Earlier this year, the EMEA Sales Development team kick-started its first-ever summer internship programme, welcoming 4 Sales Development Interns—Aziz, Anais, Arthur, & Blake—from across the region.
Being fully immersed into the role of Sales Development Representatives (SDR), our interns got hands-on experience supporting existing SDR and Sales teams and seeing first-hand how their work helped drive pipelines and growth for the region.
They also had the opportunity to witness the power of working with market-leading talent, gaining valuable skills that will continue with them throughout their careers, and seeing for themselves why Zscaler is a place where individuals can make an impact.
We asked each of the interns to share a few snippets of their time with us…
Meet Aziz, who joined our team in Central Europe and is based in Krefeld, Germany. He completed his master's degree before the internship, where he studied Sales Engineering and Product Management at the Ruhr-University Bochum.
Why did you apply for the summer internship, and what attracted you to Zscaler?
I was keen to take my first steps into the Sales arena, within a continuously innovating and transforming industry. I did some research to discover more about Zscaler as a company, their industry placement, products, and culture, along with reading up about the opportunity in advance, through the job description, and by visiting current team members' LinkedIn profiles.
Zscaler’s market position and products excited me, and I felt this internship would give me an excellent opportunity to develop myself professionally and personally. I was keen to learn how to communicate complex solutions to potential customers and how to drive digital transformation in Germany. I felt I could bring together the theoretical knowledge from my studies, my existing experience, and my passion for developing into an exceptional salesperson.
What has a typical day looked like for you?
To begin with, we received excellent preparation for the role of an SDR during onboarding. It was easy to arrange 1:1 calls with colleagues from other regions, whether from the UK or France, to get to know many colleagues, and get tips and advice on multiple topics.
After two weeks, you could slowly immerse yourself in the everyday life of an SDR. This usually starts with looking at all the to-do's in the early morning and then working on emails. If no meetings are scheduled in the morning, you also begin cold calling prospects and looking for new contacts for colleagues in different companies. The main goal of my role is to set up an introductory meeting with prospects to look at how Zscaler can best secure their users' work-from-anywhere and protect the company from ransomware attacks.
What three words make you think of Zscaler?
Anais is based in The Netherlands and is currently taking a gap year to work on their professional career and gain some work experience.
How has your internship at Zscaler helped you to learn and grow?
Zscaler has shown me that Sales is something that everyone can learn but not everyone can master.
My personality type is INFP, this means I am an ‘introverted feeling with extraverted intuition’. Sales professionals tend to be slightly more extroverted, so I was slightly hesitant as to how this dynamic would work. This job and the people here have shown me that even though we are different, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Everyone has useful strengths and weaknesses.
Realising that allowed me to grow and to accept that part of myself, and I am grateful for that. I still have a lot to learn, but the skills I have been taught so far will help me both personally and professionally as I continue to learn and grow.
What are your future plans?
‘The future isn't set in stone’, right now I am enjoying my gap year, working hard, having fun, and trying to secure my first property, in what is a very competitive market.
This internship is the start of something new and I plan to make the most out of it.
I don’t know yet where the wind will take me, but for the first time in my life I feel confident enough to say that I am excited for whatever will come my way.
After my gap year, I plan to go to university to pursue my education and find a job that I love. Maybe I’ll even come back to Zscaler, if they’ll let me…
What three words make you think of Zscaler?
Arthur joins us in our Southern EMEA region, based in France. He is a senior student at Kedge Business School (Bordeaux) where he is studying Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. This experience in Zscaler is actually his end-of-study internship, concluding his journey as a student.
What has been your greatest achievement and what impact did it make?
As I have only been here for two months, I can’t say I’ve made an achievement that was game-changing, but I have made great progress during this short amount of time. I am feeling way more confident for the months to come as I know a lot more about Zscaler and Tech Sales in general.
However, If I had to pick something I’ve done that improved the company business it would be the fact that I was able to support the SDR team on their tasks and even book meetings for them, thus improving our results.
How would you describe the culture of Zscaler?
From my short experience in the work/company environment, Zscaler culture fits me so well and is one of the best I’ve experienced. There is so much to say about it but If I had to choose two things that stood out to me it would be:
The team: everyone is friendly and always open to help you during your onboarding—people are fascinating and they are the best in what they do. For me, that’s the most important thing as it is the foundation of success for a company.
The environment: Zscaler is so dynamic and growing fast as a lot is happening in the company. Everyone is going the extra mile because they love what they do and Zscaler is helping us unlock our potential in a lot of ways. For example, SKO FY23 which took place during September in Prague was a once in a lifetime experience and I will always remember how proud and motivated I was during this week - and I still am of course.
What 3 words make you think of Zscaler?
Blake joined our Summer Internship Programme based out of London. He is a first year undergraduate of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, graduating in 2024.
How was your experience at our annual Sales Kick Off, who inspired you, and what was your biggest takeaway from the event?
As an intern, it was a real privilege to attend Zscaler’s annual SKO, and my experience was phenomenal. It provided invaluable opportunities to meet, and learn from, some of Zscaler’s top performers and executives. I drew great inspiration from our COO Dali Rajic, and my mentor Alex Stenzel.
Dali’s mainstage session was a great kick-off to the week, focusing on the event’s theme; unlocking our highest potential. Through his personal narrative, Dali demonstrated the immense value of implementing happiness and gratitude as a necessary precursor to success, and not the other way around. This is an insight I hope to carry into all aspects of my life.
My SKO experience peaked during our awards dinner, at the beautiful Zofin Palace. To see the recognition and celebration that Zscaler gives its top performers was a huge motivation for me, and exemplifies the incredible team spirit that I have experienced and that Zscaler has cultivated. Of those top performers, it was a real honour to see my mentor, Alex Stenzel, receive the ‘Top SDR in EMEA’ award and be included in the Presidents Club. To work so closely with industry leading talent has been an unbelievable opportunity.
As such, my biggest takeaway from SKO is that, if i continue to leverage the right internal perspective and dedication, in conjunction with Zscaler’s outstanding support ecosystem, I am provided with the perfect opportunity to unlock my highest potential.
What piece of advice would you give someone who is considering a summer internship?
Go. For. It.
As a university student, a challenging and competitive internship programme like Zscaler’s is the ideal platform to expand both your soft and hard skill sets. Especially the SDR role specifically, which develops many foundational skills that are integral to any sales role, whilst also emphasising industry and position-specific knowledge.
Furthermore, it's no secret that employers are looking for evidence of a proactive and coachable mindset. Investing time in a summer internship demonstrates that you are a highly motivated self-starter, especially as a first or second year undergraduate.
If a summer internship like Zscaler’s is of interest to you, I would recommend one principle to enable your execution; research. More specifically, top-down research. Beginning with the industry, the company, the role, the responsibilities, and finally the desirable skills or characteristics.
What 3 words make you think of Zscaler?
To learn more about our internship program visit our university and recruitment program page.