An Intern's Guide to Surviving a DMC Summer

An Intern's Guide to Surviving a DMC Summer

Three months ago, I got a call while walking home from class in the last few weeks of the Spring semester. Immediately upon seeing the Chicago area code, I knew that this was the moment I had been waiting for—the decision from DMC for a marketing internship that coming summer!

I was so excited to hear Jessica, my new boss, on the other end of the line congratulating me for getting the job. I called my parents to tell them the good news, "I’m moving to Chicago! I got the position that I wanted!" and they immediately asked the question that I would get a lot over the course of the summer, “So…what’s DMC…?”

At the time, I didn’t know. I knew what the website had told me—that DMC is an “engineering consulting company” and that they have a ping pong table in the kitchen. But, beyond that, I had no clue what was in store for my whirlwind summer in the Windy City.

Cut to a few months later, as I’m packing up my apartment and getting ready to head back to school, I feel that I’ve collected a few tips for future newbies embarking upon the wild safari of a DMC Summer.

1. Prepare for a BFD (Best First Day)

For most of my friends' internships, they met their bosses while wearing professional work clothes in an office. I met my boss wearing yoga pants in a goat pen. The morning before I was due to start, I was invited to join the rest of the internal operations team in a lovely session of goat yoga. It was a bit unconventional, but the early bit of bonding definitely gave me an advantage when I showed up at the office the next day!

Goat yoga with DMC internal operations

Goat Yoga with the Internal Operations Team

I smiled at several people with recognition when I walked in the door (though rather than picking up goats, they were petting the tail-wagging office dogs) and was quickly shown to the kitchen and toured around the quads, eventually landing at an empty desk all ready and configured for me.

The day consisted of a lot of meetings—mostly teaching me and the other new hires how to navigate the logistics of a tech company. I learned to answer phones, to use the employee portal, and where to go with every type of problem I might have. There was hardly more than half an hour that I was left alone for the whole day—always being led on tours and shadowing someone to learn a new process.

In the afternoon, when all of us new hires passed by some management offices—looking like a row of little ducklings following the leader—we stopped into a door on the corner to meet our CEO.

Frank, getting up from his desk and walking over to the door, was immediately ready for our fresh faces. He shook all of our hands and asked us, as we entered the room, “So, how’s your BFD?” We were all confused and no one answered, but he seemed delighted to get to explain this to us: “BFD. Best First Day! Are you having your best first day at a job, today?”

I laughed and our line continued down the hall, but I thought about what he asked for a while. Everyone I met was genuinely friendly, I never felt lost at any point, I laughed and joked and met more people than on my first day of school, and to top it off, there was definitely no shortage of coffee.

So yes, I experienced a BFD at DMC—and I get the feeling that anyone would.

2. Go with it: Surviving the Activity Fund

Inside of the first week of work, I heard story upon story of wonderful activity fund events and fun happy hours that my coworkers had participated in at DMC. Not a little jealous, and eager for my first opportunity to join in the fun, I didn’t have to wait long for an exciting email to pop up on my screen. There was going to be a sunset cruise on Lake Michigan the following week, serving as a welcome party for a few new hires who had started before me.

I immediately rsvp’d and saved the date on my calendar—but as the outing approached, my nervousness grew. What if I didn’t like it? What if there were too many people and I couldn’t find anything to talk about? What if these people, who seemed cool in the office, were weird and unfriendly outside?

I drove to the docks myself, getting a bit lost and flustered in Chicago traffic on the way, and walked up to the crowd of street-clothed DMCers. They welcomed me with excitement and soon after we boarded the boat.

Group pic at Wendela docs before welcome party

Group Picture at Jamie and Zuffi’s Sunset Cruise Welcome Party

What’s the key to a great time at DMC—you just have to go with it! By the time that everyone boarded the boat and the dock began to shrink on the horizon, I had already started conversations with new coworkers I hadn’t yet met and laughed at jokes from former strangers. Being nervous and wanting to impress at an activity fund event is natural, but at DMC, the fun really kicks up as soon as you let your guard down and jump in.

The next thing I knew, it was time to plan my own welcome party. I found myself more excited than ever and brimming with ideas for bonding with the new faces around me! I ended up sharing my welcome party with two other new employees (Justine and Oliver). We took the company to Second City Comedy Club—a Chicago staple that I had always wanted to see—and had a blast with an open tab and world-class show (I even took home a souvenir glass).

Welcome party at Second City

My Welcome Party at Second City Comedy Club

3. Customer Service 101: Make It Happen

As a rapidly growing company (DMC opened two new offices since I started!), the employees at DMC are constantly busy with multiple projects. From the first training session that I attended, I was warned of the dangers of becoming overwhelmed or falling into under-organization. So, as an intern, tackling a lot of small projects in a short amount of time, I took in every piece of advice thrown my way and tried hard to never have to ask for help on the same task twice.

This, however, was a bad idea.

At DMC, one of our core values—and our response to customer requests—is to make things happen. Starting out as an intern, still in school and learning everyday, it was tough to launch into a company full of brilliant people and important problems and feel like I had to “make things happen” right away.

The value of collaboration at DMC is at the top of our list of core values too—this just took me longer to understand. When a customer needs a job done, or the marketing team (in my case) wants me to do a task right the first time, the only way to make it happen is to ask for help, understand what I need to do, and, only then, make it happen.

Customer service 101, as we say, is as simple and getting the job done right.

Employee bio photo

My Employee Bio Photo Prop: A Foam Sword that I Keep on Hand…
Just in Case I Need to Make Things Happen

4. So…What’s DMC…?

When first starting at DMC, my biggest worry was that I would fail in my job on the marketing team simply for a lack of understanding what exactly it was that I was supposed to sell to the world. How could I market a company without even knowing what it really was?

Now, I’ve written case studies, interviewed engineers, studied our website content, and helped edit the copy that DMC presents to the world. With all of this, I still can’t exactly tell you what a PLC is. However, I know that I somehow scored a summer job at one of the best companies I could have hoped to.

DMC is a software consulting company that operates in its industry with amazing business philosophies, the friendliest internal team, and the smartest engineers around. Whether programming a factory automation system, designing a custom user interface, or consulting on the best method for upgrading a legacy PLC platform, DMC is the go-to company to top every call list.

With that, the best way to survive a DMC summer is to take every new experience—and every one-of-a-kind encounter—and learn. There is no better company to teach a college student about professionalism, and no more welcoming place to feel at home.

Group picture on DMC boat outing

A Big, Happy Family Enjoying Frank’s Boat


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