Life of an Intern Part Ten: Mrinalini Agarwal
Next up on #LifeofAnItern, we are thrilled to spotlight Mrinalini Agarwal who landed an amazing internship opportunity at Uber in San Francisco this summer working on a product that many of us love - UberEATS! In this post, Mrinalini tells us about how she worked on implementing the entire upfront tipping feature of uberEATS which enables customers to tip at checkout. She launched this high impact project with estimated annual earnings of $10 million and had the opportunity to interact with a wide range of team members from legal to design in the process of bringing a consumer-facing product to fruition. Unlike the classroom setting, she shares that it was much more fun! Mrinalini could see her engineering skills in action and know that many users would be influenced by her work. It’s exciting to learn about her impact on UberEATS and all that she learned during her internship experience.
Mrinalini previously interned at Uber in New York City and has had an impressive background in computer science. She has received her degree in Computer Science and Entrepreneurship from The University of Pennsylvania's School of Engineering and Applied Science where she was actively involved in student organizations like Women in Computer Science. She is on to do great things in her career as a software engineer. We are excited to share her story, key learnings and advice she has for other interns. Please read on to learn more about her internship journey! If you know of other interns who did a really cool internship this summer, please let us know and we would love to feature them on Symba’s #LifeofAnIntern.
Describe a unique experience your internship has provided you.
My project was upfront tipping on the web which was a crucial project for UberEATS as it was estimated to bring at least $10 million in revenue.
Since this was a prominent user-facing project and a very important project for the company, many people were involved in the process of its implementation. I had to interact with designers, product managers, product operations and the legal team - almost on a daily basis.
What was the top thing you learned during your internship?
I realized that for me to succeed it was crucial for me to constantly unblock myself and ask for help when I needed it. This was challenging at first since my mentor or the team I was assigned was not working on the same stack. I had to reach out to other engineers outside of my team to help me and review my diffs.
Another learning was refactoring! When I was first started my project, the web engineers and I came up with an implementation plan. However, as the complexity of the project became more clear to us and the other implementation issues came up, I had to go back and refactor a lot of my work. At the end, my project was clear and concise and I realized that refactoring was crucial to make it look that way.
Describe a typical day at Uber.
I would come to work around 9 AM. I would review the work I had done the previous day. In case I had created any diffs (code changes), I would see if anyone has reviewed my diffs. I would work on comments or any changes that were requested. In case my diff had not been reviewed or approved, I would reach out to the people who need to review in case it was past 48 hours since I posted the diff.
My team would have a standup at 11 AM. I would ask my mentor any questions or concerns I had before standup. At standup, everyone shares would they had done the day before and what they were planning to do today.
At 12 pm, I would eat lunch. Sometimes, I would set up one-on-one lunch meetings with people I wanted to talk to. Most of the time, I would eat with my team or other interns at Uber.
How did your intern manager make your internship experience better?
My intern manager was my mentor and manager. He helped me onboard myself at the company. He introduced me to my project and scoped my project for me. He was not a web engineer himself, so he introduced me to web engineers working on the website to help with the implementation of my project. He set reasonable deadlines for my project and supported me to achieve those goals.
What advice would you give to future interns?
Keep asking questions! At first, I was very hesitant reaching out to people I did not know and asking for help. However, I would have never succeeded had I not have done that. It is also good to ask questions about things you think you know.
What do you ultimately hope to get out of your internship experience?
I hoped to confidently walk into a software engineering role and successfully pick up a skill I did not have previous experience in. Before my first internship at Uber, I had never done Android programming before. And before my second internship, I had never done web-development. Both of these experiences gave me the confidence that even if I had never coded in the specific language or been exposed to web or app development, that I had the ability to pick them up and learn them quickly.
How have you tried to make the most out of your internship experience?
At the start of my internship, the technical lead engineer on my team gave me the advice along with learning and gathering technical knowledge, I should focus on creating connections and learning from different people within the team and outside the team- not only engineers but product managers, data scientists, etc.
Hence, I had a weekly goal of meeting 3 new people. At the end of the internship, I managed to have meetings with various people and even the director of the UberEATS courier team. I built many connections and learned about so many different roles at a tech company. On a personal level, people shared their goals, ambitions within Uber and outside of Uber.
By Ellen Zhang