After graduating from a rather nondescript college in MP, a brief stint at my own startup and working as a freelance designer, I finally made it to a respectable business school in Delhi. As soon as I finished my second semester’s final exams, getting an internship was my first concern. Summer internships are a vital part of any B-school curriculum since it gives a first-hand experience of working for a company and applying concepts to real work.

One evening, while I was at my hostel room cursing Mondays, I received a mail about an opportunity at SocialCops from our Training and Placement cell. I went through the mail, SocialCops’ website, and social media handles, and then I came across the TEDx video of Prukalpa Sankar (SocialCops’ co-founder) that I had seen earlier. It made me realize that this is the startup changing the sector of information-driven industries.

I had already spent my winter of 2017 with Nielsen, working on Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh’s assembly election data and results. At Nielsen, I got exposed to the power of data and how it can predict results and scenarios that affect millions of people. Hence, I was curious to learn more about how data can be used for growth and impact. This led me to apply to SocialCops to work as a Growth Marketing Intern.

After I applied, I was put through a month-and-a-half-long thorough hiring process. It took so long because SocialCops has multiple rounds that test every aspect of the candidates’ capabilities. I went through an online application and a challenge. This was followed by a small interview with one of my to-be team members, the in-office task where I was invited to the office to complete a given task, and an hour-long personal interview with the co-founder. After all these rounds, I was offered the Growth Marketing internship. Woohooo! (I recently found out that the acceptance rate at SocialCops is less than 1%. Yes, the acceptance rate has to do with lots of variables, but it was heartening to know I was one of the select few who made it through!)

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Onboarding and my first week

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Let’s fast forward to the first week of June. When I joined SocialCops, I was welcomed with an adorable signboard with my name on it and a cipher to decode the wifi password. I was assigned Gaurav as my buddy on the first day of my internship. Gaurav helped me settle in, introduced me to other teams, answered all my queries around work and office, and was just like how a buddy is — a friend at work.

After spending an hour on the cipher and cracking the solution, I received an exceptionally well-curated onboarding checklist, which had information on SocialCops’ history, present achievements, and journey until now. From how the founders met to the products that the team was building, the onboarding checklist had everything to make me even more excited about what was ahead. As part of the onboarding process, I also spoke to people about their role and work, and I came to understand the products and how the company was structured.

Kicking off the internship: My Hack Week

After onboarding, I knew that I was up for a challenge and an exciting ride at SocialCops! I was introduced to my hack week challenge, a week-long challenge to help me hit the ground running. SocialCops uses the Hack Week to help new hires tackle big problems head on — which is one of our cultural values, Bias for Action — from their first couple of days.

My Hack Week was to create and run an end-to-end marketing campaign for one of our most powerful solutions — the Sustainable Development Goals tracking dashboard. The challenge was to understand the solution and how it is helping our users track SDG goals, and then create ads for lead generation and push them live. I was running an entire marketing campaign on my own in just the first week of my internship!

This made me realize that I was in for a great learning experience. I had to learn how a message is conveyed through ads and how important well-written copy and a well-designed creative is. Even though I had no clue about LinkedIn advertisements, I was trusted to explore them, read articles and experiment. And that’s how I got started with my first week full of challenges, learning and executing.

What I learned from my Hack Week

In the beginning, I took the wrong approach — directly jumping to making creatives. I started designing the ads just based on the dashboard’s description. I made the creatives on the first day itself, and I thought all I needed was some feedback before I could finalize them. After a discussion and feedback from the team, I realized that this wasn’t the right approach and I had got the messaging of the ad wrong. What did I miss? Understanding the users!

So, I took a step back and took a different approach to understand a few questions: Who are the ideal users? What do they care about? How can we communicate our message to them? One of the key steps involved was to find the right words to get that message out. Creating a persona of the target audience, keeping in mind what our target audience wants and why, all while setting our targeting for the ad and pushing it live — this was a challenge. A lot of planning goes into creating digital ads and pushing them live. Making a creative is easy when the message is finalized and clear. But it requires a lot of attention to do these things together, align them towards our goals and get shit done!

Read about Tanay’s Hack Week, where he added intuitive yet powerful Android analytics to Collect, our data collection platform.

The Hack Week made me understand one of the important marketing philosophies of SocialCops — the marketers don’t just run marketing campaigns or execute tasks, but are also the solution and product experts who know their users in and out.

