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They started at Adobe as fresh university grads. Now they’re seasoned employees making a big impact.
We spoke with four Adobe employees who began their careers at Adobe, thinking they’d just get a taste of tech before moving on to the next thing. Years later, they’re thriving at Adobe—and telling other university grads why Adobe just might be the ideal workplace.
Ashley S., San Jose
VP for Creative Cloud Enterprise
Ashley S. spent the summer of 2003 at Adobe as an MBA intern from Stanford and went to work for the company full time in July 2004. She wanted to do product management but accepted a role in product marketing as a way to get her foot in the door. But on her second day on the job, her plans suddenly changed.
“I was in a meeting when I found out that Adobe was discontinuing the product they hired me for,” Ashley says. “I always laugh about it now, but that day I called my boyfriend at the time and said, ‘This could be the shortest job I’ve ever had.’’
Instead, it turned into the longest job she has ever had. She worked on miscellaneous projects until the role she wanted finally opened up: product management for Photoshop. She stayed in that position until 2008, when she started to work on Adobe Media Player. Today, she’s responsible for the relationships that Adobe has with large Creative Cloud customers.
“If I had known when I started that I would still be here 11 years later, I would have been shocked,” Ashley says. “The longest job I’d had was less than two years. My goal was to stay at my first job for a few years and then probably move on, but I feel like I have changed companies inside of Adobe.”
Ashley says she’s happy staying at Adobe because the challenges—and the learning—never stop. She says Adobe is an ideal place for a new grad who is curious and motivated.
“If you’re willing to take risks and move around the company, there’s a ton of opportunity, and Adobe is helping employees find those opportunities,” Ashley says. “I’m naturally a curious person and I like new challenges, but I didn’t wait for them to find me. Sometimes they do come to you, but it’s important to demonstrate that you’re someone who will seek them out.”
Sakshi S., Noida
Senior Engineering Manager
When Sakshi S. finished university, she had two offers, one from Adobe. She had always loved using Adobe software, and she knew that millions of other people around the world used it, too.
“More than anything, I wanted to be a part of a company that was changing the world, and Adobe was touching almost every life I knew,” Sakshi says. “That’s all that mattered to me. I didn’t think about how long I would be here.”
Sakshi started in 2000 as a member of technical staff when there were fewer than 20 engineers like her on the Acrobat team in Noida. In the beginning, she worked on Acrobat 5. For the next release, she got the chance to write a component of her own. She learned about fonts, images, and document standards, and she worked closely with employees in other regions, building relationships with people in another part of the company.
When she was offered a manager position years later, she hesitated. She had grown comfortable in the role of individual contributor, and she liked the straightforward nature of her work: complete the goal assigned to you. But when you’re a manager, she says, you have less control. You have to make people want to do their best work and trust them to do it, something she felt wasn’t in her nature at that time. But she accepted the position—and felt out of her depth for a while.
Everything changed when she took a leadership development course offered by Adobe.
“Suddenly, I found out that I wasn’t the only one who was struggling with being a manager,” she says. “It was a common problem, and that gave me a lot of confidence that I could change and grow.”
And she did. Today, she manages 30 people on a team with more than 200 engineers, and she has learned how to mentor others and inspire them to do their best work.
“As an individual contributor, it is your responsibility to do brilliant, stellar work. You have to shine the spotlight on yourself and make sure management sees it,” she says. “But when you become a manager, it’s because you were a brilliant individual contributor. Now it’s your responsibility to shine the spotlight back on the people behind you and find the next leaders.”
Sakshi says the best thing about working at Adobe is that she is constantly challenged with new work. Just last year, she found herself co-chairing and organizing a summit in San Jose, something she had never done before. That experience uncovered skills she didn’t realize she had and helped her decide to become even more involved in her Adobe community—and to pursue the opportunities she wants.
“Every year or two I have new work that is completely different from what I was doing before,” Sakshi says. “I can just say, “This area is fascinating to me,’ and when the opportunity comes up, they will offer it to me.”
John V., Sydney
Enterprise Account Executive
When John V. graduated from university, he had a degree in marketing—and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. That’s when a colleague, who worked at Adobe, said he heard the company was looking for an intern in the Sydney office.
John interviewed and got the internship. It was a rotational internship that put him in different roles every few months: marketing, distribution, and sales.
“I realized quickly that I wanted to go into a sales role,” John says. “I was lucky enough to get that position full time after the first year.”
Five years later, John has worked his way through different roles. His first position involved selling to small and medium business customers. Next, he ran promotions for the K-12 education market. Finally, he moved into enterprise sales, where today he works with top-tier business customers and state governments in New South Wales. John is regularly a top performer and says it doesn’t hurt that his job is to sell a product that practically sells itself.
“One of the great things about sales at Adobe is that in an industry that’s constantly changing, we’re keeping up and constantly releasing new technologies for our customers,” John says. “That’s why we’re experiencing such tremendous growth, particularly in the digital marketing business.”
John recently met 200 percent of his yearly target and was rewarded by Adobe with an all-expenses-paid trip to Mexico for himself and his fiancée.
“Adobe takes care of its employees and helps them to achieve their goals,” John says. “We’re given the autonomy, tools, and support we need, and I’ve never felt micromanaged. That, plus the training they provide for young people—like when I first started—makes Adobe a great place to work.”
Sabina S., Munich
Brand Marketing Manager, EMEA
When Sabina S. was in university, she began working as an intern for Adobe Munich. She worked trade shows and had a four-week contract. On her second day, her manager asked if she could stick around for four months instead of four weeks. She agreed—and had such a good time that she didn’t want her contract to end.
“After those four months, I didn’t want to leave and Adobe didn’t want me to leave,” Sabina says. “But I still wanted to finish school.”
That’s when Adobe applied for a seat at Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University to create a dual studies internship. Participating students would alternate: three months on the job at Adobe, three months in school, and so on, for three years. Sabina was the first student in Germany offered acceptance into the Adobe program, and several have since followed.
In 2001, she began her rotations and experienced many parts of the company: public relations, education marketing, events, and campaigns. She even spent three months at Adobe headquarters in San Jose. When she finished the program, Sabina knew she wanted to stay on full time.
“I loved the spirit of the company and the people,” Sabina says. “My managers always put me into situations where I got the chance to grow and push my own boundaries. They might say, ‘You haven’t done this before, but this is a project that we think you’re capable of doing.’”
As her role grew, Sabina took on more and more responsibilities: managing agencies, controlling more budget, expanding her region outside of Central Europe. Today, she works on thought leadership marketing and advertising campaigns for the UK and Germany. She suggests that recent college grads check out Adobe even if they’re not sure where they want their careers to go.
“One of the hardest things about coming out of university is that often, you don’t know what you want to do,” Sabina says. “In that first job, you might realize that you’re good at things you didn’t think you’d be good at, like you actually enjoy numbers and you always thought you weren’t a numbers person. And if you don’t like one role, there’s always something else you can try. There is no failure.”
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