This summer, we held a marketing contest where four of our student-interns won a free trip to visit Course Hero headquarters, Silicon Valley, and the great city of San Francisco! We asked these students to share how their trip—and their internship as a whole—has impacted them.
First we’ll hear from Augusto Ramirez, rock-star intern (and soon-to-be Student Manager) from John’s Hopkins University. He has done a fantastic job building brand awareness for Course Hero throughout one of the toughest times of the year—summer. So far, his team has completed 65 course packs and helped donate 151 books to Gambia through Books for Africa.
Course Hero: How do you think participating in this internship (and your trip out here) has impacted your life?
Augusto Ramirez: Course Hero has taught me an invaluable lesson during the time I’ve spent as an intern: Pursue a passion, not a career – follow your heart and all else will follow. I’m pretty certain that no one at the office explicitly mentioned these words to me – but, yet again, no one had to. When I visited Course Hero headquarters, there was an omnipresent aura linking everyone to the same goal. Everyone wanted to provide educational resources to the world, everyone wanted to help, and everyone was doing it happily. I was pleasantly surprised by the positive attitude and it reminded me of why I joined Course Hero in the first place.
As I became familiar with Knowledge Drive initiative and Course Hero’s vision, before even starting my internship, I felt a deep connection to the cause. It clicked… I became a part of it because I felt strongly about helping. Every week, interning didn’t feel like interning – it came naturally. I realized that everything I did, including the marketing plan that led me to the West Coast for the first time, was completed willingly; and that’s what led to my success. During my trip, I got to meet all the wonderful people at Course Hero and they all shared this quality. It seemed like to them, working was not really “working.” After visiting and participating in this internship, I have learned that if you get involved in what you believe in, great things happen – and that will forever stay with me.
CH: How do you think you will use the skills you developed in this program (and during your trip out here) in your future career?
AR: Among all of the skills I got to develop during this internship, I think one of the most relevant, regardless of the future career path I take, is that of communication. Throughout my internship, I learned how to express my passions and ideas to others, all the while motivating a team and maintaining the commitment of my peers. At the same time, when I flew to California and met the Course Hero crew, I got to experience the other side of things as I listened and became inspired by those who have had the opportunity to allow this to happen. Whether I work on the business or technical side of things, communication is arguably the most important skill to master (both expressing and listening). These skills will allow me to become both an exceptional leader and a wonderful team member.
CH: What did you like most about visiting the office?
AR: I always believe that the people you are around either make or break the experience of visiting something new. And when I visited the office, the people there were what totally made the experience an incredible one. The culture at Course Hero is so contagious, everyone is so happy and fun – I love it. Besides the people of course, I also fell in love with the cyborgs…*cough cough* I mean the Beam+ machines!
CH: What ideas did you come up with during your trip that you want to implement on campus in the fall?
AR: During my trip I had the opportunity to meet my amazing fellow interns, all of which had fantastic marketing ideas to share. One that stuck with me was the thought of partnering with the coffee shops around campus and offering rewards, such as free coffee, cups, or discounts to those who download the app or show proof of signing up. The concept even expanded to offering a refill of coffee to those who showed that they had submitted documents. I feel that this is a fantastic idea since coffee and college pretty much go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly
CH: What was your favorite part about San Francisco?
AR: One of my favorite experiences from San Francisco was riding the cable car. The experience was simply exhilarating. I had never done anything like it in my life and it truly felt like such an achievement. I won’t deny it, riding from the edge and holding on as the cars passed by from what felt a centimeter away was quite scary at first… yet thrilling at the same time. As I slowly watched the buildings and cars pass me by in the cable car, I came to realize how life and the world is full of these unexpected and unforgettable experiences. What to a man may seem routine, to another could be extraordinary. The short ride on the world’s last manually operated cable car system led me to this conclusion. Without saying, it helped me place a lot into perspective.
CH: How did Course Hero fit in with your prior idea of what a Silicon Valley start up was going to be like? Similar or different, and how so?
AR: Course Hero perfectly fit and didn’t fit into my prior idea of a Silicon Valley startup was going to be like. I’ll explain myself: What I mean when I say that Course Hero fit my expectations of a tech startup in the Valley is that the culture and office was everything I thought it would be like, and more. The playful decorations, the young atmosphere, the happy/positive attitudes, and, of course, the games! These are all the things that I had read about tech startups in the area. However, what caught my attention and did not fit the prior developed notion of Silicon Valley startups was the strong community and friendship among co-workers. I guess my understanding was the workplace would be friendly and the people would be friendly but it wasn’t until I came to the office that I noticed that people weren’t just friendly, they actually cared for each other. This was a great feeling; I can imagine that there is nothing like working with friends. Yet again, I shouldn’t call it “working” as it doesn’t align with how I imagine work at any company. At Course Hero everyone is happily collaborating.