Meet Marlon, a recent graduate of San Francisco’s Mission High School who spent the summer interning at sf.citi member Dropbox. For the past few years, Dropbox employees have volunteered time and resources to Mission High through sf.citi’s Circle the Schools corporate volunteer program run in partnership with the San Francisco Education Fund. As the company looked to onboard their very first high school intern with strong technical skills, they turned to three local partners for recruits: Mission High, the San Francisco Education Fund, and Enterprise for Youth. The team at Mission High immediately referred Dropbox to Marlon, whom they knew would be a strong fit for the company.
Before starting his internship at Dropbox, Marlon completed several job-readiness and financial literacy trainings with Enterprise for Youth. He continued to receive support from Enterprise for Youth throughout his internship, which took place at Dropbox’s headquarters in San Francisco three days a week. Marlon assisted the company’s Information Technology and Services (ITS) team, working closely with Jesus, an experienced manager on Dropbox’s Physical Inventory Operation (CorpPIO) team.
sf.citi sat down with both Marlon and Jesus to hear more about Marlon’s summer in tech.
SURPRISING DISCOVERY: WORKING IN TECH IS FUN
“Fun” was the word Marlon used to describe his internship at Dropbox. Along with learning a suite of new skills, Marlon got to experience tech’s inclusive and friendly work culture. In fact, Marlon said working at Dropbox didn’t feel like much like work. He explained, “While I was working, the whole environment was so inviting that it didn’t feel like a hassle to come to the office every day.”
CRASH COURSE IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES (ITS)
Marlon took on a lot of responsibility during his summer at Dropbox. He learned to image laptops, or apply a corporate image (company-specific settings, security software, licenses, etc.) to a new laptop and configure it for each employee’s credentials. He also helped manage equipment requests from employees, set up desks, and assist in the storage room. For his final project, Marlon worked on Dropbox for Good’s laptop donation program. Instead of throwing away laptops, Dropbox donates lightly used, refurbished laptops to local nonprofits and schools.
Marlon said the first week was challenging and “a lot to take in.” By week two, however, Marlon already felt comfortable navigating the building and handling most of the basics. As a testament to Marlon’s quick adjustment, Jesus explained that Dropbox usually devotes a week of training to each responsibility Marlon mentioned. For Marlon, all of the training was consolidated into two weeks. Jesus was both impressed and surprised by “how well and how fast he actually picked up some of the work that we have.”
TECH INTERNSHIPS ARE A WIN-WIN
Marlon’s summer internship proved invaluable for his own growth and that of Dropbox. Looking to the future, Marlon said, “I have a couple of options now—maybe I’ll pursue a career in tech or just use this experience toward future jobs.”
For Jesus, meanwhile, Marlon provided “additional resources” at a time when Dropbox needed it most. Earlier this year, the company acquired HelloSign, which meant Jesus and the rest of the ITS team had to issue more than 100 new laptops on top of their regular workload. Marlon’s help certainly made that possible.
EMPOWERING SF’S FUTURE TECH WORKERS
Like many sf.citi members, Dropbox is committed to serving the broader San Francisco community. “If you come into an environment that’s supportive, like the tech industry, and learn technical skills, it opens up doors and encourages you to actually join a tech company,” reflected Jesus on why tech companies should partner with the City’s youth. Despite growing up and around the world’s tech epicenter, many San Francisco high school students don’t get to experience the wonderful world of tech unless they get first-hand exposure through internships like Marlon’s.
Making tech approachable is really important to us, especially when it comes to our city’s youth. Not to sound cheesy, but they’re the future of our workforce, so it just makes sense. Marlon was an amazing intern and we’re looking forward to expanding programs like this in the future. The key to our success was the work our ITS team put into creating an internship curriculum and our external partnerships. We couldn’t have done this without sf.citi, SF Ed Fund, Mission High, and Enterprise for Youth. Enterprise was particularly crucial in providing wrap-around support—they offer students job readiness training, financial literacy, banking help, job shadowing opportunities, and a job coach with whom they meet weekly. And to top it all off, they also handled most of the employment paperwork for us, which was a huge help!
—Jacquelyn Horton, Social Impact Manager, Dropbox
As for Marlon, he offered words of advice for other high school students interning at tech companies. He encouraged them to “put themselves out there and try to do the best they can.” No matter the outcome, Marlon concluded, it’s great to get exposure to the office environment, meet new people, and discover what you like in a job.