The Life of a Finance Intern in Ad Tech
This post is part of our Summer Intern Blog Series! Each of our most recent class of interns wrote a blog post on their biggest accomplishments and lessons of the summer. This installment comes from Kelly, a senior at Lehigh University majoring in Finance with a focus in Accounting. There, she is a member of the Women’s Lacrosse team. While she’s not playing lacrosse or studying, you can find her outside at the beach, hiking, or finding new ways to stay active.
I’ll be the first to admit that the internship search was a long and grueling process. There were months filled with stress, anxiety, and curiosity about where I would spend ten weeks of my summer. Accepting my offer from AppNexus lifted an immense weight off my shoulders, and I couldn’t have been more excited. But as my start date neared, the excitement began to compete with nervous anxiety. After all, I was going to be a Finance intern at an ad tech company; it was unfamiliar territory, and I wasn’t sure how it would play out.
Walking into the office on my first day, I had no idea what to expect. I was both nervous and excited, a feeling that hopefully would be mutual amongst my fellow interns. As I made my way to the basketball court, walking through the office with a few others, my nerves began to settle as I struck up conversation with a few of my new colleagues.
Learn as you go
It was time to attend AppNexus University, where we would spend our first week going through onboarding – a process I became more and more grateful for as the ten weeks ticked by. But that first day, as we went around the room sharing what team we’d be working with, the nerves returned. I slowly realized that I would be the lone Finance intern, the only one of my class to work on the mysterious 6th floor.
Yet again, my nerves subsided as we continued to learn about the industry, our company, and the many moving parts of AppNexus. One session that really resonated with me was titled “Our Money Machine.” As I sat in a revenue meeting with my team, I was hearing terms such as buyer auction service charge (BASC), seller auction service charge (SASC), and ad-serving fee. I could recall these terms and connect them to what I was hearing, making it easier to follow along. Making these connections helped me realize how carefully the onboarding process incorporated all elements of the company so tht the information presented would be useful for every team.
After the first week, I learned that my project would be discovering how an updated lease accounting guidance, when implemented in about a year, would affect our financial statements. This topic was unfamiliar but I was excited to dive in. The beginning entailed a lot of reading and interpreting to understand the necessary terms of the guidance and lease accounting in general. After I started to learn more, I used my newfound knowledge to determine our lease population and calculated the financial impact this would have. I’d never had the experience of working on a single project for months at a time, nor had I ever gotten the chance to apply my studies in school in a professional environment. My project verified that my work was important for my team’s success, the department’s success, and ultimately, the company’s success.
A one of a kind intern
My project was completely different than what the other interns were working on. However, during every lunch break, intern event, or even when I passed them by in the halls, my fellow interns were curious about how my project was developing – I was pleasantly surprised at how interested they were despite how dissimilar it was to their own work. These conversations helped me build relationships with the entire intern class over the course of the ten weeks we had together. Even though I was not surrounded by the other interns daily, my peers were eager to hear about how AppNexus’ Finance department worked. People were even excited to ride the elevator up to visit me at my desk!
With internships, it can be easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond; however, AppNexus proved me wrong. I got to be the only finance fish in a pond of engineers. But nonetheless, when the ten weeks were up, I saw that I really belonged here.
Working with my manager, the Accounting team, and the entire Finance department provided many opportunities to learn the ins and outs of AppNexus Finance – a place that at first seemed large and intimidating but turned out to be quite homey. Thanks to my fellow AppNexians whom I was lucky to meet, the University Recruiters, my team and my manager, it turns out that a Finance intern in an ad tech firm fits in just swimmingly.