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The internship series

Terms to know for your internship or first job

Consider this your new hire glossary! We've defined frequently used business terms to know as an intern or new hire.

Your first weeks in a new role can be a tough adjustment! Trying to make a good impression and get up to speed with a new company, team, and list of responsibilities is a big enough challenge for any intern—especially when it can feel like everyone is speaking a different language! If you find yourself drowning in business buzzwords and unexplained acronyms, don't fret; we've broken down some common internship terms to know.

Ahead, check out some internship terms to know broken down by acronym-happy fields like marketing, sales, and private equity. These frequently Googled-from-phone-during-a-meeting phrases have been provided by real interns and new hires who've used Handshake to land jobs. Consider this your internship glossary!

Acronyms to know in any internship


Meaning: End of day (EOW is also used for week, and EOY for year!)

In context: "Can you have that in my inbox by EOD? Thanks!"


Meaning: Objectives and Key Results—a framework for setting company, key, or individual goals!

In context: "One of our team's OKRs this year is to engage clients more deeply and drive 10% more registrants at this event."


Meaning: Return on investment—used to determine the profitability of an investment or initiative.

In context: "We had a total campaign spend of $1,000, and saw $2,000 in increased revenue; that's 100% ROI for this quarter."


Meaning: Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 refer to the four quarters of the fiscal year. Most summer internships take place during Q2 (which traditionally ends in June) and Q3 (which starts in July)!

In context: "Our team has a $1,000 budget allotted for project management tools in Q2."


Meaning: Diversity, equity, and inclusion

In context: "Their DE&I efforts are lacking, and I want to avoid partnering with them unless they truly commit to building a more equitable environment for their team."

Acronyms to know in your marketing internship


Meaning: Business-to-business and business-to-consumer, respectively (marketing a product or service to businesses, or directly to customers for personal use)

In context: "Coming from the food & beverage industry, I have a background in B2C. Now I work in a B2B capacity, marketing inventory-tracking tools to restaurants."


Meaning: Go to market—the initial marketing strategy a company will use to launch its product.

In context: "How is the GTM strategy research presentation on our competitive set shaping up?"


Meaning: Call-to-action (the next step you want a user to take, often taking the form of an imperative phrase such as "Read more" or "Try for free")

In context: "Let's change the color of the CTA button to grab more attention in our next email."


Meaning: Key performance indicator (a quantifiable measure of performance for a specific business objective)

In context: "We decided that increasing registration to the event wasn't attainable last year due to COVID, so we revised our KPIs."


Meaning: User experience (any interaction a user has with a product or service)

In context: "We need to hire a UX Designer to improve our website experience for clients and prospects."


Meaning: Customer acquisition cost (the marketing and sales costs needed to convince a customer to buy your service or product)

In context: "After changing the color of our Facebook ad, our average CAC dropped by more than $1! Let's try using more orange in future campaigns."


Meaning: Search engine optimization (the process of improving traffic to a webpage from search engines like Google)

In context: "Adding alternate text to the photos in this blog post will have SEO benefits — can you please add that to your draft?"

A/B Testing

Meaning: A simple controlled experiment where you show two different versions of something (an email, webpage, etc.) to users to measure which is more effective

In context: "Let's A/B test this email with one subject line that uses emoji and another that doesn't."

Acronyms to know in your sales internship


Meaning: Customer relationship management (a system or software that helps manage customer data and helps you manage relationships with potential clients)

In context: "Salesforce is the CRM system I'm most familiar with, but I'd love to get more certifications."


Meaning: Annual and monthly recurring revenue, respectively (Used by subscription-model businesses, ARR is the amount of predictable revenue that a company can expect to receive on a yearly basis. MRR is the same, just for monthly!)

In context: "I've heard that our competitor just hit $5M in ARR. How are we tracking toward our annual goals?"


Meaning: Sales development representative (sales team members who work to prospect and generate leads for potential new customers)

In context: "The SDR team has conducted over 200 intro calls this month alone, and we're only six days in!"


Meaning: Account executive (sales team members who manage existing customer relationships and cultivate/close new accounts to help hit business growth targets)

In context: "Quinn, our newest AE, has already closed four new accounts since the start of the quarter. Great job, Quinn!"


Meaning: Sales qualified lead (a prospective customer who has been deemed qualified to talk to the sales team)

In context: "I connected with Sam in marketing, and we both agree that this buyer is ready for a discovery call; you can add them to the SQL list."

Note: SQL is also a programming language! Context is key with this internship term to know, especially if you work in tech.

Terms to know in your private equity internship

Thank you to Crystal, a new grad from North Carolina A&T and a 2021 summer intern at Reach Capital, for providing some of the ideas for jargon that private equity interns should learn! Ahead, check out internship terms to know for the private equity industry.

Due Diligence

Meaning: The next steps after an initial founder call to figure out if the firm will pass or invest in the company.

In context: "He made his pitch, so now we're doing our due diligence to research the concept and competitive landscape."


Meaning: Total addressable market—how much money you could make if you reached all available customers in a specific market.

In context: "There's no business quite like this, and it's got a huge TAM. We should consider investing!"

Pitch Deck

Meaning: A presentation sent by founders breaking down their business, usually sent before their initial calls with a VC firm.

In context: "Has our noon appointment sent over a pre-read or pitch deck? I'd like to familiarize myself before the call."


Meaning: Lifetime value—how much net profit a customer will bring to the business, which factors in how long a customer stays with the business as well.

In context: "Can you whip up a quick report of the LTV of each of Eric's accounts?"


Meaning: The rate that customers are leaving the business.

In context: "The company has seen a 15% churn during COVID-19, significantly higher than a sub-5% churn rate in past years."


Meaning: Annual contract value—the annual contract value between the business and a customer.

In context: "What's the ACV of the three biggest tech companies we have on board combined?"

API integrations

Meaning: When two or more applications are able to communicate (exchange data) amongst each other.

In context: "Instagram has limited its API integrations so third-party tools can't access certain analytics data."

Photo by Edho Pratama on Unsplash

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