The value of internships during her undergraduate career was front and center for Anjali Kansara ’22, who recently earned her bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in information systems. Internships help shape a professional trajectory as students figure out what their true interests are.
“I created social media content, monitored analytics, and conducted interviews with potential clients,” says Kansara of her first marketing internship during the summer of her sophomore year at Free Logic. “Being a startup, this internship taught me a lot about navigating a fast-paced work environment and was my first real experience applying the concepts I learned in the classroom.
“Most importantly, though, the experience showed me that I didn’t enjoy front-facing marketing as much as I thought I would, and I am much more interested in the backend analyzing performance. It was after this internship that I decided to switch my concentration from marketing to information systems.”
Maximizing the Business School Experience
When Kansara applied to colleges, she didn’t know where and what she was going to study. “I attended Highlander Day at UCR with my family, and it was during that visit that I knew I was going to choose UCR,” she says. “Diversity and inclusion were two extremely important things that I needed in my college experience, and I felt right at home as I was walking on UCR’s campus. I knew this was a community I wanted to be a part of.”
She found her major by attending a pre-business conference during her first year hosted by the UCR School of Business Ambassadors. “I learned about creative and innovative fields within business that I had never even considered related to marketing, technology, and strategy,” she says. “While what I want to do within business has changed a lot since then, I remember leaving the conference feeling confident that I belonged as a business major and could succeed in the corporate world.”
Immersed in campus life, Kansara was director of marketing for the Phi Chi Theta professional business fraternity, a student assistant for the vice chancellor of student affairs, and a student representative on the School of Business Strategic Planning Committee.
She also recently finished her final quarter as chief ambassador, part of the group that helped her determine her academic way forward: “After receiving guidance and support from the ambassadors during my freshman year, I knew I wanted to be able to have that same impact on other students who were feeling lost,” says Kansara.
Internships Point to a Career
Having focused her academics on information systems, Kansara explored all she could both in the classroom and through work experience.
“I absolutely loved the upper-division courses I took during my third and fourth years. They allowed me to gain hands-on and tactical experience creating technical projects and using powerful software that provided explanations and solutions to real-world problems,” she says.
“Having that foundational background in data analytics and project management was a huge advantage, and during my second internship with Zeno Group, I was amazed to see the innovative ways in which I could directly apply what I learned in the classroom to my work.”
Zeno Group is a global public relations agency, and Kansara was a digital intern on the analytics team during both the summer of 2021 and her senior year—an experience that has impacted her professional path. She fine-tuned her technical skills, worked with clients, and realized the importance of a company culture that is simultaneously supportive and continually offering new challenges.
“In my role, I was introduced to data visualization and the importance of social listening as I was analyzing monthly metrics, global media coverage, and growth opportunities for major brands like Tinder and Zoom,” she says.
Internship Turns into a Job
It comes as no surprise that Kansara will rejoin Zeno Group after graduation as a junior data analyst on the analytics team in Silicon Valley. “My time interning there was an absolute dream, and I’m looking forward to further developing my technical and analytical skills to harness the power of data,” she says.
As she looks well ahead, she plans to build a career that matters to her: “Ultimately, I hope to become an effective leader, resourceful collaborator, and ambitious innovator at a change-making organization with a mission I support.”
She also underscores the importance of knowing when you should pivot to better serve your talents and interests, just as she made the significant academic shift after her first internship.
“I’ve always felt some sort of pressure and anxiety to find my purpose and have fixed goals,” she says. “But I’ve learned that it’s completely OK to be unsure as I’m growing and changing every day.”