Robert S. Goodfriend Summer Internship Fund Recipient
In my numerous career and networking conversations with mentors and acquaintances in various types of businesses, one theme emerged that almost everyone agreed upon. I kept hearing about the growing importance of digital marketing and that the companies which market themselves best online will be the most successful. I took a hint from these conversations and began a search for a digital marketing-oriented internship that eventually led me to David Wagoner (Bowdoin ’08) and Poln (pronounced “pollen”), the start up he co- founded two years ago.
To date, I have completed two business internships with a general focus on finance. I left both experiences energized and encouraged by the work I had completed and the skills I had acquired. In my first internship last summer with an architecture and engineering consulting firm, I enjoyed learning how robust financial analysis can help guide smart business decisions, however I regretted not being able to utilize my creative problem solving skills that I have begun to develop at Bowdoin. This past winter break, I completed an internship at the Greyston Bakery and Foundation, a mission-driven bakery that, among many other things, makes the brownies for Ben & Jerry’s ice creams and provides childcare for the children of its employees, who were typically formerly incarcerated or homeless. In my role at Greyston, I was tasked with creating a more efficient method for tracking key performance indicators of the Foundation’s childcare service. I enjoyed completing this task because it allowed me to utilize my creative problem solving skills and I improved my spreadsheet modeling capabilities. However, I came to recognize that I enjoyed thinking about the commercial aspects of a business beyond the dollars and cents that a finance-oriented role principally focuses on.
When I returned to campus in late January I focused my search to find an internship that would expose me to these disciplines. Through the Bowdoin Career Advisory Network on LinkedIn and a listing on the start up job site, Angel List, I contacted David Wagoner ’08 at his start up, Poln. Poln is an e-commerce advertising platform for small and medium size businesses that automatically places the ad campaigns of its clients to optimize new customer acquisition according to Poln’s data on product and demographic trends. Poln was incubated at Techstars NYC last summer, one of the most respected tech incubators in the world, was Digital.NYC’s start up to watch in June 2016, and was Shopify’s (one of the leading e-commerce platforms) app of the month.
An internship at Poln will be an excellent opportunity for me to learn about online marketing and e-commerce. In addition, due to the start up nature of the company, I will also gain an understanding of the challenges start ups face in developing business and how they address those challenges. I hope the experiences I gain at my internship this summer will be valuable in several ways: first, I will be helping (in a small way) with the rapid growth of an entrepreneurial business; second, I will be learning about the increasingly important online economy; third, I will be gaining an appreciation of the commercial skills required to promote a product; and finally, I hope to develop the analytical and creative skills valued by future employers. I am also especially looking forward to working for a Bowdoin alumnus.
- Date October 16, 2017
- Tags 2017, Business, Goodfriend, Marketing, Sophomore, USA