Zach Curliano is a proud Bay Area native, born and raised in Piedmont, CA, a small town right outside the Oakland hills and a Finance major at Linfield College. Zach found his passion early on life, “I grew up as a salesman. In elementary school I was always caught wheeling and dealing Yu-gi-oh and Pokemon cards on the playground. In middle school I made a business selling my neighbors unwanted and unused items on craigslist and eBay, ranging from Go-karts to antique silverware sets.” Eager to gain more experience he began working as a sales associate at Northbay-networks, “A small company specializing in liquidating and assisting failed startups during the dot com bust of the 2000’s.” Zach was, “responsible for managing every aspect of my sales, which included: picking up the equipment, testing and cleaning the equipment, pricing the equipment, and selling the equipment. Within months I excelled at my sales role and began to average $30k a month on items that provided the company with an average 75% profit margin.” It was this experience that cemented his interest in sales and motivated him to pursue and land an internship with Pandora Radio.
Zach dedicated a majority of his Junior year to perfecting his resume and attending career fairs to improve his chances of landing a dream sales internship. He had confidence in his skills and experience, “My strong background in sales with an almost completed degree in finance led me to apply for several diverse internships, consisting of data analysis roles, traditional sales roles, and finance/investing roles.” Zach began his search on Internscoop, “By about early February, I had put together a list of about 10 potential sales and data analysis internships I had found on Interscoop. I applied for several different internships, but had my eyes set on one internship, the inside sales internship at Pandora Media.”
He was determined to secure a position with Pandora, “The inside sales internship role at Pandora seemed like a perfect fit: it was located in my home town of Oakland, CA, it offered that vibrant tech company culture I was looking for, and it was an opportunity to work for a company that offered a product and service that I truly believed in.”
Realizing the power of networking and professional connections Zach utilized his network to contact an employee at Pandora for some general internship and resume advice. Zach expressed his desire to complete a sales or data analysis related internships with pandora. “To my surprise, I found out that the sales department were still working on their internships and he told me that I would be a perfect fit for and should pursue an Account Executive Internship in the Inside Sales department. The next week, I immediately submitted my resume and cover letter. and began submitting my resume and company specific cover letters.” To Zach’s delight he received an offer to intern in the Inside Sales Department at Pandora.
At the beginning of his internship, Zach was met Paige, his fellow intern and they were assigned a mentor, Emily, who answered any and every question they had, “Emily took time out of her day to schedule meetings and training sessions with us, and gave us the opportunity to make the most out of our internship.” Zach’s job responsibilities included, “Shipping out SWAG (Pandora goodies) to clients, pulling MUV’s, Monthly Unique Visitors- basically the inventory of listeners in a given period of time, prospecting new potential clients, finding untapped existing clients in Sales Force, creating sales reports on Sales Force, pulling DMA/MSA’s, specific media market areas, for ad campaigns, participating in mock sales calls, and several other office tasks for the account executives.”
A highlight of the internship was the company culture at Pandora, “The company culture was amazing. It was vibrant. It was fun. It was positive. And it was diverse. In the past, most of my job experience had been with smaller 10-15 person companies, so I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to Pandora, a now almost 2000 person company. Would I be just another fish in the sea? Would I get to know the people I work with? Would I even see my managers? The list goes on and on. However, on the first day of work I was delightfully surprised to find that the environment of this company, of almost 2000 employees, felt like a close tightly knit family. Everyone welcomed the interns with open arms and a smile, taking time out of their days to help us with menial tasks, take us out to lunch, share their experiences or just to simply chat.”
Zach’s favorite part of his internship experience was, “assisting a sales associate in closing a $5k deal for a company that I prospected and set a meeting for. One of the tasks for my internship was prospecting and lead generation, to research and reach out to new potential clients, which lead me to set a meeting with Motor Head Cruise, a company that sells tickets for hard rock music festival cruises. Because I was an intern, I wasn’t technically allowed to make a sale, so I passed the client onto Carrie, a sales associate, who allowed me to sit in on the meetings and assist in closing the deal. Within a month, we closed the deal for a $5k ad campaign that would be played to Pandora listeners in the Florida area, listening to the hard rock genre, age 39-56. The best part about assisting in closing the deal was being able to participate in
the weekly Friday sales gong ritual, which consisted of account executives, who closed the most deals that week, going up to the center of the department and banging the ceremonial sales gong, while the pump up song of their choice plays through the speaker system.”
Zach’s internship experience at Pandora was, “A great learning experience and I met a lot of people that I can confidently say I will be life long friends with. Our mentor did an excellent job of handling this and created a structured program that was not only rewarding for us, but also rewarding for the busy account executives and managers.” He feels confident in his sales skills and looks forward to a successful career, “Working in the sales department of a major tech company has given me an unmeasurable insight and understanding of tech companies, digital advertising, and a company’s ability to monetize through non-physical goods. In addition to the priceless learning experiences, my internship has provided me with dozens of personal connections. These connections have proven to be people who I can go to for mentoring, career advice, and/or job referrals. I can confidently say that the connections I made at Pandora are connections I will maintain for the rest of my life. Above all, my first internship experience has prepared me for and given me the confidence to take on whatever career I choose to pursue post- graduation.”
Zach encourages students to not view his success as an anomaly, “My advice to any student seeking a prestigious internship is to not be afraid. Don’t be afraid to pursue something that’s new and challenging. Don’t be afraid of submitting an application for a job you’d consider out of reach. Don’t be afraid of the interviewing process. If you get turned down for one internship, don’t be afraid of applying for another.” He urges individuals to not overlook the possibilities to make professional connections, “Don’t be afraid to network, meet new people, and embrace the company culture.” Lastly, Zach has one key piece of advice, “One of the most beneficial things you can do to prepare for an interview is to do your research! Research your job role. Research what the company does. Research current and past news surrounding the company. Research company accomplishments and landmarks. Be knowledgeable about the company and your interviewers are sure to be impressed.”