By Tino Chakadonha
My summer internship took place at Magnet.me, a startup from the Netherlands that was launching into the UK market, their offices were in one of the biggest co-working spaces in London – WeWork Moorgate and this was definitely a central part of my experience. My main role was to be the business development officer and help make sure that we had as many companies on board in the UK as possible. It was quite unique for me because I was working closely with the CEO and the UK country manager and it was just the three of us most of the time.
Working in a startup meant that even in this short space of
time my role was continuously evolving. A typical day might go like this;
- Getting into the office when the priorities for the day would be set out, and touching base from the previous day’s work
- Getting on with the work (for instance, building up a database with information of the relevant contact in companies) until…
- Lunch where we would touch base again and go for a lunch together
- Then back to work (which could then be sending out some launch day packages to newly onboard companies)
- In the evening we might make use of the table tennis boards at WeWork for a quick game or just wind down at the bar
For me, there was nothing better than being thrown into the deep end of a growing business and experiencing it all coming together. I learnt how to effectively manage a remote team as well as use my intuition to make use of the best tools (such as Zapier and Reply) and integrating them into the business effectively all of which meant I gained confidence in my own skills by being able to explore them in a wide range of contexts as I was continuously challenged.
Pearson College London just get it, they understand that the best way to reinforce what I’m learning in the classroom is to put me straight into the environment so I can see how the theory works in practice, this internship helped me understand the considerations a business makes when it expands and all the different factors that they have to deal with, and it gives me real examples that I can use in my work, as well as tie in to future studying.
I’ve barely touched on how amazing it was to work in a WeWork building, where the offices of both small and Unicorn companies (including Amazon and BlablaCar) are literally steps away, so the networking potential is endless. Within days of starting the internship I attended a talk at WeWork by one of the co-founders of Buffer – Joel Gascoigne, and almost every day I met someone new in the break room. Besides the environment, the growth I experienced through the internship itself made me a much more viable candidate for future internships.
The reality of quirky office practices that I had mostly only read about in startup books before, like a weekly quote contest really made working at Magnet.me a fun place to work, where doing work was fun. It was a really flexible environment too, with perks like a free dinner if you worked till late, hackathons and even parties, all whilst working hard.
What will probably never leave me is just how much like a family the company was, an open family too, from the beginning I felt welcomed and straight away they wanted to know what I wanted to get out of it so they could accommodate me. When I made a mistake they were understanding and made sure I took it as a learning experience. It just showed me that it is possible to have a lot of fun and do a lot of work at the same time, and that’s something I won’t easily forget.