My Penn Path: Kaustuh Deo

Last spring, we asked several current Penn students in the College of Arts & Sciences to talk to us about their summer internship experience.

We hope these brief interviews give you some insight into the many opportunities and career fields that await you out in the world!

Today’s interview is with Kaustuh Deo, CAS-WH ’16
deoTell Us About Yourself

Name: Kaustubh Deo
Hometown: Seattle, Washington, United States
Year/major/minor: 2016, Huntsman Program (Business and International Studies), French Minor
Where did you work and what was your job title?

I split my summer into two portions. The first six weeks were spent doing the Penn-in-Tours program in France. When I returned, I completed six week internship at Five Ultimate, a company that specializes in making jerseys for Ultimate Frisbee teams around the world. I was a marketing intern, though the marketing department consisted of one of the co-founders and the head of marketing (and me).

How did you get involved in your summer position?

I’ve played Ultimate since middle school, and during the junior year of high school I got a summer job doing quality control, meaning I just had to make sure all the jerseys were printed properly and the right sizes were included in every team order. It was a really boring job, but I was able to meet everyone at the company (around 10-15 full-time employees), including the five founders, who are all siblings, hence the name Five Ultimate. I emailed one of the founders and asked her if there was any way to put together a business-related internship for the second half of the summer. I met with her when I went home during Spring Break and we were able to figure out a plan that would be mutually beneficial.

Did you have any background with this subject/field before?

I had no formal experience with marketing specifically, but I am very knowledgeable about Ultimate and the culture of the sport, which is obviously very valuable for a company whose customers are all Ultimate players. Further, my team here at Penn usually orders our jerseys from Five.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

It was really great to work side-by-side with the head of marketing in the open office set-up. Everyone could chat with each other throughout the day, leading to a relaxed, friendly work environment. It showed me what kind of people I want to work around.

What was something you learned/did that you didn’t expect?

The experience provided me with an insight to how a small business or start-up operates, which is great context as I move forward and intern with larger corporations in future summers. Second, my original motivation in pursuing this internship was to assess if marketing would be something I want to do in the future and this gave me an idea of what marketing entails in the real world.

What was the most valuable lesson you took away from this experience?

I think learning how to work independently while on a team was extremely valuable. Most of our school work tends to be individual, while group work tends to be completed as a group. However, working a job usually requires individual work that is then aggregated into a group effort. At Five, I took care of my part of projects while my co-workers did their parts, and then we would meet primarily to collaborate and merge our work (unlike school, where we meet to do the actual work itself). Learning this dynamic makes me a more productive employee and more valuable teammate.

How has this experience influenced your long-term career plans/goals?

I definitely know now that I need to work in a setting that promotes collaboration and cross-fertilization of ideas. Working in a vacuum with little understanding of the big picture is not something I want to do. In addition, I learned that marketing is a little too qualitative for my taste, so I’m going to look for careers that require more quantitative analysis and technical work.

What would you recommend to other students trying to pursue the Road Less Traveled?

Email anyone and everyone who could possibly help you. This includes extended family, high school teachers, parents of your college/high school friends, etc. I even googled random companies in industries I was interested in, then went into their “People” section of the website, and would read employee bios until I found someone who went to Penn and email them. I’ve actually gotten to have coffee or phone calls with some very interesting people that way, even if it doesn’t necessarily lead to a job.

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.