I spent my summer at Chegg in Santa Clara, CA as a Marketing Intern. I had a fantastic experience in this late-growth startup with a big vision for the future. Chegg is best known for their textbook rental service, but other products include academic digital services and scholarship matching. There were 21 interns in the two California offices, most of them were located at the Santa Clara office with me. We were incredibly lucky to have a strong internship program with a speaker series of the executive staff, and after-work bonding activities. As a college student and therefore a typical Chegg user, the interns had the unique position of the upper hand when it came to questions like “What does our audience really want? Would they like this sort of campaign?” I was able to work on a number of projects throughout the summer, both on my own and with the five other marketing interns.
Throughout the summer I was enlisted to help create and refine different social campaigns for Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Chegg has an amazing social media team who I learned a lot from. By the end of the summer my role had shifted from purely marketing to a cross between marketing and design. I worked on ads, infographics, web skins, backgrounds, and other odd jobs in design. I honed my Illustrator and Fireworks skills throughout the design process. As a group, the interns were asked to present a new brand perspective to the marketing team, what we thought could make Chegg bolder. Together as a team we came up with on-campus programs, new social angles and campaigns, and also new swag. It was awesome to see the team respond so positively to our work. After the presentation, another intern and I worked together on one of the social campaigns in order to launch it for back-to-school. It was very successful and resulted in hundreds of photo entries to a contest called #cheggmeout where Chegg customers could win a gift card in the amount of their Chegg savings. Each project felt like a genuine contribution to the marketing team and the company as a whole.
The biggest lessons I learned:
1. Company culture is hugely important in pursuing employment. Luckily Chegg is an awesome place to work, but it helped me understand how truly valuable culture can be. It facilitates communication (my next point), a positive work atmosphere, and happy, driven employees.
2. Communication is key. The CEO drilled this into my head regularly, and I thank him for it. I already believed in open and regular communication, but the important element to remember is that you can’t assume a colleague already knows what’s going on. Over-communication is never a bad thing. This surfaced on a company-wide scale through monthly All Hands meetings, weekly media monitoring, and regular interdepartmental meetings. Within departments, morning stand-ups and DLs played a key role in keeping everyone up-to-date.
3. Lastly, interdepartmental work is huge. One of the product management interns and I talked frequently about our projects. Even through casual, short conversations we could give each other input and new ideas. This insight is invaluable when you’ve got your head down and you’re moving at full speed.
I was fortunate enough to get this internship because I participated in a J-term program called the Fullbridge Program. It was a business bootcamp in which we were taught all about the language of business. I learned a tremendous amount, which I was then able to apply to my work at Chegg. Fullbridge paired me with the company as part of the program agreement. I later discovered that the CEO of Chegg is a Colgate parent, Dan Rosensweig. I had the opportunity to speak with Dan regularly, which was one of the greatest parts of the company experience in general. All of management was so incredibly accessible and easy to talk to and learn from.
I am actually continuing on with Chegg part-time this fall, working remotely from school and only doing 10 hours a week. It’s going well so far but I miss being in the office!