My Role at Capital One:
For my 300 hour experience, I interned at Capital One near Washington DC. My role was as a product manager (PM) in the digital technology department. This was the first year that Capital One had PM internship positions, and I was grateful to be selected as one of only three PM interns.
My role was to support a digital platform team in charge of the front-end user experience on the primary Capital One mobile app. The project that I worked on was a proposal for some pretty revolutionary new stuff on the mobile app. Unfortunately, the nature of the work also means that it’s not something I should write about on a publicly posted webpage. (If you want to ask me in person, I might be able to talk a bit more on the DL, shhhh!)
It was challenging, but also super exciting. When I first started the internship, I had no idea what it meant to be a PM, or what kind of work the mobile platform team did. The learning curve was super steep, but not something that I was afraid to tackle. My ten week program approximately broke down like this:
Week 1: Onboarding Week 2: Where am I? Who is that? Week 3: What's he talking about? How do I do that? Week 4: Just keep writing notes and meeting people Week 5: Joined a team! Week 6-7: Learning how to be a PM Week 8-10: I get it! I understand! Okay, here's what we should do next....
Even as a PM intern, I was responsible for managing an engineering team full of senior level developers. The project they were working on was a 6 month effort, with an estimated cost of $250,000, and I was in charge of organizing meetings, planning workflow, driving outcomes, helping to overcome roadblocks, and presenting/defending my team’s project to company executives. The project was highly visible throughout the company, with lots of interest from the different Lines of Business (ie bank, credit card, etc). The project was high leverage, with the potential to save the company millions of dollars in opportunity cost. The project was highly relevant, as the technology being explored is applicable to software applications in almost all major technology companies.
I first applied to the Capital One Product Management Program because I believed it really aligned with my goals. My education in engineering is my technical background, which was useful for understanding the high level technical details. My extracurricular activities in design is my background on human-centered design, which Capital One deeply believes drives business value. And my participation in the I&E program is my exposure to business and innovation. Product managers intersect technology, design, and business. Product managers are like CEOs for their own projects. It wound up being the perfect position for me to explore my interests and apply them professionally.
Just for fun pictures!
- Financial services is often a monotonous industry, without much innovation or rapid growth. But I’ve found Capital One to be a bank that adapts and grows quickly. They embrace change. From credit cards, to banking, to utilizing data, to digital experiences, and even to AI machine learning!
- One of my biggest takeaways from this experience was how to learn. My one regret for the summer was not overcoming the learning curve until late into the internship. The position of product manager, and the territory of mobile software development was new to me. In the future, I want to be able to proactively learn and contribute to new roles. Dive right in, tackle more projects, ask questions and take a LOT of notes
- As I reflect on the summer, I think about all the things I’ve learned and the people I’ve met. Professionally, I’ve learned how to tackle projects and manage teams. I’ve also gained experience that I will need to consider for future roles, whether that be working full-time, going to continue my education, or even starting my own endeavor. Personally, I truly enjoyed Capital One as a place to work, a place to learn, and a place to grow. All my coworkers and co-interns are incredibly talented, brilliant, and friendly; I’m glad I got to make so many new friends this summer and I look forward to seeing everyone again!
As an artifact for my summer experience, I have included my final slide deck that I presented to several managers and department vice presidents. I apologize, as I have redacted much of the project-specific content due to confidentiality concerns. However, I have included many personal learnings about my experience as a first-time product manager, and I hope you find it interesting to follow along my summer story.