Broadening Your Horizons with Symantec

Athena Wang and Charmaine Tan share how their internships at Symantec have illuminated their future career paths.

By Becky Lo

Having the knowledge of accountancy, Athena Wang had a plan in mind when she applied for a summer internship at Symantec in April last year. Instead of heading for the big four accounting firms in Singapore, she decide to choose an MNC to learn how her course of studies can be relevant outside of a professional accountancy firm.

The internship Symantec offered in its internal audit department was hence a perfect fit for her. With 28 years of history in the IT security arena, Symantec is one of the most renowned companies that provide software and technological services to both corporations and consumers.

Exploring new frontiers

Its established reputation, as well as the enticing job scope, was what sealed Athena’s decision to take up a 15-week internship with the organisation. “I believe the internship gives me an advantage over my peers because they may not know much about the characteristics of internal audits and the skills you need to possess to do it,” she explains.

The internal audit department is responsible for evaluating operation and business processes of the company to minimise costs and improve the overall efficiency.

“In accounting, there are many specialisations like financial reporting, accounting, tax and audit. I’ve never heard of internal audit (until the internship), so it’s quite new in a sense,” Athena admits. “But now, I’ve learnt the skills required in the processes of an internal audit.”

Unfazed by the challenges that she would face in tackling an unfamiliar area of expertise, Athena embarked on a fulfilling learning journey at Symantec. She feels that she had gained much from her internship through learning the importance of the analytical, people management and multi-tasking skills that she possess.

“I see how the skills are applied to the real world,” the 22-year-old recalls. “Helping out in all the audit reviews allows me to learn very interesting things that I will never experience elsewhere. They have influenced the way I look at audit and how I handle the process.”

More importantly, Athena’s experience at Symantec had enlightened her on the career path she wants to take upon completing her studies. She even took up another internal audit internship after her Symantec stint to gain more exposure. “I’m definitely trying to work in this area,” she affirms.

Structured internship programme

Like Athena, Charmaine Tan knew what she wanted when she was looking for an internship earlier this year. Her previous exposure to sales had ignited her interest in marketing and she wanted to gain more experience in the field. But what drew Charmaine to the Symantec internship was the effort and resources that Symantec put in during its recruitment talk on campus earlier this year.
“Compared to other companies, the internship programme (at Symantec) is very comprehensive and I feel that they really value interns,” Charmaine explains. “They told us what to expect when we come into the company and at the end of it, what we can get out of it.”

Though Charmaine’s stint at the company in May this year was a temporary one that lasted for only 10 weeks, she was treated like part of the family. After an interactive online orientation with all the new employees from Symantec’s offices in the Asia Pacific region, she was put on month-long job rotation in different functions in the marketing operations sector.

“With my colleagues and my supervisor who are very supportive and always open to feedback, I feel that I’m not limited to anything,” the 22-year-old reminisces. “The whole culture and environment is very friendly here.”

Freedom to explore and excel

Having been assigned to the Enterprise Marketing unit, Charmaine was then entrusted with the task of devising a communications system for internal stakeholders. It was to facilitate communications across hierarchies and business units around the world. Despite being a junior staff in the team of nine, Charmaine was put in charge of this project, with her colleagues mentoring her.

“At Symantec, they trust that you have the capability to do it and they will let you try, as long as you are willing to. As long as you ask, they don’t mind teaching you,” Charmaine enthuses. It was through this wide array of learning opportunities that Charmaine learned more about marketing.

“Contrary to what people think, marketing is not all about fluff or ideas and creativity. This side of marketing operations that I’m exposed to (Enterprise Marketing) is very much about numbers, statistics and data processing as well,” Charmaine explains. “It’s like the brains of marketing. We give the valuable information to the sales and campaigns teams for them to better perform their different functions.”

Sharing her experience with future interns and employees of Symantec, Charmaine says, “You will need an inquisitive mind and a never-say-die attitude. It’s about being pro-active and open to opinions and feedback. From there, we can grow. It’s not about technical skills because we can pick those up on the job along the way. It’s about the mentality that you have.”

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