A VMware Summer Internship Laid His Tech Career Groundwork

A VMware Summer Internship Laid His Tech Career Groundwork


Deep, real-life experiences taught Nikith Kumar (’23) to make strategic decisions

October 27, 2022

by Linda Lloyd da Silva

  • Nikith Kumar immersed himself in UCLA Anderson culture in his first year, serving in student leadership and networking with alumni
  • A summer internship with VMware taught him to make strategic business decisions
  • He credits the Anderson curriculum with preparing him for a career on the business side of technology

Nikith Kumar (’23) hit the ground running when he arrived at UCLA Anderson. During his first year on campus, he was elected VP of operations for the UCLA Anderson Student Association, held VP roles in other student organizations and was a TA at the Parker Career Management Center. He turned his natural talent for getting involved and connected into a perfect combination of experiences and contacts that helped him land an internship at VMware that met all his personal goals.

He credits his many activities, and the relationships and networking conversations they provided him, with helping him refine his goals for his summer internship. “I spoke to many alumni and second-years in different industries to understand their work and responsibilities,” says Nikith, who hails from Bangalore, India. “The weekly Andernoons social hours gave me an opportunity to connect with fellow MBAs, FEMBAs and EMBAs in an informal setting. I also spoke to industry experts during DOJs [Days on the Job] and networking sessions. All this helped me develop a clearer picture of what I was interested in and whom I could reach out to for internship opportunities.”

He adds, “My Parker Center advisor helped me narrow down my choices as well as negotiate the terms of the internship offer I received from VMware.”

Nikith was hired as the product marketing intern within VMware’s cloud services business unit. His work focused on adoption acceleration for an existing VMware cloud product and on building a go-to-market strategy for a new VMware product. His role required him to collaborate with technical architects, product managers, sales leads, account owners and VMware partners to produce growth and launch recommendations for these products.

“I chose UCLA Anderson because I wanted to learn from world-class professors who are trendsetters in their fields and able to foresee and forecast industry trajectories,” says Nikith. “Having an engineering background helped me learn and understand technology but not necessarily how business decisions are made.”

He says his Customer Analytics class helped him prepare for the internship. “The professor, Brett Hollenbeck, was able to tie industry concepts and trends directly into our homework and other deliverables. The class helped me understand why strategic marketing decisions were made based on relevant quantitative customer data. And this was directly applicable to the analysis I did during my internship,” says Nikith. “My goal for my summer internship was to get deep and real-life experiences in learning how to make strategic decisions. I am happy to say I had an incredible summer where I got to strategize the product marketing roadmap for a brand-new VMware Cloud product.”

“My goal was to get deep and real-life experiences in learning how to make strategic decisions. I am happy to say I had an incredible summer.”

Nikith’s internship experience provided him an opportunity to apply what he learned in his first-year Anderson courses directly to a real-life strategic issue VMware faced. “I surveyed 200-plus customers, identified use cases, synthesized competitive intelligence, interviewed analysts and demonstrated the product to the customers,” he says. “I got to sit in on intimate discussions with several customers and market analysts, helping me understand the issues they faced and ultimately helping me refine my final recommendations.

“I had both a supervisor and a mentor. They helped me with roadblocks I faced as well as gave me guidance on what to prioritize. Their extensive knowledge helped me understand best industry processes, and amplified my classroom learnings tremendously,” he adds. “I really recommend that anyone doing a summer internship have frequent checkpoints with your manager. These meetings are essential to making sure your work is on track, but also for getting feedback that helps grow your technical and interpersonal skills,” says Nikith. “And I was able to attend VMware Explore, the company’s annual flagship, week-long conference for customers, industry experts, and leading companies who come together to discuss where the Cloud Technology space is headed. ”

With the return to classes, Nikith says, “I am so prepared to make the most of my second year as an MBA student. What I love most about UCLA Anderson is the ambiance of ‘shared success’ that is fostered here. Being a competitive candidate in terms of skill set and ability is very useful. But learning in a competitive environment is not. I have loved working and sharing whatever I know with the rest of my class. And the rest of them have done the same,” he says. “This creates a sense of community and growth. I specifically looked for this mentality in my internship, and I found it at VMware,” he adds.

“I learned how much value Anderson’s alumni network can add to my career journey, and I personally experienced how relevant and valuable the Anderson curriculum is for the technology-based career I want to carve out for myself,” Nikith says. “UCLA Anderson made an amazing summer internship possible, and I know it will help me progress in an equally amazing and fulfilling post-MBA career.”