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Yao Xiao joined Medallia in 2016 as a full-time Frontend Engineer, following a successful internship with us the previous year. In this conversation, Yao reflects on his experience as an intern, and why he wants to help the new intern class find their way.
Q: When researching companies to consider, what about Medallia stood out?
A: Medallia looked like a company with great potential, especially being a leader in its field. The company also was at a size where I felt like everything was stable enough such that it wasn’t chaotic, yet still early stage enough that there were plenty of room to innovate.
Q: Upon joining, what were you most looking forward to?
A: I looked forward to working with Medallians mostly, because I had heard about the great culture in Medallia and how much it mattered to the company. Not to say I didn’t look forward to the work itself, as I wanted to see what building a good enterprise software entailed.
Q: Describe your relationship with your mentor.
A: As soon as I got to Medallia, it felt like he was a friend, someone who I could talk to anything about. He and another team member (while my main mentor was out) guided me throughout the entire term, and regularly checked up with me to see if I was doing okay and if I was working on things that interested me. I think the fact that we hung out a lot as friends took down any sort of barrier between us.
Q: Talk through your experience with the Frontend team.
A: I loved it. It never felt like I was on an island working on things that didn’t matter—the project I worked on had real impact on the company and I would receive feedback from everyone on the team. Every team member helped me as some point and I really felt like I was fully integrated as a full-time rather than just an intern.
Q: What was your favorite summer event?
A: My favourite event was probably the Warriors game! That was great because I got to see them play my hometown team. And I loved that Medallia was able to arrange that for us. Go Warriors and Go Raptors!
Q: After your internship, you decided to join Medallia full-time! Explain what prompted that decision.
Number one was the people that I worked with—the relationships that I built were really important to me and culturally it was the best company I had ever worked for. Number two was the product itself and the position of Medallia in the [Customer Experience] space; the sky’s the limit for Medallia. Lastly, the tech stack that I knew I would get to work with, and how Medallia engineering incorporates cutting edge technology into the product.
Q: You’ve come full circle, and are now the mentor for an incoming intern. How did your experience at Medallia inspire you to become a mentor?
A: Seeing how much my mentors cared about me and my career really made me feel like this is a place that values people. I want to continue the tradition and provide an amazing experience for an intern and I think it will be a meaningful and fulfilling internship period for the both of us.
Q: What advice do you have for students selecting a company for their internship?
A: The most important thing is to figure out what kind of experience you want and what you can walk away from the internship with. Don’t get too caught up with the big name game or the salary game; it won’t matter too much in the long run, and experience is the key takeaway. Take advantage of the fact that you only have a four month commitment and have as wide range of experience as possible—that will help you figure out what you want as a full-time employee.