WoW Blog Post #3

I met my academic learning goal of writing ten statistical programs in R. I integrated Google Analytics with RStudio and analyzed the website data using my programming skills. This data mining allowed me to evaluate the long term trends of the traffic and engagement on the website. I also wrote several programs in the statistical program STATA when analyzing the EdTech industry as a whole and collecting key information about company competitors. 

 I met my personal goal of having twenty virtual meetings with colleagues. Each week there were three meetings on Microsoft Teams where I learned how to sharpen my professional communication skills and plan the next steps with other members of the team. In addition, I had some one-on-one meetings with individual team members to discuss the progress of projects we were working on. 

 I did not meet my professional goal of gaining one hundred followers on each of the company’s social media platforms. Working at an early stage startup often means that the needs of the company can change drastically over time. At the beginning of the summer, it seemed as though social media management would be one of my responsibilities but later it became clear that more work needed to be done on market research. Hence, my goal changed to writing ten statistical programs in STATA to gain insights about the competitor landscape; I met this goal.

I would say this internship helped clarify my career interests significantly. I learned that I am highly interested in working in roles related to statistics and data science. Additionally, I am now more aware that I work better when I have periodic meetings with team members to discuss progress on our projects. These meetings give the projects more structure and allow people to give valuable feedback.

 If I were to give advice to a student interested in interning at my host organization, I would tell them to strive to ask more questions to their colleagues. When you run into a difficult problem, it is often very helpful to message your colleagues and ask for their thoughts. They will often point you into the right direction. Additionally, it is important to ask questions to your supervisor about assigned tasks in order to ensure you have a better understanding of their expectations. 

If I were to give advice to a student interested in interning in the EdTech industry, I would recommend using and familiarizing themselves with the current most popular EdTech tools. This helped me gain a deeper understanding of the industry and become aware of the technology-related problems faced by students, parents, teachers, and administrators. EdTech is a rapidly changing field and it is important to understand the users’ perspective when it comes to analyzing the industry, engineering the product, marketing, etc. 

This summer I am most proud of how my data analysis skills improved because these are skills that have many real-world applications . At the start of the summer, I did not have a very good grasp on using STATA but during the course of this internship I taught myself how to conduct Monte Carlo simulations and other techniques. Generally, I became more familiar with R, STATA, Excel, etc. and discovered new functions for these tools. 


WoW Blog Post #1 – Software Startup

I am working as a marketing intern for The Commons XR. The company is located in San Diego, California but I am working remotely in Massachusetts. The company communicates via a Slack channel and email. I meet with the Product Development employees twice a week over Microsoft Teams, and there is a company-wide standup every week. Currently, the type of work I am doing is writing market research reports. This includes a marketing strategy plan, customer segment information, and focus group questions. The company’s mission is to build a VR learning platform that prevents students from falling behind in the classroom by giving instructors real-time analytics about students who are not engaged with the material. Below is the company logo:

I am responsible for a market research project where I input psychographic, demographic, and other information about each of the target customer segments. I researched this information using tools such as Google Scholar, Google Trends, etc. This work will impact the marketing strategy that the company uses in the future. The marketing channels, copy, images, etc. will be chosen based on the market segment details. This market research report also gives changes that need to be made to the company website in order to appeal to each market segment. 


In addition, I must write the questions for each market segment in the upcoming focus groups and product testing. I had to use and study the company’s product in order to brainstorm these questions and researched how to conduct focus groups using books and websites. These focus groups will give the company more insight into each customer segment and the pricing strategy. It will also give the company information needed to iterate and improve upon the existing product. The feedback loop from focus groups and customer interviews are very important for software startups such as The Commons XR.


I am also working on a marketing strategy plan which includes SWOT analysis, customer analysis, competitor analysis, and business initiatives (e.g. social media marketing plan, paid ads strategy, etc.). I used tools such as CrunchBase to research some of this information. This plan will give the company guidelines this summer to increase web traffic, social media engagement, web engagement, email list sign ups, and leads. 


One of my goals for this summer is to learn how to increase the follower count on each of the company’s social media platforms by one hundred followers. Later in the summer, the company will execute the social media marketing and branding strategy; I will learn to post engaging content specific for each platform and raise brand awareness. 


Another goal is to write ten statistical programs in R to analyze the website traffic in Google Analytics and/or the ad metrics in Google Adwords. R can be integrated with Google Analytics in order to forecast long-term value of marketing campaigns. 


My third goal is to have twenty video meetings with other company members in order to improve professional communication skills and streamline tasks.

Philip Bonmassar

WoW Blog Post #2

Working remotely has strengths and weaknesses relative to in-person work. A large advantage of in-person work is that you can ask questions to your coworkers and receive the answer immediately or relatively soon by simply visiting their office or workspace. However, when working remotely, you may only be able to send them an email and then you might have to wait longer for their answer. On the other hand, our company uses Slack as a communication platform so I am able to get answers much faster since Slack notifies my coworkers instantly if their names are mentioned. Overall, I enjoy this internship because there are several weekly meetings where you have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about what other coworkers are working on.


World of Work has differed from academic life because it is less predictable. Academic courses have a structured syllabus with the list of exams, projects, meeting times, papers, etc. However, the tasks and nature of my internship can change significantly from day to day depending on the needs of the startup. People who work in startups frequently have many different roles since resources are often scarce. One day I am working on updating the website and increasing my knowledge of PHP and the next day I am researching social media influencers in the EdTech space for each market segment. 


In addition, my internship is more reliant on other people compared with academic life. In courses, most of the time is spent doing assignments and studying alone (although working with others is sometimes permitted). However, my role for this internship relies on other coworkers. For example, it is necessary to have one-on-one meetings with a coworker to brainstorm ideas on how to move the project forward. 


This summer, I have been improving my skills with the statistical programming language R. I learned how to integrate R with Google Analytics and get more in-depth information about website metrics and Google ad campaigns. This will be transferable to a future career in data analysis because R is a very important programming language in this field. Additionally, Google Analytics is a crucial skill for any business with a website.  In terms of academics, R is a widely used language in many economics and statistics courses such as Econometrics and is often used for research purposes. 


Another skill I have been working on this summer is academic literature review. In an effort to learn more about the EdTech industry and the company’s target customers, I have searched for related papers on Google Scholar, Library OneSearch, and ResearchGate. I read these studies and learned how they could be applicable to the company’s objectives.  This will be transferable academically because literature review is important when writing a paper for a class as well as when conducting academic research for a professor. In terms of a future career, reading academic studies is a useful skill because it reinforces statistical concepts such as Chi-Squared Tests, Analysis of Variance, etc. since these tests are used in the literature.