Summer Spotlight: Constanza Nicolini (B’22)
Each year, Georgetown McDonough students spend their summers working with corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations, volunteering, and pursuing their passions. While summer 2020 presented never-before-seen challenges, McDonough students rose above and made the most of an unprecedented summer.
Tell us about your summer.
Over the summer I interned at Enea Openwave, a company focused on developing software components for cybersecurity and telecommunications. More specifically, I was part of the Openwave division which specializes on the telecommunications side of the company by providing solutions for Traffic Management and 5G Data Management to top mobile operators around the world such as Orange, Vodafone, and Telus. I had the opportunity to be part of the Sales Operations and Market Research team where I focused on improving Enea Openwave’s databases’ efficiency and accuracy. Some of my responsibilities included simplifying and automating extensive Excel spreadsheets to help management make faster and well-founded decisions, as well as the construction of an online website to improve accuracy when distributing products to their customers.
Due to coronavirus, my internship was virtual and, and as a result I took advantage of being home and practiced other activities. I spent time with friends and family I had not seen for months, started reading for pleasure and took long walks on the beach. This was definitely not the experience I had pictured of my summer, but even so, it was a very productive and rewarding one!
How did your internship relate to your professional or personal interests or aspirations?
As an Operations and Information Management (OPIM) major and Computer Science minor, I was searching for internship opportunities in the tech industry that focused on data analysis and operations, one that would merge both of my interests. Also, as a rising Junior, I knew that although I have time to decide what path I want to take before graduating from college, I still wanted to have an idea of what route I would like within the tech industry, as there are a broad range of options. This internship was highly technical and analytical, which I ended up enjoying, and helped me picture what my major would look like outside of the classroom. I learned from real-life experiences and from people that have been working in the telecommunications industry for years. It was a great way to explore my options and to list possibilities of career paths to take in the future.
How did you find this internship?
In February, Georgetown’s Cawley Career Center sent an email introducing the Future Leaders in Technology (FLITE) program that had been recently created by Georgetown University’s Tech Alliance. The FLITE program sponsors 6 to 8-week summer internship opportunities in the tech sector with the objective to form the next generation of tech leaders. This program also provides students with monetary aid for expenses they may have such as travel or housing. I figured it would be an ideal internship to have as it would help me clear any doubts I might have regarding which path to take within the tech industry. After submitting my application, I had a couple of interviews and I was finally selected to take part in their team. I ended up accepting their offer and started working at the company in June.
What was the most interesting or impactful thing you worked on?
It would be hard to pinpoint one specific project that has been the most interesting as all have been covering different concepts and have all been interesting in their own ways. Some of them were more technical while others more analytical forcing me to develop a wide range of skills and to reinforce skills I had learned in class. For example, one of the projects required the building of pseudocode, a skill I had learned in a Computer Science class I took a few semesters ago and others required my in-depth Excel knowledge and tricks I had learned in my Operations and Information Management classes. However, with that being said, most projects followed a similar structure aiming to help Senior Management organize and process information better. Although I looked for the internship with the main objective to learn about the industry and the company, I realized that my coworkers also learned from what I had to offer and I feel as if my work did impact the company.
How was your internship adjusted because of coronavirus?
The main adjustment because of coronavirus was the location of the internship. Originally, the position was in Redwood City, California and there was even an opportunity to travel and visit the office located in Northern Ireland. Instead, the internship has been virtual, meaning I am working from home in Lima, Peru. Meetings are held via Microsoft Teams where I am expected to give daily updates. Although I would have enjoyed being physically at the office, working from home also has its benefits. Having flexible schedules allows me to engage in other activities I enjoy practicing. Moreover, since we are not working at a physical office, we do not have a physical restriction and we are not solely focused on working with the same team from the same office. I’ve had multiple projects with people from other countries which makes the whole experience much richer.
What did a typical day look like?
Days were usually not the same since hours were much more flexible. I was expected to work a certain number of hours per week and I was allowed to arrange them the way they work best for me. Although I did not have a rigid schedule, I did create a routine that helped me structure my days. They usually started with a daily meeting with my boss where I gave updates and once every week we had a meeting with all the interns.
Any advice for other students?
Something valuable I learned from this experience is that oftentimes we underestimate the benefit of working in companies with smaller organizational structures. Enea Openwave is not a big organization and, as an intern, I felt I learned much more and had the opportunity to work and learn from different people including Senior Management. In fact, I even had a conversation with the CEO of the Openwave division, John Giere, who is a Georgetown graduate. Furthermore, working at a smaller company allows you to be involved in different types of projects which cover a wider range of concepts. I can confidently say that being involved in different types of projects made my experience at Enea Openwave much more fulfilling. Moreover, if a company has a flatter hierarchical structure, then moving around projects is also more feasible and communication within the company is more frequent. Enea Openwave has both a small and flat structure and that definitely made my internship more enjoyable.