Karisma joined VMware as a Partner Programs: Strategy and Design intern for the Partner Programs team on June 15th, 2020. She eventually moved to the newly formed Lifecycle Services team in September 2020 and continued working part-time for the team as she finished her final year of college at UC Riverside. Even though her internship was one hundred percent remote, Karisma made a lasting impact on the team, and early this year was hired as a full-time employee. We sat down with her recently and asked her to share more about her experience interning remotely and how she has found the transition from college to working full time. Read on to get to know Karisma. Have questions for her? Leave a comment under this blog post.
VMware Careers: Karisma, take us through your journey as a virtual intern at VMware?
Karisma Daswani: Coming into my summer internship last year, I was incredibly nervous that I wouldn’t get the full experience working with VMware. I had learned so much about the company throughout the recruiting process and was so excited to be a part of an inclusive and supportive culture that prioritized employee growth and development.
However, very quickly those initial nerves disappeared when I met my managers, mentors, and intern program heads. There aren’t enough words to describe how supportive everyone was. The intern program leads created a collaborative and engaging culture where, even virtual, all the interns felt like they could interact with each other. My managers and mentors encouraged me to meet others inside my organization and out, pushed me to take on various projects and spent the time to develop me as an emerging business professional. My entire team stepped up to ensure that my virtual experience was one full of limitless opportunities for growth and professional development. I was extremely grateful that my managers Amanda Banker, Rich Steeves, and Stephanie Ladner allowed me to continue my internship during the school year.
I started my senior year of college at UC Riverside in September and in addition to balancing my classes and my VMware internship, I was also working as a Peer Mentor for first-year business students and as a Student Ambassador for the Undergraduate School of Business. These positions were very important to me and my journey as a college student, and my managers and team supported me as I balanced everything. Even though I was busier than I had ever been, logging on to work every day gave me a burst of energy and I looked forward to it each morning.
As the months went by, my managers gave me more and more responsibilities and tasked me with supporting a variety of important initiatives within the company. I got to write three blogs on VMware partners, supported a variety of strategic initiatives, and even helped plan team bonding activities. Even though I was technically still an intern, my team trusted me with projects as I slowly made the transition into a full-time employee.
In my 10 months as an intern, I learned more than I ever thought I would. On my final day as an intern, I felt very prepared to transition into a full-time role and continue supporting my team. A virtual internship didn’t change my work ethic or my thirst for mentorship and knowledge, but in fact, pushed me to find new ways to achieve my goals.
VMware Careers: What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of your virtual internship?
Karisma Daswani: The most challenging aspect of my virtual internship was not being able to interact in person with my team and fellow interns. Since we spend so much time getting to know our teams and interns, it was hard that we couldn’t physically interact with each other.
I was so amazed at how VMware’s internship program went above and beyond with planning virtual events such as Happy Hours, Game Nights, and an Intern Hackathon that allowed us the opportunity to meet and interact with other people. Additionally, I also took the time to schedule 1:1s with other interns to get to know them and create the community I craved. While being virtual was a challenge, it was also an opportunity for all of us to put ourselves out there and make connections with others.
My team is based all over the United States and Costa Rica and my managers held many events for all of us to come together and interact. In addition to virtual team meetings, we had a virtual off-site at the beginning of the year, a virtual Wine Tasting experience, and even a Zoom holiday party! These events, although virtual, mean a lot to me because it’s where I get to be with my team, even if we are hundreds of miles away from each other.
VMware Careers: After your recent graduation you were offered a full-time position on the same team you interned with here at VMware. I’m sure you received many other offers, what made you choose VMware?
Karisma Daswani: In all honesty, there was no other company that I thoroughly considered. There was only VMware. I can’t imagine a better company, better culture, and better team to be a part of.
One thing that drove me to come back is the faith that my team had in me. My managers were willing to invest in my future and my success and allowed me to embrace challenges and take risks. If I shared an idea, it was never met with a no. I was always encouraged to find innovative and new ways of doing things.
And of course, the culture we have at VMware is like no other. The inclusivity, community, and excellence bleed into every organization within our company. From day one, I felt embraced by the organization and that feeling still exists today. You can reach out to anyone for help or advice, and you’re almost guaranteed a positive response. For a new college grad, there is no better place to be than with a company that will truly value your growth and develop you into the business professional you want to be.
VMware Careers: What do you love most about your current role?
Karisma Daswani: One of the things that I love that my role touches so many different parts of the WPCO organization. I get to work with people from almost every team within the WPCO organization and these intersection points provide an abundance of learning.
A project that I lead is our Power of Partnership blog series which features pieces from various coffee chats with partners. I enjoy getting to be a part of these coffee chats, meeting with partners, and learning about the partnership many of these companies have with VMware. Cultivating and sustaining our partner relationships with these blogs comes with an immense amount of learning and responsibility, and it’s one of my favorite parts of my job.
VMware Careers: Have you any advice for students or interns reading this?
Karisma Daswani: My first piece of advice would be to find a company and team that shares your values and will prioritize your learning and development. For me, working for a company that is committed to the success of its interns and employees is attractive to work for. I’m very lucky that VMware has been able to give me everything I want and more in a place to start my career.
The other piece of advice I have is to make the most of your internship whether it’s virtual or in-person. In addition to working, attend as many intern events as you can, meet with people in and outside of your organization, and find a mentor or mentors to support you throughout your internship and beyond!
VMware Careers: Finally, where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Karisma Daswani: Professionally speaking, in 10 years, I want to be a Director of a Partner centric team within a technology company. I’d love to stay at VMware for as long as I can and continue to deliver success on my team and throughout my organization.
On a more personal level, I want to go back to school and get my MBA and eventually move to New York City. Most of all, I want to continue mentoring my peers and future college students and help connect them to professional opportunities that will guide them to future successes.
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