Open Door Policy is More than a Motto for Dell Interns

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When Lorena Millo started her Dell Summer 2016 internship in Finance, she was quickly struck by how much access she had to people, including leaders, all over Dell.

“There’s an executive director on my team, Meredith, who I didn’t think that I would see very much, because she’s a high-level person,” said Millo. “But she stops at my desk all the time and checks in with me, or emails me, and I’ve had one-on-one’s with her. She even told me that she wanted to get me set up with a vice president so I could have a one-on-one with him, which I feel is not something that’s very common with other companies.”

Millo, who is double-majoring in Business Administration, with a concentration in Finance, and Chemistry, and minoring in Literature, Medicine & Culture at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, experienced first-hand a cornerstone of Dell’s culture: an open door policy in which people actively make themselves accessible to anyone in the organization in need of support, no matter the differences in their titles. The open door policy benefits interns as much as anyone else and adds serious value to the internship experience.

“Mentors have been really important for me in school and I feel like that’s why I’ve gotten where I’ve gotten,” explained Millo. “I feel like that’s something that Dell has a lot of. Even people that aren’t directly on my team have reached out to me offering to set up time to talk. It’s nice that everyone makes themselves so available to you.”

Network for the Future

Lorena’s fellow finance intern, Andres Sanchez, an International Relations and Global Studies major at the University of Texas, came to Dell this summer by a different route. He had interned with Dell while he attended San Juan Diego School, with which Dell has a partnership. Through that program, he started with small tasks, but eventually earning larger responsibilities. He formed a close mentor/mentee relationship with Dell team member Brad.

“As soon as I graduated, I kept in touch with him,” said Sanchez. “He’s the one who said, ‘Hey, we have these opportunities available. What do you think about them?’”

It was this mentor relationship that allowed Sanchez to find his way back to Dell during his college years, and the open door policy and culture that keeps him here still.

“I’ve been here for six years and I couldn’t imagine myself somewhere else,” Sanchez said. “There’s anything here at Dell. You can do anything.”

Learning the Ropes

For Marketing intern, Trista Szocs, a Duke MBA candidate, Dell’s open door policy means the ability to overcome vulnerability. Transitioning to tech from the nonprofit sector, one of Trista’s major challenges was adjusting to Dell’s language and learning all of its acronyms. In her weekly meetings with her mentor and manager, they told her to message them whenever she heard an acronym she didn’t know.

“They told me just send me an IM anytime,” Szocs said. “And I was like, ‘What? I don’t want to sound silly.’ But now I just do it. I’ll be in a meeting and I haven’t heard this acronym before and I’ll just message them.”

Having the confidence to reach out to her managers and mentors with what may seem to be a trivial question has allowed her to learn more in her field and to better immerse herself into the culture at Dell.

Millo, Sanchez and Szocs are all the first in their families to go to college, so they understand the importance of having someone to turn to when they’re encountering a new experience.

About the Author: Chelsea Rigney

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