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iSchool student Hairol Ma is interning at Slack in San Francisco, CA.

The End of my Internship at Slack: Working for What I Believe In

Although 12 weeks seemed like such a long time when I first signed my contract, the days truly flew by at Slack.

I’ve left my internship with a new appreciation for hyper-growth startups and the sheer effort that comes from building a product and racing to keep up with demands and high expectations.

Silicon Valley darlings appear (literally) overnight, but after my twelve weeks at Slack, I know that Slack is special in a way that transcends its historical record-breaking sales or user numbers.

What has stuck with me the most, is not the product or the process — but Slack’s core beliefs and mission statement — and how the company as a whole follows through on what it preaches.

A Diverse Product Needs Diverse People

As a company building products for diverse people, it’s only necessary that the people building the product should be diverse as well. Slack knows it’s not perfect — but it recognizes diversity as one of the vital aspects to creating a product for the people who use it.

While I was interning I not only saw unanimous support for company-wide initiatives, but heightened awareness from each individual employee for the importance of diversity, and each employee striving to create a diverse workplace.

From a university perspective, I’ve seen Slack follow through on its core values through partnering with programs like Hack the Hood, Code 2040, and Year Up.

Slack has been such an incredible brand to create for because your brand is your culture speaking to the outside world. With a thriving culture within our company, it was simple to form words into a unanimous voice speaking to our audience.

How Slack Changed My Perspective

It’s been a fantastic summer creating and editing content we put out to the world and developing the Slack brand, but it’s definitely been different from where I thought I’d be this summer.

Though I have a dual major in Information Management, I never saw myself working in tech straight out of college. I anticipated working in the creative department of an advertising agency as a copywriter.

Although I’m not ruling it out as a possibility, I’ve learned to consider the point in time of a company’s life as an important perspective in considering post-grad opportunities.

“I challenge and encourage my fellow students to apply to companies supporting initiatives that create better workplaces.”

It’s an exciting time to be working at Slack right now, and as we expand our product and reach new audiences, I’m thrilled to be doing foundational work in curating and creating our brand content. It’s been a rewarding experience to identify new needs every day and fill in those roles as they appear.

I may return to traditional agency work at some point in my career, but I’m content to follow Slack as the company matures. By far the greatest thrill and most rewarding experience has been working for a product and company I genuinely, deeply believe in, something that’s hard to find.

My Future Plans

When thinking about my future at Slack, I find myself recalling this Audi ad from the 2017 Super Bowl. Closer scrutiny after the ad revealed that though the ad preached equal pay, the company itself failed to reflect those practices. Audi’s board of leadership at the time at six men and no women. It’s reassuring to know that the company I am creating for ultimately puts its money and efforts where it claims.

I recognize that it’s a luxury I get to work for a company I resonate with and believe in, and I understand that it’s not necessarily the case for all internship opportunities (or even full time ones).

As recruiting seasons dawn upon us, I challenge and encourage my fellow students to apply to companies supporting initiatives that create better workplaces. It’s created an infinitely more rewarding experience than previous places I’ve worked, and that has made all the difference.

Read all of Hairol’s Summer Internship Posts

Hairol Ma

Hairol Ma

Hello from foggy San Francisco! My name is Hairol and I’m a rising senior studying Advertising and Information Management & Technology. This summer I’ll be back home in the Bay Area  working as a brand copywriting intern at Slack. Over the next twelve weeks I’ll be contributing to select campaigns, honing my understanding of the Slack voice, and trying every La Croix flavor in the company fridges.

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