Taylor Beisell is one of the winning team members of the S&P Capital IQ Mission Possible Challenge. Taylor interned at S&P Capital IQ as part of the 2013 Summer Internship Program. Below, Taylor shares with us her experience during the Mission Possible challenge and how it shaped her experience here at McGraw Hill Financial.
As third place was announced I felt my heart beat faster. Second place was called and my breath stopped. First place was announced and my jaw dropped. After two months of hard work and a nerve-racking presentation, my team had won! I, within team of 6 Capital IQ (Tech) interns, had the opportunity to present a project we had worked on over the course of our internship to the CEO and the board members of Capital IQ and Dow Jones. We were able to do this through a case competition called Mission (Im)Possible which is put on by CIQ’s Innovation Lab. It is a 2 month long competition in which participants are put on teams of their choosing to solve a problem within Capital IQ. My team, the Human-Computer Interaction team, worked to improve and automate usability design testing for Capital IQ’s newest financial data platform called NxGen. Our solution integrated the latest advancements in eye-tracking and video emotion detection hardware and software. We ran studies on the NxGen platform using the technology and built an automated Business Intelligence reporting system that takes data outputs and sends it the requestor. Our goal was to move usability testing in-house, while making the process easier and the data more precise.
A few weeks before beginning my internship with CIQ, I received an email asking if I wanted to participate in something called Mission Impossible. I wasn’t completely sure how the competition worked, but the project descriptions sounded so interesting, I couldn’t pass up the chance. During the first meeting I quickly realized I was one of the few people without a Computer Science or Engineering background which made me a little hesitant to continue with the project. I mean, what could I do on a technical project if I couldn’t code? However, I quickly learned that to make a team work you need more than just programmers. In fact, one of the reasons our team worked well together is because we had a diversity of backgrounds and skill sets so our collective expertise covered all aspects of the project. For example, I work part time as a research assistant at my university, so although I do not have a background in programming, I was still able to contribute by working as the Test Plan Manager. I designed and set-up the studies we used to test the new platform, ran the studies, and analyzed the results. It was a great chance to use my classroom skills in a real-world environment.
As the project has come to a close, I have realized how much I have gained from participating. I’m glad I took a chance and signed up. It has helped make my experience at Capital IQ more well-rounded and meaningful. I was able to work with the latest innovations in research methodology and usability testing which is highly prevalent to my university studies as well as my personal interests. But beyond the technology aspect, I learned about communication, management, and teamwork in a professional setting. In contrast to other internship projects, in which you work by yourself or with your manager, this project allowed me to work in a team of my peers. It was a more realistic perspective of a corporate job. I would encourage other interns, whether or not they are in Capital IQ, to be involved with their company and their peers. As with most things, you’ll get out what you put into this internship.
Learn more about the Summer Internship program here.