Finally, I was able to complete my Hack Week challenge and run a full-fledged marketing campaign on my own, and all just in the first week of my internship!

The learning curve

At SocialCops, I got an insider’s view on how a company actually works. I could have never gotten this experience of making key decisions and having actual responsibilities in any big multinational corporation.

Getting to do work in new domains and platforms always excite me to the core. For the next 2 weeks, I learned different angles of creating and making marketing campaigns from end to end. I got a chance to work with multiple role owners, teams and products with different objectives, ideas and expected outcomes. From creating visual creatives to integrating the message into the copy and deploying the ads over different platforms, I was learning everything.

But how do you measure the success of an ad? The question was answered soon when I started working on platforms like Hubspot and Google Analytics. Keeping track of all the ads and their performances, conversion and results gave me incredible insights and helped me optimize the ads for better performance.

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The notes I made at my first feedback session at SocialCops. Prukalpa and Gaurav explained where I went wrong with my first set of ads and taught me to focus on the user.

Welcome to Team TBC

In 2 months of my internship, I worked on some super awesome projects, celebrated the team wins, brainstormed with some of the best minds in the country and learned new things every single day. I was not treated as an intern but like any other regular employee. At SocialCops, I realized that the culture isn’t about cool office perks, but it is all about people and their growth.

I also got a chance to witness the effort that goes into building and nurturing this culture when I joined the TBC team — a team that is all about people and their experiences at SocialCops. It’s after joining this team that I realized how similar it is to a sales team that works right from attracting customers to nurturing them after they become clients. The team dedicatedly works towards attracting the top talent and ensuring that people who become part of SocialCops learn, grow and become their best selves here.

Executioner mode: ON

Once I started working in a cross-functional team, I got introduced to a new method of project management called Scrum. It is a new way of goal setting and execution.

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Team TBC’s Scrum board. Each sticky note is a task for the sprint.

In Scrum, a team breaks its work into goals that can be achieved during time-bound sprints (one week, for us) and tracks these goals through a daily 15-minute stand-up and a final sprint review and retrospective. Each goal gets a number signifying how much effort it will take to accomplish the goal, and the total of all accomplished goals at the end of the week is the team’s velocity. We track our weekly velocity to see how our team is doing and whether we’re becoming more productive. Want to learn more about Scrum? Check out this video that we used to get started with it.

With Scrum, we planned for short sprints with large, impactful goals. We executed our goals, took learnings from them, and added these learnings to our future sprints.

Both the daily stand-ups and calculating my velocity helped me a lot on a personal level. I found that I was implementing my learnings and executing tasks at a much faster rate than before. I learned how to improve my ability to take up any task and finish it.

TL;DR: Two months of growth and immense learning

At SocialCops, my primary responsibilities involved creating and running marketing campaigns then tracking, measuring and analyzing their performances. I faced some challenges along the way, which became my learnings from this internship.

The best thing about working at SocialCops is, you are not bound to your role. You work is cross-functional and your tasks will involve you working with people from different teams. I helped various product owners in the Growth and Talent teams. Throughout the eight weeks that I worked at SocialCops, I also received constant support from my buddy Gaurav, the team and our co-founder, Prukalpa. The place truly justified why it was named one of the best startups to work for in 2018 by Aasaanjobs.

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My first Friday Demo at SocialCops, where I explained what I learned from my first Hack Week.

Working for a fast-paced, upcoming tech company may not have the brand-name recognition that my friends in big MNCs and consulting firms will get, but my experience at SocialCops will be hard to get in any other company or industry. I learned so much in just two months only because SocialCops treated me like a regular employee and not as an intern. I was trusted with work, received regular feedback and was involved in some of the company’s key decisions.

From working on projects that directly impact users to working on shaping up the brand image, I got the opportunity to work cross-functionally with different teams. Meanwhile, the weekly demos and focus on clearing out dependencies gave me the confidence to know that I can take on a new project and execute it on my own.

Looking back, I will miss Raju bhaiya‘s piping hot parathe, the excellent (and free) food, the amazing Town Hall on Founders’ Day (the company’s anniversary), the high of working with the best minds in the country, and the chance to contribute to a company that is revolutionising the way decisions are being made. The immense effort and thoughts that go into each SocialCops product was something that I couldn’t have known as an outsider. Interning as a Growth Marketing Intern at SocialCops was an amazing experience and it proved to be the best possible way I could have spent my summer!