A Taste of “Bitter and Sweet” Dark Chocolate
—Reflections on my internship by Jia Yao
With the help of Mary Sakin, the SCB Director of Applied Business Learning, I found my first U.S. internship with Spudder.com. As a web-oriented business, Spudder depends heavily on business tools like Mavenlink and Google Apps to manage work flow. From the moment I started to work with Spudder, I am reminded of the taste of dark chocolate – it is both sweet and bitter.
The sweetness lies in how user-friendly our virtual workspace is. Mavenlink is a platform technology that integrates with Google Apps and both are useful for virtual work environments. Mavenlink offers time tracking, file sharing, task management and project organizing tools. Jobs and tasks are more project-oriented compared to the traditional work environment where some routines reduce efficiency. In addition, the user interface is straightforward. Team members can post a message on the workspace just like they would do on their Facebook wall. This allows more interactions among the team, thus team members could have a big picture of the project and understand how each task is closely related to each other.
As the work is cloud-based, Spudder has no physical workspace and students have to communicate virtually. Mavenlink makes this happen. It integrates with Google Apps, including Google Docs, Google Presentation, Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Spreadsheet. This allows users to post information directly to the workspace through email. These features enable team members to pay close attention to the dynamics of the project and respond in a timely manner. The benefit, for me, is that I could work from anywhere with a flexible schedule which is highly efficient and avoids time conflicts between school and work. Moreover, I could have more involvement and contribution to the work rather than merely fill out the paperwork, or make coffee. This helps me to retain enthusiasm and passion for the work.
The bitterness is the challenge of the work. I found that I need to put in more effort than if I were in a traditional work environment because I have to learn everything and solve the issues on my own. I was a bit overwhelmed by Mavenlink and Google hangout in the beginning. But after I watched the tutorial video patiently and practiced a little, I found the system easy to learn and operate. So this sweet and bitter experience is at the heart of every experience - it is a process of learning from others, but also provides an opportunity to re-evaluate and improve my learning and capabilities.
For more information please visit http://info.spudder.com