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Meet Robinson Eaton, Intern at Intel Corporation
Meet Robinson Eaton, Intern at Intel Corporation


Robinson Eaton graduated from PSU’s School of Business Administration in the fall of 2013, majoring in Business Management & Leadership. He is currently a Project Manager for Metal Toad, a technical consulting firm based here in Portland, Oregon. Just prior to accepting his position at Metal Toad, Robinson completed a 13 month internship with Intel Corporation, during which he took on many responsibilities that were innovative and inspiring, and that empowered him for success after college.

Q: What were your responsibilities as an intern at Intel?

A: My duties included market research, internal marketing, operations, data analysis, user experience design, and stakeholder management. I also project managed an employee volunteer-driven project called the Open Bike Initiative.

Q: Can you elaborate a little bit more about the Open Bike Initiative?

A: The Open Bike Initiative is an ad-hoc project aimed at designing, developing, piloting and disseminating a 4th generation bike share project. An easy way to differentiate between 3rd Gen. and 4th Gen. is to think of Zipcar and Car2Go. With Zipcar (3rd. Gen) the user has to return the car to where they checked it out from. With Car2Go (4th Gen.) there are no such restrictions.

Q: How did you find your internship, and how far in advance did you begin your search?  

A: I found my internship through an excellent program called the Business Education Compact (BEC). The Business Education Compact is an Oregon-based, non-profit, that connects students and teachers with hands on, innovative experiences. 

My first day on the job was approximately one month from my first day of searching, but I know I was lucky.

Q: What were you looking for in an internship?

A: When looking for an internship, I wanted a position that matched up with my preferred career path. I wanted something that fulfilled by altruistic side and I wanted a recognized brand name that would look good on a resume. Check, check, check.

Q: What surprised you about this experience?

A: I was surprised about the level of hands-on training you receive from internships and how much like a real job an internship can be like. Sure, there are definitely caveats - hours, responsibility, and levels of access. But all in all, I went into the internship thinking I would essentially be making copies and fetching coffee, but the end result was so much more.

Q: What were some of your key takeaways from this internship?

A: The biggest take-away from my internship is just how hard people at companies like Intel or Nike work. When you are in college, it is easy to dream about the money and responsibility, but when that is your life, it is a lot harder than the dream.

That being said, once you learn the company’s vernacular and get into a comfortable groove, you start to realize that going to college was worth it. You begin to learn when and how to speak up at meetings, conduct conference calls, answer e-mails quickly and succinctly, get work done at lunch. These kinds of skills are the intangibles that will help you immensely in the “real world” and can only be learned with hands-on experience.

Q: In what ways did your education at PSU help prepare you for your internship?

A: I am a huge advocate for majoring in Business Management and Leadership, because I feel business skills can be applied in just about every area of expertise. From huge for-profit companies like Intel to non-profits such as BEC; somebody needs to raise money, keep the budget, motivate employees, make equipment investment decisions and so much more.

With the Open Bike Initiative, my business knowledge came in handy just about every day. Whether it was recruiting more people to try out the bikes (Marketing), to keeping a budget of materials used in development (Accounting), to motivating Intel employees to bike to work and beat Nike in the Bicycle Commute Challenge (Management), I was able to draw on the wealth of knowledge provided to me by Portland State University on a daily basis.

Q: In what ways did this experience benefit you for the future?

A: Extrinsically, it looks great on a resume and enabled me to make the right connections so that when I graduated from school, I had an immediate place to land. Beyond that, I learned valuable skills such as how to communicate with VPs, the detriments and necessity of bureaucracy, planning skills and much, much more. 

Intrinsically, it taught me the value of modesty. How you can think you have it all figured out in college, but once you get into the “real world.” the expectations of you are even more immense than they are when you are in school. Being able to come into a job now knowing that I have a lot more to learn is a very valuable thing to learn and will help me tremendously in the future.

Q: Any advice you would give other students considering an internship?

A: Do it!!!! But in all seriousness, the experiences, connections and skills that come out of an internship at an enterprise corporation like Intel are invaluable. I know it is hard leaving a job that in all likelihood pays you more, especially when you’re already living paycheck to paycheck, but if you can figure it out, do it!!!


Click here to learn about how you can earn credit for your internship.

This series is made possible via reThink PSU grant support.