of business thinking as it was a well-designed program to strengthen the foundational concepts of business, challenge analytical and critical reasoning and enhance people and project management skills amongst other things. Some people enroll in this program to change Industries while others do so to enhance their career in their Industry. Me, I had discovered my love for Marketing early on and that affection continues to grow.
'Education Is A Curtain Raiser - Time For The Real World'
After completing the academic study requirements in August 2014, I took the time to strategize my career based on where I want to be in two to five years from now and what I should do to get there. In time, I aspire to be a Brand Manager for a successful multi-national brand. Reading the requirements for such a position made it clear to me that I needed experience in Digital Marketing.
From here on, I met a number of Industry professionals and kept an eye out for openings in the Digital Advertising agencies in Vancouver. Being that I was clear on what I wished to do, I was referred to Mr. Samuel Araki (Sam), the founder of ElementIQ, an Inbound Marketing Agency based out of Surrey. Almost immediately, I set up an informational interview with him and was invited to his office to meet with him.
We spoke on a variety of subjects including his background, the company history, challenges, opportunities and the strategic direction of the business. It also gave me the chance to introduce myself and Sam had me meet the rest of the people (core team) in the company, a group of three young, sharp, talented and skilled individuals and another Intern. He even took me on a tour to a bigger office space that he has purchased and is currently renovating along with the Crossfit gym of which he is a half-owner too.
Next day, I sent in my application to the company for the paid Internship program and soon enough a series of interactions with Sam followed. Over a month, we finalized the offer and decided upon my joining date. During this time, Sam also suggested that I get the general Inbound Marketing Certification from Hubspot (well worth the time). December 10th, 2014 was to be my first day in office.
Week 1 Of The Internship Program
'What Does Not Kill You, Only Makes You Stronger'
Starting out on day one included a tour of the facilities, policies, and a thorough look at the Inbound Marketing process by Ramesh (Content Marketing Specialist). I was also taken out for Lunch by Sam and Lincoln (the Senior Accounts Manager) and we ordered lavishly eating Calamari, Prawns, Chicken, and Beef. A great lunch indeed followed by lots of reading (Beginners Guide To SEO by Moz - A fine article to read on an empty stomach). That was a difficult afternoon to keep awake until we transitioned into further training with Ramesh.
The next day, I was introduced to the various softwares being used by the company for Project Management and Internal Communication. Also, I was impressed as Ramesh shared a document with me highlighting the schedule for seven straight weeks. They would include getting acquainted with all the clients, the various softwares, and most importantly - an in depth learning of all the components of the Inbound process - SEO, Social Media, Content, Analytics, Conversion Rate Optimization, and Pay-per-click Advertising.
Day 3 and onwards, I continued to settle into the fast-pace of working in this Internet Marketing Agency and started to get assigned certain tasks such as building a monthly report for a client and building a spreadsheet. I also began to get comfortable with using the plethora of softwares and tools being used by the company (Hubspot, Slack, Raven, Basecamp, Highrise and Sidekick to name a few).
'The Fool On The Hill See's The Sun Going Down'
- For a start-up, it is fascinating to see how well they have organized themselves. While not perfect, the foundation pillars seem strong enough to support sustainable growth.
- Every member of the team is an expert in their domain and continues to strive to become a thought-leader through on going education and practice. I am also particularly inspired by each individual's credentials, passion, and intelligence.
- The mission of the company is to add value to each of their clients and this has been internalized by every employee.
- Nobody raises an eyebrow for trivial things like showing up a few minutes late to work as long as you’re on top of your game and do the things required of you. And there is always something to do which often makes people stay back after office hours at their own free will.
- They prefer XBOX to Playstation and are highly competitive in NHL 15.
'The Time Is Gone, The Song Is Over, Thought I'd Something More To Say..'
My enthusiasm and excitement of being part of ElementIQ is growing with each passing day. I continue to get better acquainted with all the team members and their expertise and am starting to feel more useful as time goes by. I joined the Internship program with the goal of hyper-learning, practicing and contributing and it feels to me that the program will exceed my expectations.
Personally, I hope to reciprocate by doing all that it takes to help the company while it continues to prosper in the growth stage of it’s life cycle and add value to it’s clients. Finally, I must say that it is not always easy to progress in your career after you move to a new country more than 10,000 kilometers away with no family, friends or support structure. For this reason, I am ever so grateful to Sam for giving me the opportunity to intern in his company and I look forward to the coming weeks and months.