How someone studying economics at a big state school got a marketing internship at a Forbes 50 tech company

I only kind of know python and R. I built my PC with only a little help. I used to know what a processor does. It should now go without saying that I did not get a technical internship. My internship was based around esports. I ended up working on two different teams at Intel, the developer relations division, and the VR gaming and esports division, or “VRGE”. I loved my internship and really felt like I was contributing. No one told me what to do. The first time I met with my manager as an employee of the company, I asked what I would be doing over the summer, he responded “anything and everything”. It was up to me to decide what was worth doing. I had a pretty comfy internship, it paid well, I had no one telling me what to do, and I had Intel funds to essentially do with as I please. But how did I get there?

It all started when I asked my school’s League of Legends club president if I could run a competitive team through the club. To learn more about that experience, read my last blog post. I should say early on that my dad works at Intel but is in no way associated with any sort of gaming groups. My dad happened to be in a conversation with the head of the developer relations division and mentioned that I was involved with esports at my school. This piqued the VP’s interest. Unbeknownst to my dad, this VP was interested in learning more about esports and was looking at ways his division can get involved. Intel has a rich history in esports with IEM being the biggest esports tournament every year. This VP then brought up the idea of an internship with my dad.

It was probably early March, I was standing outside McKenzie Hall, at the University of Oregon on the steps down to Kincaid St. when my dad called. I picked up the phone and he asked, “Do you want an internship at Intel?” “Uhh…yeah”, “well you’re going to have to earn it.” I knew from that moment that I was going to be working at Intel that summer.

This is the idea that my dad’s boss’s boss’s boss had for me: I am to come in for an hour meeting with him and a few other relevant people and present to him everything I knew about collegiate esports and why Intel should care about it. If I impress him, he’ll make me an internship.

For the next 3 months, I was balancing my regular homework with this giant research project. Since I’ve graduated, I can now say that this presentation required more work than any economics report I’ve done. Granted, an economics report for an undergrad typically uses data that’s publicly available. This esports project required a ton of networking and insights from industry insiders on top of data that was so niche it was usually behind a pay wall or just not widely available.

I can’t talk about exactly what was in this presentation as it basically was pitching new ways for Intel to invest their money. Building this presentation, I learned and utilized the “bronze, silver, gold” method of outlining investments. Bronze being the low cost/low return to invest in something, silver being the middle cost, and gold being the all-out investment. One thing that worried me during the process was the VP who I was presenting to occasionally reached behind him and put a check mark on the white board. He never told me what he was doing, I thought he was marking something like the amount of times I said “um” or made other speaking errors, there were about 6 marks by the end. Turns out, he was marking the number of insights or new pieces of information he hadn’t known before. My presentation was a hit. By the end, department/team heads in the room and on the phone were all jokingly fighting about who I would be working for. It was a good feeling after a sweat inducing, mouth drying presentation. I guess I was a little nervous.

When I applied for the job, it seemed more like a technicality as the online job posting was created a few weeks after my presentation and had job requirements that was almost copy and pasted from my resume. They did ask for my grades which at the time were pretty much exactly average. I didn’t really have a formal interview, my soon to be manager called me one day and pretty much just asked me to describe in more detail my past work experience so he can then describe it to, who I assume, was his boss asking who he’s planning to hire for the summer. My job interview was the presentation

The point to this post isn’t to brag about what I did last summer, it’s to iterate the point that in today’s day and age, jobs don’t just come from applying to everything you see. A successful job search requires more networking than it does skimming through Indeed. I can’t talk from personal experience, but I know at the higher levels of jobs in most industries, think senior roles or VP roles, a company will never higher someone that no one knows, no matter how impressive the resume. Being a successful networker isn’t just helpful, it’s necessary, especially in niche industries like esports.


Published by Patrick McCarthy

An esports professional wanting to share my thoughts on this exciting space.

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