By Paige Smoley
Wow. What a summer! I am an upcoming third-year student at the University of Wisconsin – Madison studying Marketing, International Business, and Spanish. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Xross Connect for the past three months and I have learned so much.
INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS & SPANISH
This has been my first experience in an international environment. Overall, working with a team in a different continent was relatively easy. I met with my team from Spain and our international clients 2-3 times per week. These meetings were in the morning for me, but late afternoon for the residents in Seville. In these meetings, we spoke English most of the time. Occasionally, a word or conversation would slip into Spanish. My Spanish in Business class helped me follow along when this happened because I had learned some of the vocabulary last spring.
When I was first offered this position, it was intended that I live in Seville. I do think that if I had lived in Spain and worked in person I would have gotten more out of this experience, both in terms of culture and the industry. Unfortunately, the circumstances were not right for me to move there this summer, but if that’s where my career takes me in the future I am definitely more open to it now.
MARKETING & CONSULTING
The two clients that I primarily work with are Shinto and Ceeblue. For each company, I had the weekly opportunity to sit in with the clients and learn how the consulting industry works first hand. These meetings gave me a huge insight into the field. When working with Shinto, I did a lot of market research and outreach. This was a new task for me, but I caught on quickly. It was satisfying and exciting to see my personal work make a difference for the company. For Ceeblue, I worked with the social team to brainstorm new posts each week to promote the company on LinkedIn. I also played a supportive role when Ceeblue was represented at conferences. Beyond our clients, I got to work on Xross Connect’s own brand too. I’ve been helping design the website, update our slide deck, and write blogs.
While I found many things that I enjoy doing throughout this internship, confirming I’ve picked the right majors to study, I also found some aspects that I don’t want to be doing in the future. Start-ups and small firms were always intriguing to me. I really like how my voice and effort makes an impact within a smaller company. I also like the “underdog” environment of a start-up, but I want to try working for a bigger firm. I like the structure and stability that comes with them, and I also want to see what a more traditional corporate job entails.
Xross Connect is a genuinely amazing company. I’ve personally seen their tireless work ethic even when faced with COVID, distance, and any other setbacks. I’m incredibly grateful that I’ve gotten to experience international business, Spanish, marketing, and consulting first hand as I continue to further my education. Beyond the book learning, I’ve also gotten to know the people representing the Xross Connect name. Despite only being with them for 3 months, they fully welcomed me into their team. They, especially my marketing mentor Blanca Jaraquemada, taught me about life and culture in Spain. I hope to meet Blanca, Josh, and Lawton in person upon traveling to Seville in the fall. This summer internship with Xross Connect was one that I will not soon forget and I hope that any reader gets to experience it somehow or another.