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Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

I.

Brief History Sirius Computer Solutions was founded in 1980, previously under the name Start Data

Systems, by Harvey Najim. The corporate office is currently located in San Antonio, Texas with many offices nationwide. Sirius Computer Solutions partners with many well named companies such as IBM, HP, and Dell to bring companies worldwide IT based solutions that best fit their infrastructures. Having been recognized multiple times as IBMs Business Partner of the Year, Sirius has gained worldwide recognition as a top IT solutions provider. II. Why Sirius? As I approached my final year at UTSA, I knew that it was time to begin my search for internships. Not only would I be able to gain a greater insight in the real world work environment but I also knew that an internship would open the door to new opportunities and possibly a secure job position after I graduate. After researching into various summer internships during my Spring 2013 semester, I came across many that I knew would challenge me and allow me to gain a greater insight in my field of interest, marketing. One of the greatest aspects that allowed me to be drawn in by Sirius was the fact they are one of the few corporate offices worldwide that have an in-house marketing department. This is extremely rare due to the challenges and costs it takes in maintaining a strong company based marketing department as opposed to outsourcing to a specialized marketing company. Secondly, the exposure that this internship would allow me to have was intensely in depth compared to many of the other programs that were available at the time. It was immediately apparent that this internship program was fully developed down to the minutest detail. With this being said, I decided to apply in my hopes of gaining new knowledge and exposure in the marketing field. I hoped that entering into an internship program at Sirius I could expand on my business knowledge that I had previously gained by being a Shift

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

Supervisor at CVS Pharmacy for 3 years. I was also looking for a challenge. I knew that working as a manager in a retail environment would be greatly different than working as an intern in a corporate setting and I looked forward to the intellectual challenge I would encounter. During the timeframe of applying for internships, I had recently changed my major to Multidisciplinary Studies and had a newfound interest in Marketing. I knew that without a doubt I wanted to tie in my business knowledge with my personal interest in being creative and Marketing seemed to be the perfect fit. I realized that the only way I would know if this field was best suited to me was if I learned about Marketing in a real world work environment. III. Intern Roles and Responsibilities After being offered the Marketing Internship position, I grew nervous in not knowing what to expect of this new experience. One of my favorite things about Sirius when I was hired on was how welcoming the Sirius team was. The goal of my internship was to allow me to gain as much exposure to marketing and the various areas within it as possible. Within the Marketing Department at Sirius there are multiple areas such as Marketing Coordinators, Marketing Analysts, Marketing Campaign Specialists, Marketing Lead Coordinators, Call Center, Funding, and a remote Marketing Communications team in Omaha. With this being said at first it was overwhelming not fully recognizing how each of these different areas worked together until it was later explained. The Marketing department works together to bring awareness to new and existing clients. By pulling contact information on employees of various companies the information is then analyzed and processed. The contacts that are pulled are then turned into leads after the prospect shows interest in Sirius product. These leads are who the marketing department market to by a series of email blasts, attendance driving calls, and follow up. Sirius is allotted funds by business partners to host different brand campaigns and events throughout the

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

year. Sirius offers these prospects complimentary invitations to lunch and learn events that can be as small as free lunch and a presentation or as big as lunch and attending a special event such as Cirque de Solei in Las Vegas. After these events a total of expenses must be collected in order to submit for funding from the business partners. One crucial aspect of working with business partners is that many have specific requirements that must be fulfilled in order to gain funding for events. A. Marketing Coordinators My main assignment when I began my internship at Sirius was to work alongside the Marketing Coordinators so initially I exposed to small parts of these various areas. Because the marketing coordinators are the main source of support for the marketing department, they handle the openings and closings of various campaigns, events, and promotional items. This role is essential to marketing in that it encompasses the preparation and maintenance of events in order to promote brand awareness. Learning new software was essential to working as an intern within this department; exploring Open Air (OA), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and UPS shipping from a business perspective. -The CRM is a workload manager used throughout all departments of Sirius which contains all aspects of the business. This is the entity of Sirius containing anything from client contact information, products, budgets, revenues, to accounts. It is critical to not only understand the CRM but to also keep it up to date as reports are pulled for comparing quarterly results by the VP of Marketing. -From a Marketing Coordinators perspective Open Air is heavily utilized as it is the main source of opening fundamental codes for campaigns and events that are being worked. This code is important in that all expenses for a specific event or campaign are assigned to a unique code for

