From Northern California to Arizona, our interns travel from all over the country to call San Diego home and MK Decision family. With only a few weeks left of summer sun, we want to take a look back at our 2019 summer interns. For weeks, they have met projects and meetings with can-do attitudes. Now, it’s time to hear directly from them about their experiences so far.
Group photo from left to right : Austin Strobel, Dianna Dunne-Vecchio, Anthony Villanueva, Gladis Gomez, and Arzang Kasiri / Photos by Gustavo Romero
Anthony attended the University of Houston and Cypress College. While at school, he switched his major from Sports Administration to Computer Science. He is currently living in Irvine, California and is an engineering intern at MK Decision. When he’s not at work, he enjoys watching sports and playing video games.
What inspired you to apply to the Time for Experience (TFE) program?
What sold me on the TFE program was the opportunity to increase my knowledge of technology. At MK Decision, I've expanded my technical range and gained an awareness about the FinTech industry that I wouldn't have obtained working at other tech start-ups.
Has anything surprised you while working at MK Decision?
What surprised me was the complexity of the database. I wouldn’t expect someone to understand it right away, I certainly did not. It takes time and practice to get familiarized with the system. Also, the culture at MK Decision caught my attention because it is one where everyone encourages each other to grow.
What advice do you have for potential MK Decision interns?
My biggest piece of advice would be to leave your opinions and prior experiences at the door. You want to come to MK Decision with an open mind and ready to learn new concepts.
Dianna is from the Bay Area in California. She graduated from UC Davis in 2018 with a B.A. in Communication. She is currently a copywriting intern on the marketing team. In her spare time, she loves being outdoors with her friends, going to the movies, and eating at new restaurants.
What attracted you to MK Decision?
MK Decision emphasizes the importance of marketing. Many start-ups and small financial institutions don't realize the value of marketing their products and business as a whole. Because MK Decision is a young company, I was excited for the opportunity to grow and join a collaborative team where my ideas would truly be valued.
What’s your favorite moment so far?
Being assigned to write the copy for the website's product pages was intimidating, but it was an incredibly exciting moment. Working behind the scenes of design and marketing is thrilling because I can see the work my team has done come to life.
Is the TFE program different from previous internships you’ve had?
Compared to my past internships, MK Decision has provided me with the strongest sense of agency. My opinions are highly respected and sought-after. I'm able to carve my own path rather than be heavily managed.
Arzang is from Pasadena, California. He graduated from UC Irvine in 2017 with a B.S. in Computer Science. He is currently a software engineering intern. During his free time he likes to play video games and hang out with friends.
What skills do you think a TFE should have?
A TFE should be curious and determined. There are always new challenges to overcome and those two skills will really help you succeed at MK Decision.
What are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on building an open source integration that syncs our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Pipedrive into our Moqui database.
What was your first day like?
Exciting! However, I was very nervous. It was my first time working at a tech office, so I was just soaking in the culture, work environment, and as much information as I could.
Gladis is from San Diego, California. She graduated from UC Riverside in 2019 with a B.A. in Creative Writing. She is currently a content writing intern on the marketing team. When she’s not at work, she likes to go to the movies, read, and write.
What was the interview process like?
First, I had a phone call with Har Rai Khalsa, the CEO of MK Decision. We discussed my skills, what MK Decision does, and the TFE program. I was then invited to an in-person interview at MK Decision’s HQ in Downtown San Diego. I met with James Bowles, the creative lead at MK Decision, and he asked a couple of questions in regards to my portfolio and resume. The last interview consisted of a short writing test and an in-person conversation with both Har Rai and James.
How was your first day at MK Decision?
I was really nervous. I had been out of school for about a month and I never envisioned myself working in FinTech. My first day was filled with research and note-taking because I had an enormous learning curve to conquer. Everyone at MK Decision was incredibly welcoming and each person I talked to emphasized the fact that we’re a team.
What are you most excited to work on?
Blog posts and social media! I love writing about people because there’s so much more to a person than meets the eye. On top of that, making information easily accessible is incredibly important to me because there are many people out there that want to learn about financial technology but might not know where to start.
Austin is from Flagstaff, Arizona. He graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2016 with a B.A. in Spanish. He is currently a software engineering intern. During his time off, Austin likes to try new restaurants, hike, play video games, and explore the great beaches San Diego has to offer.
Why did you want to intern at MK Decision?
Breaking into the FinTech industry is not easy when your degree is not accepted by tech companies because it has nothing to do with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). As someone who switched their career path, MK Decision's TFE program was the perfect way to get my foot in the door.
What skills do you want to gain from this program?
I would like to learn about the latest technology being used in the FinTech industry. Ultimately, I want to gain an understanding of how business and technology work together to create great products.
So far, is there anything that you are most proud of?
I am most proud of the amount of information that I have learned during my time at MK Decision. It is such a great feeling to finally understand a concept after spending hours researching.
The Time for Experience (TFE) Program
The TFE program, which can last anywhere from 1 to 3 months, aims to help interns get their big break in the FinTech industry. We accept software engineers, product designers, project managers, content writers, and digital marketers.
By allowing interns to work independently and collaborate with experienced staff, we make sure they get the opportunity to demonstrate their talent. We believe that we can learn from our interns as much as they can learn from us.
MK Decision’s Partnership with LEARN Academy and TechHire San Diego
Our TFE program is constantly growing due to the partnership we have with LEARN Academy and TechHire San Diego. Our goal is to give people looking for a career in technology the opportunity to gain real-world experience.
LEARN Academy offers a 4-month bootcamp to teach people of all backgrounds the necessary skills to become software engineers. The program guarantees a 1-month internship at local tech companies, like MK Decision.
TechHire is a branch of the San Diego Workforce Partnership that is focused on pairing applicants with an internship in the tech industry. TechHire has partnered with MK Decision to subsidize 150 hour internship programs with the goal of building the San Diego technology scene. MK Decision is honored that the city of San Diego is investing in our business while helping people from all walks of life get their first opportunity in FinTech.
We want you to be part of our team!
At MK Decision we firmly believe in winning together, which is why we make sure to invest plenty of time in those who are eager to jump-start their career with us.
In addition to gaining real-world experience, we offer a variety of benefits to our TFEs, such as parking reimbursement, free food, endless coffee, and the opportunity to work in an office that is located in the heart of San Diego.
If you would like to know more about what internships we have available click here.