Over the ten-week RiskIQ internship program, I have been interning in the product management department at RiskIQ. The program combines practical experience from RiskIQ, a successful startup company and leader in its space, with lessons in innovation and entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley. RiskIQ supports this program to inspire young professionals and give them the confidence and experience they need to take the next step in their career.
The program is the culmination of my master's degree in Finance at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), building on my bachelor degree in Logistic and Resource Management from the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy. My goal for the program was to gain first-hand experience in another working environment and learn more about innovation and entrepreneurship from a successful startup. I was granted a leave of absence for the summer from my full-time position in The Norwegian Armed Forces in order to broaden my perspective and experience the innovative environment of the Bay Area.
I applied to have my internship at RiskIQ because I was particularly interested in cybersecurity and wanted to learn from one of the best in the business. I believe cyber risk management is increasingly important to every company that collects and uses customer information in demonstrating corporate social responsibility. Being proactive in defending against threats from outside the firewall is also profitable for businesses because a data breach will damage your brand and your customers’ trust drastically.
At RiskIQ I have been working side by side with my supervisor Vamsi Gullapalli. He is the product manager for RiskIQ’s Digital Footprint product and has deep experience in digital risk management from consulting security businesses and holding a key role in several startups.
Digital Footprint allows RiskIQ’s customers to reveal and manage their digital presence beyond their firewall. During my time here I have been included in every process, from customer relationship meetings to laying out product strategy. As for personal projects, I have worked on mapping out and analyzing customer segmentation, the financial performance of the product line and the performance metrics for the SaaS business model. In order to complete my projects, I have interacted with almost the entire company ranging from the engineering department to the rest of the product team and marketing.
During my internship, Vamsi has focused on making my time at RiskIQ a learning-packed experience. I have received weekly training and introduction on the basics of the internet and cyber security. I have also been introduced to the SaaS business model and metrics for startups, and the theoretical background of understanding how to build better products. By carrying out these real-world tasks, I’ve been able to build a strong foundation in Product Management from scratch.
As a final presentation, I took an unbiased look at RiskIQ, combining observations and customer and financial analysis with theoretical models with the goal of improving RiskIQ’s business strategy. The executive team at RiskIQ appreciated this feedback, says something to me about RiskIQ’s values and their desire to continuously improve their products and business model. I have been working a desk away from RiskIQ’s CEO and co-founder frequently, and during my internship, he has kept me on my toes while showing a genuine interest in my work.
During my internship, I also have been introduced to the startup culture, where the social aspect of your workplace is emphasized. The idea is that natural meeting places and events boost collaboration and innovation. At RiskIQ there’s a shared lunch and a happy hour each Thursday. Together with other social events, this has been a great way for me to socialize with my coworkers, and ultimately make new friends. During my time at RiskIQ, I won a game of Pool for the first time ( fair and square), after (too) many practice games and training from my coworkers.
I have to thank everybody at RiskIQ for an amazing experience. My insight into how to start up and run a successful tech company will be something I will treasure and bring back with me to Norway. And before I know it, maybe someday I will be back in San Francisco and RiskIQ!
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