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

budgeting and accounting purposes. As an intern, I received many tasks to create OA codes for new campaigns and when the campaign was over I would then have to audit the folder with the proof of expenses. Comparing these expenses with the sub-ledger the accounting department has was sometimes a difficult task. The reason for this was that often expenses were charged to the wrong OA code or simply just not reported. I would then have to look further into the issue to find the expenses that were missing or added. -Shipping was a major part of my role working with the marketing coordinators because they are in charge of making sure that all promotional items and collateral are sent accordingly. Being that we work for the corporate office, we have all of the necessary materials that are needed by our sales team for appointments such as product flyers, brand folders, note pads, and service catalogs. My role as an intern included shipping out many of these items to our remote employees in the various offices throughout the nation. Not only that, but to also ship out the items needed for events such as promo items (t-shirts, pens, cups), prepare sign in sheets for registrants, name badges, and professional signage. Not only did I become familiar with UPS shipping for a business but I also learned the value in having the different shipping methods for timing purposes. Though this part of my role seems miniscule, it was one of the most essential parts to being an intern. I quickly learned the importance of timeframes and meeting deadlines to have the product sent in time for events. Another part in my role as an intern included creating check requests so that our vendors would be paid. The process of creating a check request included filling out a template with important account information such as vendor name, vendor number, and reason for the request. It was important to include a copy of the invoice along with this request because a manager is required to sign off on it, verifying that the information was correct prior to it being sent to

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

accounting. The turnaround process in receiving a check from accounting takes about 7 days. At that point, the check is then mailed to the vendor and the expenses are calculated into the marketing department budget. Though this process I learned the importance of detail in making sure the requests are sent in correctly and in a timely manner. Most of the check requests I processed were for thousands of dollars, money that could not be handled carelessly. It was also essential in keeping a line of communication open with the vendor to inform them of the status of their payment. Having to learn multiple tasks in my role of working with the Marketing Coordinators definitely helped me learn the importance of minute detail, multi- tasking, and communication. I appreciated my role in that I broadened my scope of in a faster process than I thought was possible. B. Marketing Campaign Specialists Aside from my role with the Marketing Coordinators, I also assisted the Marketing Campaign Specialists with various tasks. Among my first tasks with the Marketing Campaign Specialists included researching flight and travel costs for incentive trips for 2014. I compared costs from different departure locations and compared them to the top 3 destination possibilities. Though this task was simple, it was essential in budget planning for the following year. I also learned the time factor that played a key role in the task. In the marketing department, planning ahead is essential to prepare for various aspects of an event such as hotel accommodations, travel, and promo gifting. As one event ends the process begins to start budget planning for the following year. While working with the Marketing Campaign Specialists, I observed that because of their heavy workload in preparing events each specialist had a support team member that would help with accomplishing tasks. With that being said, as an intern I also became a

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

support team member in completing tasks that were to my ability. One task for example included researching price comparisons on competitor brands. My next task with the Marketing Campaign Specialists included researching various venues to host events at for potential clients. This task was more intellectually involved in regard to the importance to detail that was necessary in choosing a location. The requirements to determine a specific venue included location, price, venue size, promotions, availability of audio visual equipment as well as presentation screens, guest expectancy amount, and food menu options. As an intern the biggest challenge was communicating with consultants who specialized in private dining events in different locations. An even bigger obstacle was deciding how much of an expense was acceptable for each event that was being hosted. While helping with this research, I learned about the importance of negotiation in the final process of contracting a destination. I was successfully able to establish some venues during my internship for lunch seminars in different territories such as New York and Florida. This was definitely one of my favorite tasks as an intern because of the challenge I faced in researching location across the nation. C. Director of Marketing After I started understanding more about how the marketing department functioned I was given opportunities to work with the Director of Marketing, Senior Vice President of Marketing and even the Marketing Communications team that is located in Omaha, Nebraska. The most notable experience that I had with the Director of Marketing, Christina Davis, was going on a site visit. Together we went to view the Eilan hotel for a large event Sirius hosts at the beginning of every year called Kickoff. Each year the location of the event changes throughout San Antonio so typically venue research and site visits begin two years in advance. The site visit

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

consisted of first meeting with the Events Consultant who asked questions about the event, guest size, and idea of the event. This was then followed by a tour of the property including each of the ballrooms that the hotel offers for events. While on the visit, the Director of Marketing and I were both appalled by the lack of professionalism the consultant had in explaining questions we had. Though this wasnt the ideal visit, I did learn about the importance of a site visit and very important questions to ask when viewing. I observed from my Director that typically signs of unprofessionalism usually lead to not working with a venue due to future issues that may arise. However, the experience itself was definitely something to learn from. D. Senior Vice President of Marketing I was fortunate in being able to work with the Senior Vice President of Marketing, Michael Harwood, multiple times within my internship. The first thing I learned while working with him is that any work assigned by him is priority. The reason for this though obvious, is due to time constraints and importance of the workload he has- each piece is essential to completing a task. I helped in being able to find specific numbers that laid out our product costs against competitor costs in an organized worksheet. Mr. Harwood uses these worksheets to promote having competitive costs and pricing. Next, I helped in preparing for our second quarterly meeting for the year which the corporate office hosted this year. All Sirius Sales Team employees came to San Antonio from remote locations to detail the halfway year mark in hopes of learning about the business progress. This meeting spanned over three days and included entire presentations along with break out meetings specialized to each members specialized product brand. My main task prior to this quarterly meeting involved verifying any numbers that were presented in the PowerPoint presentation slides. In fact, I was the third person to verify these numbers which stresses the importance of relaying correct information to the team.

