Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Be A Sponge - An Interview With Intuit's Ron Jones

Ron Jones, VP Product Development, Intuit Inc.
We had the pleasure to talk to Ron Jones, who was on campus recruiting for Intuit, and we want to share some words of wisdom from a company representative and former co-op student from the University of Cincinnati.

Why does Intuit have a co-op program? What’s the point?

“We’re really about helping students with their careers… We want people coming out of universities to have great experiences, bring in great innovation and find their passion.”

The co-op program is about learning and growing. Employers are there to learn from the experience and to see if there can be further chemistry for a potential full-time position.

Ron phrased it by saying, “Coming out of college, you want to be a sponge in a bucket” absorbing from those around you and the experiences you go through.

How can students ensure they will further themselves in the screening process?

“It boils down to skills. There’s a quote by a football coach that goes something like, ‘Lead with skill while on the field, lead with example off the field, but always show your love of the game.’”

And for those of you who are jaded by sports metaphors…

Skills on the field: Sharing your technical skills during a technical interview and thinking on your feet
Leading off the field: Show how you used the skills on your resume
Love the game: Show your passion about your industry and field

But can you get a job with just technical skills and no soft skills? The answer is no -- it is important to have strengths in both areas.

“If you get a 50% on a test, you’ll get an F. You can be the best technical person but if you don’t have the soft skills, it’s just not going to work.”

How do you know if the work you are doing as a co-op is the right path for your future career?

“Your brain is always engaged, if you’re truly passionate about it it’s truly hard to turn off. You have to show all of that in this brief moment in time.”

So aside from being a sponge, how can students get the most out of their co-op experience?
It’s not all about passing classes and learning, but the passion to want to learn. This has to happen when you’re on co-op and when you’re not on co-op. If you absorb every moment of your co-op and spend time outside of work and classes to learn, you will get the most from your co-op and it will help you land your next big co-op (or your dream full-time job after graduation).

How can you help with that process? Ron talked about having mentors.

“If you come to Intuit, you get assigned 2 mentors. They are usually recent college grads so still have that passion. What you can do is bring yourself to work every day, 100% of yourself.”

Your mentors aren't doing you a favor to expect some kind of return. They are also very passionate about what they do, and they see that in you. They sincerely want you to grow because they care. To reflect that respect, it’s important to give them your all if they’re giving you their time and wisdom.

As convenient as Intuit makes it, sometimes you won’t have assigned mentors. Ron didn't have specified mentors for his co-ops in college, but found mentor figures in his managers. Sometimes it’s up to you to take that step forward in your career because…

“As a co-op student you are in charge of your career, don’t let someone else drive your career”

 So get excited about the Spring Career Fair Wednesday because this is your time, your career, your passion and you are in the driver’s seat.  

Written by Tom Weekes
Bold quotes from an interview with Ron Jones,VP Product Development, Intuit, Inc.


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