Name: Kulsoom Rizvi
Internship, Co-op or Research Site: Discover Financial Services
Position Title: Business Technology Intern
Major(s)/Minor(s): Computer Science
Current Class Level: Senior
Work Term: Summer 2019
Tell us about your internship, co-op, or research opportunity, including your day-to-day responsibilities.
This summer I interned at Discover Financial Services where I was placed on the web platform team. Every day I worked with my mentor and the rest of the team to learn how to design the backend web systems using newly adapted technologies. I spent a lot of time learning the different frameworks and technology needed to create secure code to ensure the financial institution is protecting user credentials and sensitive information. I also worked with security applications to incorporate tools needed to encrypt and tightly control access to sensitive information.
Describe the process of obtaining your position. When did you hear of the position and submit your application?
I obtained my internship through the UMBC Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) sponsorship which enabled me to attend the WE18 Conference and Career Fair in Minneapolis!
During the 3 day conference, I got the chance to interview with many innovative companies, and in the end I decided to accept Discover’s offer.
Leading up to the Career Fair in Minneapolis, I practiced my behavioral and technical interview skills through online resources and by attending on-campus Career Center events with various companies.
What have you enjoyed the most about your position or organization?
I really enjoyed Discover’s culture of enthusiasm for mentoring and especially how approachable everyone is. As a group and individually, the interns got to speak to the CEO, CIO, as well as VP’s and directors. I took full advantage of this by reaching out to executives and other engineers to improve my networking skills and develop my career path. The best part was learning technology that I would otherwise not have been exposed to and apply that knowledge to projects that the team is working on! But, the biggest takeaway from the summer has been learning that I am able to overcome self-doubt and fear of failure, an issue among women in technology!
How do you believe you have made an impact through your work?
The projects I worked on helped the company adopt and transition to new technology to help improve customer experience and security.
What advice would you give to another student who is seeking an internship or similar experience?
If you want to work for a company that leads in innovation, you have to first believe in yourself, practice and prepare, and then put yourself out there (it’s scary but totally worth it!). Get your resume reviewed by professionals and take advantage of recruiters on-campus to seek career advice - they’re in the industry and have plenty insight! Lastly, join an engineering/STEM organization to learn more about the field and network with engineers who will help you develop your career and advocate for you!
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