From the moment I walked in I knew there was a large Princeton influence in the building. Decorated in orange and black, the AppNexus office reflected founding members Brian O’Kelly ‘99 and Mike Nolet ‘04 love for their alma mater. The building was filled with young people who appeared to not be stressed and to be whole-heartedly productive. With basketball courts, open snack bars and a “cheese wall”, the office was the Disney World of firms, a place where ideas and goals came to life.
First, we were given a presentation by Zack ’11 on the organization. We were given material to read before the Princeternship, but as soon as soon as the presentation started I realized how truly limited my knowledge was. Throughout the day, the graphs and anecdotes Zach shared started to make sense as I experienced the work firsthand with the multiple employees I got to interact with throughout the day.
I first shadowed Erik. What most surprised me about the experience with Erik was how customer focused the firm ultimately is. Erik works with the sell side coordinating coding mistakes and fixing the consumers’ problems. I was mesmerized by the intricacy of the relationship AppNexus has with its customers. I recognized the collaborative efforts made within the business led to a very efficient workflow that allowed issues to be solved comprehensively.
Later, we had lunch where I was able to see how AppNexus fostered a community through Friday Family Lunch. Every Friday, lunch is provided by AppNexus so that all employees have the opportunity to interact with one another. During lunch we conversed about how AppNexus uses the listerv system to communicate between groups within the business. For example, there is a listserv for a variety of topics, from one called “Dumb Questions,” where employees can ask colleagues seemingly “dumb” questions about how the business functions to a a listerv where individuals can plan pick-up basketball games.
Next I shadowed Berhe, who revisited the business model and once again I learned more new materials from what I had learned with Zach and had read in the articles. Working in Global Services, Berhe seemed to know everyone on the floor, which was expected considering how long he has been with the organization. He showed how employees were not confined to their seats and had the freedom to work where they felt most productive. Once recognizing my interest in things outside of the technology part of the business, Berhe was willing to introduce me to the individuals that were involved in teams outside of Global Services, which was a really nice way to see the other side of AppNexus.
I ended the day with Tommi ’08. Our hour started with sitting in a sales meeting. Tommi then gave me a completely different perspective of the business by showing me his influence on the business management side. The job reminded me more of sales operations I was familiar with, but it was unique because Tommi communicated with members of the other teams. I was surprised how his job so integrally coincided with the other teams despite their seemingly polar functions. The whole experience was very enlightening and enjoyable. I’d recommend anyone to try experience AppNexus for themselves!