David, it seems like it was just yesterday that I walked you to your desk and showed you around Kaspersky Lab. Since then, two months have passed, and your internship is coming to an end. Thanks for sitting down with me to answer some questions on your experience.
1. Why did you decide to participate in the MISTI Russia program? What attracted you to Kaspersky Lab and what influenced your choice?
There were two reasons for my decision: First, I wanted to experience an international environment, in new surroundings, and secondly I always wanted to take part in MISTI, but the opportunity only arose this summer and it was my last chance as I had finished my studies at MIT.
I chose Kaspersky Lab because I plan on staying in the IT sector. I really wanted to explore the market and Kaspersky Lab is a market leader, so this was a great opportunity for me. I also speak Russian, which means I can freely communicate with people — that was another factor.
2. What are your first impressions of the internship?
First of all, I like the business center. Everything is very modern. I’ve been to some US companies in Silicon Valley, and I think the Kaspersky Lab office in Moscow is just as good, if not better.
The people are friendly; they were all very pleased to meet me. I was introduced to the team right away — that was very nice. Once I was immersed in the work, I realized the subject of the project was very interesting.
3. Who was your mentor and how did he help with your studies?
It was primarily my colleagues from the Product Marketing Department. They explained who was doing what so I knew who to go to for help. They told me about the project, its origins and explained what I would do.
If I needed anything, they were always happy to help me. We did things step-by-step: I did part of the work, sent it to them; they checked it and gave advice. There was some very good feedback.
4. What tasks were you given during your internship? Were they interesting?
I worked on the marketing support for the coming solution aimed to protect from APTs (Advanced Persistent Threats). The project focuses on ways to protect from such attacks. I studied the market segment: what Kaspersky Lab’s competitors were offering and their market messaging — things that could help the team when positioning the new solution.
There were also a couple of mini-projects, for example, how to manage Kaspersky Lab products via the cloud. This involved examining the competitors’ offerings. For me it was very interesting, and very new. Now I understand how the market works, what it offers, the different market segments. This is very important for my future work.
5. In your opinion, what basic technical and communication skills should a Kaspersky Lab employee have?
In the field of product marketing an employee should be able to work cross-functionally, to interact with all other departments of the company, to have very good communication skills.
They need to understand that we are working in a global market, and the company needs to integrate effectively with the market because the competition is very tough. I think the guys in the department where I worked have all these skills.
6. What skills did you pick up during your internship at Kaspersky Lab?
For me, the most interesting thing was to learn what it was like to work in Russia. It turned out it was almost the same as working in America or any other country. Sure, there are some differences, but not very big. Of course, there are the technical skills and understanding of the market. These are probably the two main things.
7. What surprised or impressed you most of all about the company?
I didn’t expect everything to be so globally integrated: I saw guys who were constantly communicating with the United States, London; people from different countries arrived almost every day at the office.
I guessed it would be like that, but could not imagine to what extent. I was pleasantly surprised by it. And how tasty the lunches are here! <em>laughs</em> I will miss it. The people here are as nice and friendly as I thought they would be.
8. Was a two-month internship enough to achieve what you wanted?
Yes, I think it was enough because I fulfilled all the assigned tasks on the project. There was time to get a feel for it, to try things out… Of course; I’d like to stay longer in Moscow, and at Kaspersky Lab.
9. David, you are from the United States. What, in your opinion, are the differences in doing business in Russia compared to other countries?
Well, I worked on yet another little project. A new Kaspersky Lab platform was set up for people to submit their ideas for new technologies, with the best ideas being used as a basis for creating startups. Lisa Kaydash, who is overseeing the project, says people provide some very good technical ideas, but with underdeveloped business plans.
I think the difference is that in the US, the focus is on the business plan. Also in the US, people always try to establish business contacts to communicate with everyone. I think in Russia things are a bit different. People pay less attention to this, or at least that’s the impression I got.
10. In your opinion, what qualities do you need to be successful in the company?
Going back to what I said earlier — you need to be very communicative. You have to be able to communicate with your colleagues from around the globe, to understand their culture, to communicate with colleagues from different departments.
In product marketing this skill is especially important, I think. Someone who wants to rise up through the company should be ambitious; they need to learn and improve their technical skills because this is a market that is constantly changing, where something new is always happening.
The person who can keep up with the times, develop and improve their business and technical skills will be successful.
What it is like to #work within @Kaspersky Lab? #Internship #KLTweet
11. Would you advise your friends to do an internship at Kaspersky Lab next year?
Yes, definitely yes! Of course! laughs
12. Could you tell us about your plans for the future? What business do you see yourself in? What are your goals?
I have been offered a job at Amazon in Seattle as a Senior Product Manager. Of course, I would like to continue working in a field that combines technology and business. I want to succeed in Product Marketing and Product Management.
I may try some other spheres, but I want to stay in technology and climb the career ladder, and perhaps, once I have enough experience, I will open my own startup.
It was a pleasure meeting you and thank you for taking the time to talk about your experience here at KL. I wish you every success, and I hope to hear about your startup in the near future!