When I was offered the opportunity to intern at AppNexus this summer, I was so excited. I signed my offer almost immediately and reflecting on this decision now, I think I made the right choice. I have learned much more than I imagined I would during this internship.
At the beginning of the summer, I was surprised to learn that I would be the leader of my own project. I realized that this would be a great opportunity for me to take on responsibility and do something that matters for the company. My summer project was focused on targeting and researching potential unclaimed property on the books maintained by the Client Finance team. When I first heard of unclaimed property, I knew nothing about it. After several meetings with my manager and other team members, I learned that unclaimed property is money owed to our clients that has not been claimed for two years or more. My job was to determine the population of data which could potentially contain unclaimed property and research the items that matched our review thresholds. My final deliverable was a report of all potential unclaimed property items identified which can be used by the company to make decisions on how to handle them.
My first step for this project was to gain a thorough understanding about the General Ledger system of AppNexus. From my previous internships, I knew that if I wanted to learn something I needed to be really proactive and keep asking questions. AppNexus has a pervasive learn and teach culture, and everyone was really supportive and happy to answer my questions. I have never worked in the Ad Tech industry before, so it took me some time to pick things up and understand the business. Luckily, all the onboarding classes were a really helpful way for me to gain an understanding of our business. After I spent some time learning about the business and the accounting system used by the company, I started to have some ideas on how to do this project.
In order to run the project effectively, I first made a project plan to ensure that I would be able to finish everything on time. My manager and I brainstormed together on the populations where we might find potential unclaimed property, and I then started to work through them one by one independently. The process was quite interesting to me because I had access to a large quantity of financial data, which is a unique experience for an intern. Imagine how much you can improve your data analytic skills and learn shortcuts in Excel when you have 500,000 rows of data to work with! Additionally, doing a project relatively independently gave me space to think through the relationships between different data sets and build my own logic to complete the project. After I finished my project work, I presented my procedures and results to my Client Finance team members and some other people on the broader Finance team. This was also a really good experience for me because I was able to practice my presentation skills in a business setting. I also received a lot of useful feedback, which I used to refine my project.
Of course I did not sit at my desk for the entire summer to work on my project! This summer I had the opportunity to reach out to some great people on the Finance team and learn about their career paths. The university recruiting team also organized a lot of great events just for interns! Having fun and working hard can be achieved together in this internship. For non-engineering interns, AppNexus is also a great place to learn coding. The company has many great resources and events to popularize coding.
About the Author: Nicole is a summer intern on the AppNexus Client Finance team. She is also a graduate student at Lehigh University where she studies Accounting. Before that, she completed her undergraduate study in China. When she is not doing homework, Nicole is watching Christopher Nolan and Alfred Hitchcock films.