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This summer I got to be a part of the inaugural class of Associate Product Manager (APM) interns at Salesforce. The APM internship is part of the 12-week Futureforce internship program where engineering students work hands-on with Salesforce product teams to drive innovation.

 

Bret Taylor, Salesforce’s Chief Product Officer, was the catalyst for the creation of the APM Program, drawing from his own experience as one of the first APM’s at Google.

 

I was searching for product management opportunities when I came across the APM internship on Stanford’s job board. It seemed like a perfect fit, so I applied immediately. During the interview process I was blown away by how talented and enthusiastic everyone was,  especially when they ran through product exercises with us. Then, at the dinner that followed, I got to have a fascinating conversation with Salman Malik, Salesforce Product COO, about everything from our favorite books to company culture.

 

Needless to say, I left my interview excited about how much I could learn from the team  and thoroughly impressed by how invested Salesforce leaders were in the APM program. That’s what ultimately helped me make the decision to spend my summer as an APM intern.

 

This year’s cohort had 12 students working across different product teams in San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Cambridge. Over the  past three months, I got to build the most innovative products with the brightest people in tech. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Here are just a few reasons why I found this experience to be so rewarding.

 

The value of community

 

One of the most valuable aspects of the APM internship is the community created among the  other APM interns. We spent a lot of time together — both in and outside of work — especially on  “APM Thursdays” when we’d all work together in a big conference room all day long. Navigating the world of product management can be challenging;  having fellow APM interns by my side through the ups and the downs made it unforgettable. We’d coach each other through presentations, debate our favorite tech products, go to happy hours, and explore San Francisco together. I’ll no doubt carry this network of friend and colleagues with me for the rest of my career.

And since all of us interns worked across various product teams, we were taught the value of cross-team collaboration. For example, I was tasked with building an integration of Einstein Discovery and Einstein Bots. I spent days trying to set up the bot. Fortunately, a fellow APM intern was on the Einstein Bots team and was able to  connect me with his mentor, so we could collaborate and work towards a solution quickly . This is one of the biggest benefits of being a part of the APM program; we got to learn hands-on the importance — and efficiency — of working collaboratively across product areas.

 

Exposure to leadership

 

The APM internship offers tons of opportunities to interact with leaders across the company. For example,APM Thursdays included a speaker series where leaders like Mike Rosenbaum (EVP of Product), Hernan Asorey (Chief Data Officer), and Justin Maguire (SVP of Product Design and UX) would come and share their insights with us. These talks were extremely helpful in that they gave  me a high-level view of what was going on at the company and also helped inform my day-to-day by giving me useful tips on how product managers can best work across functions.

 

My favorite talk was with Jennifer Sacks (Senior Director of Customer Insights). She discussed getting user feedback at scale through IdeaExchange, underscoring the importance of transparency in product roadmaps as a means of delivering on customer expectations.  It really helped me think through the challenge of balancing the fine line of responding to customer feedback and driving product innovation.

 

Work that makes an impact

 

APM interns are given ownership over projects that make a real impact. In fact, many of the projects we worked on over the summer were demoed at Dreamforce and will soon be shipped into production.

 

I was fortunate to be a part of  the Einstein Discovery team. I was tasked with  creating an AI-based recommendation engine that could predict the next best action for sales and service use cases. By ramping up quickly and working cross-functionally across product management, sales, and solutions engineering, I was able to create a proof-of-concept within the first six weeks of my internship. Then, it was demoed to the CIO of a major telecom customer and included in the Analytics Cloud keynote at Dreamforce. It’s really meaningful to know that the projects I worked on will have a lasting impact on my team.

 

Product management experience

 

The best part of Salesforce’s APM internship program is that it’s designed  to help the interns succeed. You get access to a community of peers, leaders across Salesforce, and an amazing product team — with both a manager and a mentor to guide the way. My experience was nothing short of transformative. It left  me energized by the people I met and confident in my passion for product management. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in product management, applying to the Salesforce APM internship will be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

 

Interested in interning at Salesforce? View our available roles here.