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

Preparations were also made in ordering food for each day we had events as well as stocking up the break out meeting room with necessary supplies and beverages. Overall, this was a successful quarterly meeting with some areas that could be improved for the following year. E. Director of Communications The final area that I was able to work with was the Marketing Communications team in Omaha, Nebraska. This was the most exciting part for me to work considering my interesting in marketing from a creative standpoint. I worked with Michael Harwood and the Director of Communications, Sue Griffin, to help in the process of changing the company website. This was a long process that involved checking hundreds of web links to verify the outlook and layouts of the web page. In a spreadsheet, I kept track of web links that had issues in term of graphics or layouts then conveyed the message to Sue who then worked with her team to fix any issues. After I completed this task, I periodically worked with Ruby Ong, a communications employee to update the Sirius Blog. My task specifically, was to add links to articles that directed interested prospects to the Sirius website. This was intended to bring in more awareness about what Sirius has to offer potential businesses. My last project with the communications team involved creating letter templates that Client Executives (Sales Team) could use to send previous clients of Sirius. For the same motives as the blog, this was intended to keep clients up to date with Sirius news and products. Each letter included a link that directed the client back to the Sirius website to build awareness. One of the most interesting parts of working with the team in Omaha was the ease in learning and communication. Considering the location difference, I felt no hindrance in my learning process as I worked with them. The resources that were available to me included WebEx, online meeting software eased the process significantly.

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

IV.

What I Learned at Sirius Computer Solutions Sirius Computer Solutions prides itself in the ability to continue educating its employees

through lunch and learn meetings on topics that benefit life at work and at home. These topics expand on the knowledge and skills of Sirius employees in areas such as Excel, organization, and budgeting finances. Experts from outside organizations are brought in to inform employees of new and better ways to perform tasks in more efficient ways. Knowing that Sirius continues to educate its employees to expand on already existing knowledge is one of the best features of this company. This was one of the first benefits I noticed about working in the corporate setting. What I also learned to value was the importance of meetings no matter how big or small. Quarterly meetings in particular provide a recap of the quarter and bring insight to where Sirius is headed from a high management perspective. This also helped me realize that in a corporate setting change will always be taking place, most of the time for the better, in terms of organization and business plans. V. How the Sirius Internship Work Relates to Coursework at UTSA Many of the things Ive learned with my coursework at UTSA were reflected in my experience at Sirius. Being a Multidisciplinary Studies Major with one of my focus areas being in business I can relate many things from UTSA to the corporate environment. My internship at Sirius Computer Solutions was a learning process starting from the very beginning, the hiring process. Having previously been a Business Major, I have taken coursework that prepares you for business interviews and settings. With this and being a manager at CVS Pharmacy, I had previously conducted hiring interviews so I felt as though I had an upper hand. However, I was wrong. The interview process for the Marketing Intern position was a two round process starting with a phone interview and ending with a formal face to face interview. After being requested to

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

meet for a formal interview with the Director of Marketing after my phone interview, I felt confident in my standing with the position. However, my interview process was more critical than I initially expected full of critiques and learning points. The benefit of having the interview in this layout was allowing me to realize exactly how in depth the interview process is at the corporate level. Every detail is important. Secondly, I realized that Marketing as a whole is more complex than I previously considered. Having taken a Principles of Marketing Class, I assumed the layout would be the same from what I had knowledge of. However, I was wrong. I began to realize that the marketing class was only one component of the entire picture. The marketing department at Sirius gave me a greater knowledge about what the world of marketing has to offer. Overall I was given a greater exposure of life in the corporate environment. From working alongside many of the high level management team, I received a greater insight on the management perspective. I quickly learned the importance of projects and deadlines and how as a whole it links to the work the entire team accomplishes. VI. Conclusion My internship at Sirius Computer Solutions was greater that I could have ever imagined. I gained such a high knowledge and skills from the internship position in such a brief period of time that I myself am surprised at my growth. I appreciate the multiple projects I was able to work on that enabled me to become more exposed to the marketing environment. Not only that but being able to work in the various departments and learn how they each interconnected benefited me in more ways than one. After my internship was complete I was offered a part time position as a Marketing Lead Coordinator, an entry level position that I really hadnt explored during my internship. Working in this new position at Sirius has added to my knowledge of the functions in the department. My performance on the team continues to increase each day and is

Maranda Greses

Sirius Computer Solutions Internship Paper

December 5, 2013

highly recognized. Recently I was awarded the Guided Star Award from my co-worker who acknowledged me for my great work efforts in increasing registrants at Sirius events. I know that my time at Sirius has been well spent and that I have increased my knowledge and skills beyond what I believed was possible.